Monday, 2 May 2016

A rough start..

A rough start (literally)

In all these years of travelling to KTM I have been graced with relatively smooth arrivals.  This trip my itinerary took me from Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dhaka and finally to Kathmandu.  Our fully loaded "Dragon Air " flight ( can't make this stuff up) navigated through an electrical storm  on its descent into Dhaka.  The pilot advised the flight attendants to be seated "we've got some weather between us and landing" was all he said.  Let's just say it was the most scared I have ever been on a flight.  The young South African beside vacillated  between hyperventilating and going rigid in his seat while death griping the arm rests.  The entire crowd onboard shrieked in unison as we tossed and lurched along.  At some point I  "zenned out" went to my quiet happy place and clutched the tiny marble heart Jaynie gave me to travel with.  I was very glad to land in Dhaka.
Well it is pre-monsoon here and we were flying across the Bay of Bengal...  I guess it shouldn't have been that surprising that we would run into "some weather" along the way.

Arriving in KTM ignited instant nostalgia.  The sights and sounds were so familiar.  Since I was arriving so late in the evening I stayed the first night at a local hotel that Dvid and I have stayed in many times (Hotel Himalaya).  I walked from the hotel down to the Patan Academy and Paton Hospital (where I will be working) and ran across the locals building a giant wooden structure that is hoisted up on giant wooden wheels and paraded down the main street of Patan to commemorate the upcoming growing season--- in other words they pray for rain. It is called the Matsyendranath Festival.  I'll keep you posted on the progress (it is over 14 meters tall when finished).

Two things struck me, one was how much had changed and one was how little had changed.  I had no trouble finding my landmarks right down to the didi who runs the tiny corner store around from my flat.  Despite the earthquake of one year ago I was struck by how little evidence there was that it had occurred.   The street widening project that was just beginning three years ago has transformed many of the back alleys into paved streets.  That has made a huge difference to the safety of people getting around both on foot and on bikes.

By 11:00 I was at the school and met up with my teaching colleagues at PAHS.  Some were familiar and some were new.  The coolest part was running into 6 of my very first students from PAHS (from six years ago) to a chorus of "Namaste CA mam".  They are now finished their formal MBBS degree and are now "interns" at the hospital for one year,  before heading out to do their rural postings.  They still look young but wear their 6 years of training confidently.  I sat in on a lecture (below) given by one of the basic science faculty on the cardiac action potential.  I was glad to see what they were learning since I found out this morning I am lecturing on the ECG tomorrow!  The room is as I remember it.  Small, stifling hot despite the six noisy fans running overhead.  I noticed right away that the students had notebooks (the paper kind - not the Apple kind).  There wasn't a computer in sight...  I am very excited to get to know the students in this class.

The remaining three pics were taken on my walk to get groceries..
A lovely cloud formation, a vibrant purple jacaranda tree outside the hospital and the load shedding schedule where I am living (the times are when there is no electricity each day- up to 11 hours).


  1. CA, my stomach started to churn, reading about your flight to Dhaka! Glad you made it to Kathmandu okay and are enjoying being back in familiar surroundings. I'm sure all will go well with your ECG lecture tomorrow! ~ Katya

  2. Omb, my favourite travel story. So glad you made it to Dhaka. I was getting severe palpitations just reading it. Very happy you are terra firma and enjoying the good old Nepal. Thinking about you. Making a pilgrimage to water the plants tomorrow . Many hugs. Bistare, bistare. Lay some bread in me......risam piriri