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Day 3 - Exploring Kathmandu

After a good night’s rest, we met downstairs for breakfast at one of the tables in the courtyard. We each tried something different. Rick tried the Potato Croquette Japanese breakfast, Cordella tried the Agedashi Tofu Japanese breakfast, Jeff tried the Continental breakfast with yak cheese, and Madhav had the vegetarian Continental breakfast. We took our time and talked about the plan for the day. At 9AM we met with Mr. Prithbi Shrestha, managing director of the Hotel Kaze Darbar. We had a very nice meeting discussing our project, the mission of Water for Small Villages, and opportunities on how we can benefit from working together. We plan on offering to bring a group with us in about 10 months to visit Nepal and participate in the completion of the water project. After our meeting, we walked 15 minutes to Thamel -- the center of Kathmandu’s shopping district – where we stopped at many of the small stores to look at clothes, flags, tools, maps, jewelry, and a wide array of other items that we plan to purchase at the end of our trip. Jeff has an amazing story about how he very reluctantly bought a flute and then 30 minutes later resold it to the same vendor. Cordella ordered a handmade kurta suruwal (loose pants, tunic top, and scarf). We walked through the market and ended up at the Hanuman-dhoka Durbar Square monument zone. Strolling through many of the temples dating back to the 12th century was fascinating, but sadly, many historic sites were damaged in the 2015 earthquake. The highly ornate pieces that fell from up high on the sides of the temples during the earthquake were gathered on the ground to be reinstalled, allowing a close-up view. There were incredibly detailed carvings, statues, shrines, and open courtyards. Reconstruction is underway…slowly. We decided it was time for lunch and Madhav wanted us to try a Thakali set. A Thakali set consists of rice, dal, sag (pronounced “sahg”), aloo, chicken, fish, and condiments – chutney and achaar, and yogurt. Cordella ate like a local, using only her right hand and no utensils. With the exception of the chicken and fish, all other food in the Thakali set were AYCE (all you can eat). Afterwards, we caught a taxi back to our hotel. We didn't have a chance to meet with the pipe company as we had hoped, but we decided that going to the village first, so we would have a better idea of what we were going to negotiate and purchase, was an equally acceptable plan of action. Following a short rest in our rooms, we cleaned up, repacked, and then reconvened in the lobby. Dr. Shashidhar Ram Joshi, Professor and Director of Technology and Communications at Tribhuvan University arrived at Hotel Kaze Darbar at 5:30PM. After introductions, Dr. Joshi drove us to his brother’s house where his sister-in-law prepared several courses of a traditional Nepali dinner. We had interesting conversation covering topics such as HEC-RAS hydrologic modeling, solar technology, and international banking. After dinner, we climbed the stairs to the rooftop patio where we gazed at the stars and the lights of the city below us. At exactly 8PM, the electricity turned off as expected (called “load shedding”, a.k.a. rolling blackout) and the house was on battery backup for the rest of the night. Returning to the living room, we continued our conversation ranging from science, our projects, politics, Nepali history, science fiction, and mathematics. Before calling it a night, we made plans to meet again a week from Friday, at the end of our trip. As Dr. Joshi drove us back to our hotel, we noted the quietness of the streets. The lack of traffic, people, and even dogs and cows at 11PM reminded us that the days and nights begin just before sunrise and end just after dark. We were exhausted after a busy day and we looked forward to some much needed sleep. We will gather in the lobby at 8AM tomorrow to depart for the drive to Kabilash.
Food Notes:

1) Hotel Kaze Darbar’s Japanese breakfast is served on a tray with several small dishes: rice, miso soup, salad with dressing (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, daikon radish), natto (fermented soybeans – add soy sauce; natto can be an acquired taste), cooked/roasted vegetables (varies; could be combination of carrot, cauliflower, green beans, roasted garlic, broccoli), tamagoyaki (2 pieces of pan-fried, rolled egg), pickled daikon radish/carrot/garlic/ginger, and…your main dish choice of Teriyaki Chicken Hamburg Steak, Teriyaki Tofu Hamburg Steak, Grilled Chicken in Miso Paste, Grilled Pork in Miso Paste, Potato Croquette, or Agedashi Tofu. Agedashi Tofu is a bowl of vegetable broth with 2 pieces each of roasted/broiled daikon radish, cauliflower florets, green beans, and battered/fried tofu, topped with scallions and grated, fresh ginger. Also, your choice of hot tea (black or green), coffee, or Masala Milk Tea (like Indian chai tea; in Nepal it’s called chiya or chya)

2) Dr. Joshi’s sister-in-law prepared badam sadeko (spicy peanut salad/salsa), rice, biryani, chicken curry, goat (curry, I think), sag, sliced raw carrots, and sikarni – a whipped yogurt dessert (sugar, cardamom, saffron, nuts, raisins, seasonal fruit)

3) Sag – pronounced “sahg”; spinach and other fresh greens

4) Aloo = potatoes

5) Achaar = South Asian pickles; we were served carrot, daikon radish, and cucumber


UPDATED: 2016-05-27