At this hour, I should be sleeping, but my body clock is way out of whack. First of all, I have been getting very little sleep over the past several nights because of excited anticipation and last-minute packing, as well as trying to sort through as many unfinished household tasks as I could to ease the way for my family a bit. Most of the tasks involved putting away my own projects anyway. As a result, I slept a lot on the plane. I usually find it difficult to rest on an airplane, but I think sheer exhaustion made it possible for me to get several hours of good rest on each leg of my trip. Unfortunately, that is probably one reason why I cannot sleep now. Secondly, It's raining. Hard. It sounds nice, but it doesn't exactly facilitate sleep when it's coming down in torrents. Thirdly (and fourthly and fifthly and...), there are, it seems, a million other reasons, and I believe they are stationed right outside my room. They are the dogs of Nepal. Every last one of them, barking gleefully away with no regard for my need to sleep. The canine serenade and the sound of heavy rainfall, coupled with my state of alertness, likely means that there'll be no sleep for me tonight, so I can spend some time writing for my blog.
The flight here was reasonably pleasant. Everything went smoothly and I have no complaints, except for the fact that my feet and ankles swelled up like I've never seen them do before. I can only surmise that it was all the sitting. I don't tend to sit still for very long generally, so my body isn't used to doing so. (An aside: I just looked it up and sure enough, it's no big deal, as verified by this Mayo Clinic article about Foot Swelling during flight ) But no matter, because all is well now. The situation remedied itself very quickly once I was able to move around a bit. Oh, and one more thing...the condition of the airplane bathroom on the final leg of my flight.
During my flight from Abu Dhabi, I was seated at the back of the plane and noticed something peculiar: many of the men were absolutely slovenly when it comes to urinating. What gives? Numerous times I noticed the flight attendants reminding men to flush when they emerged without doing so. I also noted the frequency with which those poor gals had to wipe the floors. Indeed, twice I used the restroom only to find urine splattered on the bowl, seat, and floor despite the flight attendants' frequent efforts to maintain cleanliness. And I'm not talking about a dribble here and there; the place was a MESS!
I do have a very positive observation about Nepalese men: those I have encountered are absolute gentlemen. I got in line for the restroom in the airplane behind four fellows, and all of them absolutely insisted that I go to the head of the line, despite my protests. And after the flight from Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu, we disembarked on the tarmac and took a bus to the terminal. The men on the bus insisted that all the ladies sit while they stood. There were only about five seats; the rest of the shuttle was standing-room only. Chivalry is alive and well here in Nepal.
Tomorrow---I mean today--- I wake bright and early (that is, if I ever fall asleep): 5:00. My hotel, the Hotel Mandela (absolutely no frills whatsoever, but clean and comfortable, with a serviceable shower, which is all I could ask for) is near a temple called the Boudhanath Stupa, and there will be throngs of people making a pilgrimage tomorrow, according to my guide, Kalyan. I'd like to see them. Like these pilgrims, I will circumnavigate the stupa. Later, Kalyan and a driver will be picking me up at 6:15 to take me to the bus station, where I will board a bus destined for Pokhara, the nearest city to where the yoga retreat is. I believe that we will have time for me to exchange currency before I board the bus. I hope so, as I have no Nepal currency as yet. Kalyan told me not to exchange in the airport as the fees are too high, so that is tops on my to-do list for tomorrow. In addition, I've hit a couple of minor bumps which should be easily remedied in Pokhara tomorrow:
1. Money exchange
2. Bought the wrong electric plug adapter, even though I spent time researching this!
3. Cell phone charging cable isn't working so I will need a new one.
4. Hoping there'll be a camera store in Pokhara where I can get a 67 mm polarizing filter and another memory card for GoPro. (Yes, I should have done it in Austin but by the time it occurred to me it was too late.)
5. Mosquito spray!!! They are devouring me!
The dogs have finally stopped and the rain has diminished to a pleasant pattering, so I will try to let the rhythm of the rain thrumming on the roof lull me to sleep...if I am lucky. 5:00 am is only two hours away!
ONE HOUR LATER: The dogs have resumed their serenade, and what's more, several roosters have joined in the cacophony, as well as the sounds of what was surely a very dramatic cat fight. I have given up on sleep for tonight. I will just enjoy the sound of the rain...and dogs and roosters and cats... for a while, until the pilgrims begin to arrive at the temple across the street.