We left Pokhara on Monday and went to Bandipur, where we had no internet. We stayed there for a couple of days and came down yesterday. I say "came down" because Bandipur is an old Newari village on the ridge of a mountain.
It was really, really beautiful. My favorite thing about Bandipur was the fact that there were no cars. Just long stone paved streets with children playing everywhere. Mine leapt from rock to rock. There was no stopping them.
My least favorite thing about Bandipur had nothing to do with Bandipur. Chinua got really sick with a high fever. We brought his fever down and managed to get on the bus (which involved a one hour wait on the side of the road) and travel to Kathmandu. Poor guy. It was a rough trip for him.
We are resting and recovering before we fly to Bangkok.
I'm trying to participate in Ali Edwards "Week in the Life" which is interesting because it is a traveling week for us. It means that life is far from at home normal, but since we travel a lot, it is a different kind of normal, a traveling normal. And I don't usually take the time to record all that goes on. If any of you have traveled over mountains on a Nepali bus with four children, you will understand why. But I am really trying. All I have managed to do so far is take a ton of photos, record notes, and collect stuff like napkins and business cards for scrapbooking. I'm enjoying taking the journey in this way.
Here's one little snippet. On the first day that Chinua wasn't feeling well, the two older kids and I did this:
Does it look like we're in a cave? Because we're in a cave. Siddhi Gufa, the biggest cave in Nepal. We trekked up a mountain to get there. One of my kids was leaping ahead the whole way, so excited to get there, and the other was falling down on the trail, moaning, absolutely dramatic and calling for water in the hoarse voice of someone who has been in the desert for days. It was all I could do to get him there. I used it as a lesson in attitude. The first kid wanted to be in the cave and was excited to do it. The second kid decided from the start that he'd rather turn back. Both have the same amount of energy usually and both are fit.
Anyhow, once we finally made it, all tiredness was set aside, as we scrambled over wet rocks to get into caverns and climbed down a LONG ladder into a hole. I was the least brave one. I kind of wanted to turn back the whole time, and it was actually rather dreamlike for me, because the whole time I was in the cave I was trying to convince myself that I wasn't in a cave, so I wouldn't panic. Oh, the things we do for our kids.
Our cave guide was amazing. I can't say enough for the strength and kindness of Nepali guides and porters. They are incredible. He told us to turn our flashlights off for a minute and we were in utter darkness. Caves! So dark and inside the earth! So wet and muddy and cavelike! Who knew?
The kids loved it. They wanted to go all the way back, into every cavern, down every hole. So we did. Half a kilometre into the earth. Gah.
I hope to show you my "Week in the Life," when I can figure out a way to do it. Working time is seriously limited when traveling, though I am getting better at it with time.
Also VERY important: I meant to do this before we started traveling. My friend Carrien, as many of you know, works for an organization that is providing a home and support for children who are orphans of genocide in Burma. They are now refugees in Thailand, and are dependent of the kindness of strangers for their survival.
We have an excellent opportunity to give by voting for their organization here. They are eligible for a large grant, and you can click through to see their vision of what they will do if they receive this grant.
I'm so inspired by my friends who have dug in and found a way to serve these children. In a time when need seems vague and huge and unpenetrable, we can help this group help real people in a real place.
Please go vote.