Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's going to be a bumpy ride

Before I get into what’s new in crazy Kathmandu, I want to share a little anecdote. When I was in high school, I went through a rebellious stage, as most teenagers do. I had an older boyfriend, who just so happened to have a motorcycle, which I just so happened to ride on from time to time. For months I kept this a secret from my parents, and I even thought of a lie to explain the red mark on my leg where I had burned myself on that one thingy (You know, the hot metal thing. Exhaust pipe? Who cares.) Apparently, “I dropped my curling iron” is a solid excuse for both hickeys and bike burns.

When I finally came clean to my mother, she said, “Don’t do it again.” Now that I’m about to get to the point, I’m glad my mother is halfway around the world so she can’t slap me.

I rode on a motorcycle today. 

But I didn’t have much of a choice. I needed to go to the main volunteer house to speak with the program coordinator, and since one of the employees was already at the orphanage, he offered to take me to the house on his bike. 

I wish I had some crazy story about racing other bikers and dodging cows in the street, but it was far from Fast and the Furious. He drove slowly, and oddly enough, it was less scary than being in a taxi. On a bike, you have to go slow to brace yourself for all the bumps and ruts on Kathmandu's streets. I never thought I would ride a motorcycle in Nepal, but it was actually pretty fun. Maybe I’ll try it again (sorry mom), except preferably with a cute boy next time (sorry Holden, just kidding!)

I’m a little surprised that I’ve already adjusted to life in Nepal. Traffic no longer terrifies me because the drivers here really know what they’re doing. A blind person could easily navigate through the streets because the cars beep so much. It’s not like in America where a beep means, “Use your goddamn turning signal, you jagoff!” It’s more like, “Hey, just so you know, I’m right behind you, so kindly move aside and let me pass.” This is a big cultural difference that was a little intimidating at first, but it's a method that works.
This is totally unrelated, but I also have a funny story about how I’ve convinced an entire school that I’m a palm reader. It all started in the orphanage a few days ago. The kids were bored, so I offered to tell their futures by reading the lines on their hands. Truth be told, I have no idea how to read palms. Lying is okay if it’s all in good fun though, right? I thought so at first, but now I’ve created a monster and I run the risk of being exposed as a fraud.

The kids must have told everyone they know about my special talent, because after school for the past three days I’ve been surrounded by swarms of children – maybe 20 or so, I’m not exaggerating – with palms outstretched, frantically screaming, “Do mine! Do mine! Do mine!”

So I did. Now they all think they’re destined to go to the Brazilian rainforest or marry someone whose name starts with the letter S. They even had me read their teacher’s palm, which was more difficult because I didn’t know if she was already married or had children, and I couldn’t say something about a career. I think I mumbled something about good luck and traveling to India. I might have to lay low for a while, just like Miss Cleo did after people caught onto her tricks.

That’s all I have to share right now. Tomorrow I’m meeting with editors at the Kathmandu Post – an English language newspaper – to see if I can write for them. I really, really want to be an international correspondent someday, so this would be an incredible opportunity for me. Fingers crossed that I make a good impression.

I promise I will have more interesting and culturally relevant things to talk about soon. I’m still getting into the swing of things.

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