Friday, May 06, 2005

monkey on a bus

Ewan and I are back from Lukla. We have been since Tuesday. Nini is stuck in Lukla due to cloudy weather, along with her aunt and father. We've taken to telling people they're her parents - it's a lot easier than explaining the relationship. As an aside, we're told 'Nini' means aunt in Newari - the language of a Nepali ethnic group by the same name. But it's not just 'aunt', it's specifically for aunt-by-marriage. So your father's brother's wife is your nini, but your father's sister isn't. Our cook is Newari.

If you're an avid beecherinnepal reader, you'll notice that I will have commited Revisionism in a few days. I wrote a few entries while we were in the Everest area on paper. I know - paper! I'll transcribe those later and pre-date them to when they were originally written. I'm holding-off on posting them because with Nini and her family still in Lukla, our collective of digital photos is not yet complete. The posts need accompanying photos to fulfill my artistic vision. When will the posts be up? That's the same question as 'when will Nini and her family be back?'. No one knows - if it's cloudy in Lukla tomorrow, the flights will be cancelled again. Even if it's clear and the planes fly tomorrow, everyone who didn't get a flight out today will be throwing elbows trying to get back to Kathmandu. A single day can mean hundreds of dollars and meticulous planning to some tourists. I hear the higher monetary value of the synthetic clothes the trekker is wearing, the more violent and unpredictable they get. That, or being French. So the Lukla airport can get real ugly, according to the Lonely Planet. They wrote an entire half-page on delays, fear, and malice at the Lukla airport in their purple Nepali-trekking book.

Being back in Kathmandu is good - the flat feels like a home to come home to. They say it's an early monsoon this year, as it's been raining about every day. The rain puts the dust down and cuts the fragrant bouquet of the Bagmati river.

On Wednesday morning, Ewan and I went into town for electronics parts. Stuck in traffic, I saw a bus going the other way with a baby monkey sitting on the driver's side window, chewing on a plastic tube. Ewan and I commented that this kind of thing is normal here, but being out of the Kathmandu Valley, even for only four days, makes you appreciate this kind of stuff. I wish I'd had the camera that I carried everywhere on the trek. Because there was no camera, I can only provide this artist's rendition of the monkey on the bus:

picture on queue - will be revisionist-ed

We had more business in town after the monkey incident. The second notable incident happened once the rain cleared up. We were walking past a busy minibus/tempo-stop. These stops become impromptu markets, and a member of the new-wave hippie genre I've written about prior was doing his thing. This particular specimen had clearly been in India before visiting Nepal. He was wearing one of the sarongs that I'm told men were in southern parts of India. Guy smilie probably thought the sarong, and the accompanying tie-shut-collar poncho-shirt, made him look totally with it. In fact, in my experience, the Nepalis I know look down on the sarong-wearing guys as laborers. I think it's a caste thing. So guy smilie with the hip outfit was holding up his minibus. And why was he holding up a minibus of Nepalis, most probably wondering why a rich western male would be wearing a sarong? He was pointing across a few lanes of pedestrians at some strawberries and saying the word for 'quickly' (which sounds just like 'cheeto', like the cheese puffs) over and over to a woman selling seasonal fruit. As we walked past, I noted to Ewan that that hippie's gonna get something he wasn't bargaining for with those strawberries - something messy and painful and free with any street produce introduced to a foreigner's digestive system. Ewan kind of laughed and agreed. "Want to do anything about that?" "Nah, he'll get what he has coming".

Yesterday I mailed the postcards that I wrote in the Everest area. A Patan postmark is less exotic than a Namche Bazar one - granted. But I think the postmarks are written in Devanagri, so the recipeints won't know either way. When I watched the man slam the postmark on to cancel the stamps, all the guys in the post office started to gather around and read the postcards. There was some debate as to whether the slightly overlapping stamps were acceptable on the eight postcards. It's a good thing there were four employees standing around doing nothing at the post office, or the chore of reading such a high volume of people's mail would have fallen on a single Nepali government employee.

Speaking of, want a postcard from Nepal? Try leaving a comment with an address, and wait four weeks. You could not even include a name if you don't want to - just an address. See what happens.

Since we've been back in Kathmandu, things have been coming together on the project at work. We have PCB's now. What I've been struggling with for a while has finally reached a clearly stateable one-and-a-half sentences:

The key to detecting an absolute battery terminal voltage in a system with no absolute reference available is by making a differential measurement. This is common-mode rejection.


At 2:28 PM, milroy said...

I'm game! Mail call!!

184 Heather Lane
Palo Alto, CA 94303

At 4:10 AM, williambeecher said...

Done! Consider 184 Heather Lane the pending recipients of a postcard.


At 10:33 AM, Dan Amador said...

"They say it's an early monsoon this year, as it's been raining about every day. The rain puts the dust down and cuts the fragrant bouquet of the Bagmati river." Pretty poetic stuff, Bill Beecher. Ever thought about submitting to The Mind's Eye? HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous said...

"I Know PRO/E"
410 Central Ave #1
Pacific Grove, CA 93950


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