Published: December 30th 2007December 28th 2007
Christmas Dinner...Mediocre Dal Baht!
Eating a bowl of crummy dal baht in my room wasn't my ideal Christmas dinner experience.
One final quickie Nepal blog to wrap things up. The Eve
I celebrated Christmas Eve with a crew from VIN. I had the usual Christmas dinner of Chicken Tikka Masala & Butter Naan...then headed out for a couple of cups of Gluh Wein (any German speakers out there can feel free to correct the spelling of that) while listening to a mix of Christmas music, Green Day, and James Brown. Again...the usual, right? The Santa hat with flashing lights I had purchased for Rs30 was a hit and added at least one element of familiarity to the scene. (not that I usually have a flashing Santa hat...but under the circumstances...it was more familiar than most things) Christmas - Sandalwood Tree, Buddhist Monks...Just Like Christmas At Home
If Christmas Eve didn't have many familiar elements I'd have to say that Christmas Day was even less familiar. I celebrated Christmas morning in the courtyard of the monastery with 30 little monks as we cut up some colored paper to decorate a sandalwood tree...though several of them decorated themselves more that the tree. We had cookies, candies, Christmas music playing from my ipod, a (really weak) rendition of Jingle Bells in a
Nepali accent, and a lot of fun.
My Christmas dinner consisted of a bowl of dal baht in my room at the monastery. Not quite the festive meal I'm used to for Christmas. I couldn't let the day end like that, so I headed down the hill to make some calls to the family and grab some sort of tasty desserts in town. Noelle Joy!
The first call I made was to my sister, Kristin. I began expressing how I had a good Christmas, but wished I could be holding Hope (my niece) while she opened a present from me. Kristin replied that she wished she could do the same...but wouldn't be able to because she was on her way to the hospital for a little Christmas present of her own...another little girl! Noelle Joy was born around 3pm on Christmas Day and I can't wait to see her and big sister Hope - whenever it is that I get back to the States. That Sensation In Your Chest
How is it that the mind and body work in such strange ways? For example, when getting into a taxi for the airport and waving goodbye to friends
I may never see again...why do I actually feel sadness manifesting itself as a sensation in my chest? After leaving the monastery behind with a final walk down the hill (accompanied by luggage-bearing monks) and then a final stop by the VIN office (where I was decorated with some tikka and flowers for a safe journey) I was on the way to the airport thinking about how strange this sensation really is. Where along the evolutionary line did it become advantageous for the mind to tell the chest/heart to feel
sad? Don't get me wrong, I wasn't breaking down or anything...but this has been the longest stop of the adventure and here I have actually known people for a substantial amount of time.
Whatever the explanation for that might be...the feeling was tempered by the excitement of the unknown road that lies ahead and the recognition that the closing of this chapter allows for the beginning of another. Final Comment On Trekking
My Annapurna blogs have gotten quite a lot of viewership and I wanted to make a couple of comments. First - For some reason it seems that my 3rd trekking blog became a featured link somewhere
Marie And The Christmas Gang
Gathered around the tree and working on decorations
in the LiveJournal site...thus making it the most viewed of any of my blogs within its first week. So for anyone that happened upon the life of Marc by mere chance...welcome to the journey. Second - As I said before, I highly recommend the Annapurna Circuit to anyone. That being said...here's a couple further comments. The AC is fairly developed as far as treks go and your exposure to the "real Nepal" (see my entry about "...going toilet" that precedes the Annapurna entries) is limited to a certain extent. This didn't bother me much...and might not bother you. But I did want to say that a guy I met in Kathmandu made the comment that the Manaslu Circuit is (in his opinion) the best trek to do in Nepal. Apparently the views are similarly stunning and it's not nearly as developed. I personally didn't mind the fact that I could get pizza (though mediocre) along the way, but if you really want to get away from other westerners, decent lodges, and a variety of meal choices...apparently Manaslu is an option to consider. Just wanted to throw that out there for everyone - though I still highly recommend Annapurna. Pheri
Betaula ("See You Again")?
"Sagar" is his name.
I'm not sure how many times I had to dance around the question of "When are you coming back?". Not to say that I don't intend to come back, but I certainly didn't want to commit to anything. After all, Nepal isn't exactly the easiest place to get to from Chicago. But I certainly wouldn't mind if I have another Nepali stamp on my passport at some point in life. And if any of you are keen to test out that Manaslu suggestion...let me know...I'll do what I can to be part of the fun.
My flight was delayed a bit, but would a prompt departure really be the proper way to begin a trip to India? As we climbed above the winter haze of the Kathmandu valley I was treated to a final sunset on the snow-capped peaks of the Nepali Himalaya Range. As we flew past Manaslu...Annapurna II...Machhupechhre...Annapurna I...Dhaulagiri - memories of Annapurna trekking, visiting Rukum, and maroon-clad monks filled my head. The strange sensation in my chest faded as a peaceful and satisfied smile spread across my face.
Until next time...
PS - The photo of the alphabet at
And "Karma" is his name. Just about the cutest kid in the world.
the top of this entry was taken after I had my students compete to see which team could write the alphabet faster.
There are more photos below