News from Nepal
My adventures as a volunteer in Nepal and traveller overseas
  • Beautiful, serene Namo Buddha

    This past weekend I was in Namo Buddha for a Vinyasa Flow yoga retreat organised by Pranamaya Yoga. I had long wanted to undertake one of Pranamaya’s retreats, but had been waiting for one focused on either of the two yoga styles I practice (Vinyasa Flow yoga and Ashtanga yoga). And finally, this one popped up. The retreat was hosted at Namo Buddha Resort, a beautiful paradise perched in the hills to the east of Kathmandu. Of course, if it wasn’t monsoon, we would have had exquisite Himalayan views, but I just had to imagine them instead, with the thick curtain of clouds hanging across the sky.

    Namo Buddha resort is a charming hillside resort of tiny cottages and houses that remind you somewhat of dollhouses or hobbit houses. So, you have to remember you are Gandalf, and duck when you pass through every door. There are lush gardens filled with beautiful flowers and vegetables that they use in their vegetarian, organic cooking, which is absolutely delectable. And the icing on the cake, a pair of handsome cats that belong to the resort romp through the gardens, playing and flirting with the guests.

    The settlement of Namo Buddha is based around Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery, which is perched one hill over from the resort. This monastery was founded next to a small cave where an incarnation of the Buddha before he was Siddhārtha Gautama became a buddha himself. In this incarnation, he was boy prince, who was frequently forced to go hunting by his father, though he hated doing so, as he did not wish to harm animals. He sneaked away from one of these hunts and found this small cave. Inside was a tigress who was feeding her young cubs. But she was injured and therefore unable to hunt, so her cubs were slowly killing her by feeding. The prince cut his arm with his knife and fed the tigress his blood. Her strength improved somewhat and then she killed and ate him. He sacrificed himself so she could live. 

    It was fantastic to get out of the smog of the Valley and focus on my yoga. We did two sessions of yoga a day and a meditation session on the Sunday morning. Unfortunately for this very non-morning person, there was no breakfast on the Sunday until after morning meditation AND a session of yoga. Cheating, I found a bit of my leftover breakfast from Saturday morning (eight whole cashews) and gobbled them before the practice. In my free time, I did some reading and used their trampoline (a circular four metre diameter special German import trampoline).

    And in other happy, medical uses, I was recently diagnosed with cyclospora, aka the monsoon bug, so I am now on antibiotics. This diagnosis explains my ongoing loss of appetite for the past two and a half months.

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  • Monsoon is most definitely upon us now. There was much anxiety given that the typical monsoon symptoms had not been showing themselves well into the typical monsoon period (June onwards). Would monsoon not happen at all? What would be the consequences for farmers? But with rain everyday the past week, I think we are out of the danger zone.

  • Fabric shopping, part deux. My in-the-know friend took me to her favorite fabric shop in Kathmandu: Wonder Fabrics in Bishal Bazar on New Road. And I picked up another five fabrics. We are heading to her tried and tested tailor on Monday night to start the process of making our dress dreams into reality.

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  • Best breakfast spot in Nepal? The Yellow House in Sanepa can give any venue a run for its money. You can completely customise your meal, a bonus for a picky eater like me who is forever picking bits they don’t like out of their meals or leaving sections untouched. In addition, the setting is lovely, with an outdoor undercover area, with comfy chairs and live music.

    For me this morning: poached eggs, rosti, sautéed potatoes and green veggies, cream cheese and baguette. Don’t worry, there was a trip to the gym for cardio, weights and lap swimming afterwards.

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  • World Cup 2014

    It seems like an eternity ago already, but as a summary of the World Cup, I have loosely followed this Guardian piece’s format, but tumblr style, which just means a tonne of gifs.

    And by the way, I picked the right horse at the start. Very proud of my German kin.

    Match of the tournament: Germany v Brazil

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    Player of the tournament: James Rodríguez

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    Keeper of the tournament: Manuel Neuer

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    Goal of the tournament: Tim Cahill in Australia v Netherlands

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    Personal highlight: Colombia’s post-goal celebrations

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    Biggest disappointment: Diving

    Innovations for 2018: No FIFA. And no third place playoff. Seriously, who cares.

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  • That awkward moment when…

    Your Australian-South Korean friend takes you to a North Korean restaurant in Kathmandu and doesn’t tell you what you are eating, so you accidentally eat fried pig skin thinking it is some sort of strange, chewy pickle, after having been a vegetarian for over 11 years. I have been violated! Is vegetarianism like being an alcoholic at Alcoholics Anonymous; once you break your sobriety, you go back to counting from day one?

    Last night I played ultimate frisbee (I think I’m improving; some notable interceptions and points scored by yours truly) with friends at the American Club, before dinner at a restaurant run and owned by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea). Apparently, it is incredibly difficult to be a vegetarian in Korea, particularly when your friend neglects to point out all the meat items. I did also note that I felt like I was literally funding the purchase of Kim Jong-Un’s fur coats by patronising a North Korean government-run establishment. Rather famously, last year, a number of waiting staff (who are brought over from North Korea to work in the restaurant) did a runner and claimed asylum. Now, all the staff live in dormitories above the restaurant. And when some of my fellow diners tried to ask them about North Korea, they went very silent.

  • I went fabric shopping today in Indrachowk, an area of old Kathmandu. I bought 4 metres each of a rich red and a deep purple cotton print with wonderful detailing in the hems and 3 metres of a white cotton printed with tiny aqua and navy blue fleur de lis.

    I am planning to have the two colorful fabrics made into kaftans (replicating the kaftan I bought from Anoki when I was in India, which got me so many compliments while I was on holiday in Italy). As yet, I am not sure what the white fabric is destined for.