*Days 47-48: "All good things..." (Leaving Nepal)

Trip Start May 20, 2008
Trip End Aug 19, 2008

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday was the day of errands. I had to make a trip to Baneshwor to develop some photos, make a bank run, pack, somehow get to OCRC and say goodbye to meh babiez, join the volunteers at 5:30 for Lindsey's birthday cake, and be back home in time for dal bhat. Oh, and plan the next 3 weeks of SE Asia in the process.There was a cute symmetry to it all; my last two days in LA featured a similar impossible even worse errand crunch. I accomplished all except for SE Asia planning and, very unfortunately, the OCRC run. The road to Duakot was still closed, I had a full blown cold by this point, and it was pouring rain and had been the whole day. A two hour walk did not compute, and there was thus no real way to make the journey. I certainly wasn't going through the back country again. Not being able to say goodbye to Dave and the kids will go down as my biggest regret from Nepal, and has kept me from feeling a sense of closure about my time there. All the more reason to come back some day, I suppose... I asked HT to give them the photos, send my regards, and get their #, if they had, one so that I could say faretheewell over the phone. Hopefully I'll be able to do that.

Lindsey's bday cake shindig was fun times and followed by a goodbye-Charlie (been going by Charlie since coming here, it's way easier for the locals to catch onto), hangout at The Hut. I took my last sip of that wonderful Everest Lager, gave many hugs and stumbled back home. The most emotional of the goodbyes was with Drubah "Droobs," the good ole bartender who had been our guide, our protector, and our friend since day one. I didn't feel much of a goodbye with HT. Since he's an LA resident, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of each other. As Bogart said in Casablanca, and as I lol-ingly told him, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Packing waited till the last minute of course, I was up till midnight cramming the dirty laundry in wherever it would fit. Sonu, Sarasoti, and Sani all made adorable little crayola-forged going away cards for me, a favor I returned by bestowing what must have been Nepal's largest Cadbury Bar on them. Meanwhile, Sushaan bounced off the walls per usual. Oh Sushaan.

I slept like a baby and woke up early enough to finish packing (heh.) One by one the siblings left for school, and one by one I hugged them goodbye. It was a slow, sentimental trickle. I popped into The Hut briefly to share some coffee with Droobs and to unload my now unnecessary hand sanitizer supply onto him, shared another wistful farewell, and headed back to the house where Suganda was waiting to drive me to the airport.

And thus, in almost the same manner it began, the ~2 months of my life spent in some random Kathmandu suburb named after a soda company came to an end. I'm flying over the South China Sea right now, bound for Singapore, and still trying to figure out just what the hell to take away from it all. There's a good quote by the Dalai Lama that goes something like: "If you contribute to other peoples' happiness, you will find the true meaning of life." I'd like to say I made those kids happier, but will have to take a raincheck on the meaning of life part. If I learned anything from Nepali and my Nepali family though, it's that life is not really about getting some cushy corporate job and making it big (something I'd previously been worried about.) It's simply a task of surviving, and doing what you can to better the world around you while you're at it. How you define "world" is up to you.

or something like that.

In about a half hour, I'll land in Singapore and start the next chapter of this wittle trip. Only half of the saga is complete, another 6 weeks of largely unplanned travel loom ahead. I'll be on the road pretty much constantly and will write as frequently as I can, hopefully everyday but realistically once per destination (of which there will be many, though I don't yet know where.) The landing gears are opening... see you on the other side.

PS: Saw Mount Everest from the airplane window.

PPS:  As you are reading this from the Internet, I have obviously landed
safely in Singapore since the time of writing and am doing jolly.

---Vital Signs---
Hygiene = Dire
Mosquito Repellent = 0%
Hydro-cortisone = 10%
Tears = A few

and my immune system is officially awesome, because...
Food Poisonings = ZERO
Sicknesses = 1 light cold
...and that's it. Hooyah!
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