Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Very Normal Day

So, last Tuesday, I bussed between all three cities in the Kathmandu Valley. I left my home at about 7:30AM. First, I went from my place in Patan to Bhaktapur for my madal lesson. The bus fare cost me 20 rupees, and my travel buddies included crates full of melons from the wholesale market, and large, lumpy sacks of something on top of the bus that caught the local policeman's eye. He wanted to know what the heck that stuff was. "Stuff to sell," the bus driver told him, then yelling inside, "whose bags are those anyway?"

My madal lesson included an information session on Holi--the holiday coming up--which includes boys throwing water and colored powder at girls. While I knew about this, I was told that the festivities (should) only happen after a certain puja (worship ritual) is conducted at the Kathmandu Durbar Marg. After that, the song whose rhythm I am now learning on the madal, can be played. And its played all over, just for fun and merry making. There's some book, written in English by a French guy, in the department's library on the subject; I can contact the librarian if I'd like to see it. Only be aware that there are many mistakes in the notation of the various melodies; the guy who wrote the book apparently talked to people who didn't know their music very well, in my instructor's opinion. I could leave my lesson early today--my instructor's niece was getting married, and he needed to be at the ceremony.

Next, I went to the very north end of Kathmandu. From the road that goes by the music department, I got the Chabahill-Maharajgang-Chakrapat bus, not the Chabahill-Boudha bus. I had to double check this with the bus boy. This trip cost me 25 rupees, and my travel buddies included two tobacco-chewing men who commented that too many people have to leave the country now for work as we passed by the international airport. I took the bus as far as Narayan Gopal Chowk, where I was picked up by motorbike by a friend. This short trip cost me 200 rupees, since my friend had left his wallet at home accidentally and didn't realize this until we were at the petrol pump.

The afternoon was spent at a rock concert that took place in a church, which also happened to have an old people's rest home on the ground floor. As a result, there were several very old men and women who attended the concert, toothlessly smiling at all the young people wildly jumping and clapping about. They served us all tea afterwards.

I then took a tempo and micro home, respectively. My travel buddies here included a few-month-old baby who wanted to grab and hold my nose, fingers, and ears, and whose mother got her to say "hi" and "namaste" to me respectively. This ride to Ratna Park cost me 14 rupees. I then got a micro to Jawalekhel, which cost me 13 rupees--the fare had gone up by a rupee since I last rode on the route. But, instead of asking "since when [has it been 13 rupees]" I asked "how long [will it be 13 rupees]"--I still make elementary language mistakes at the drop of a hat.

I arrived back home at around 7:30PM. After a filling supper of cauliflower soup, garlic bread and hummus, and a much needed shower, I went to bed, and slept very soundly.