Monday, August 30, 2010


I'm here! I'll do a bigger post a little later once I've settled in. This is just a quick update to tide people over...

My flight from Hong Kong to Kathmandu was pretty empty which was good because they moved me to a seat where I could stretch my legs out and get some sleep. At that point I'd been awake for 28 consecutive hours so napping was great. We stopped at Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh) for 30 minutes to let off some passengers before then taking off again for Kathmandu.

I arrived at 10:30 pm local time and was through immigration by 11. The nice thing about going through immigration in Kathmandu late at night is that they're pretty laid back and lax about the whole thing. I'm pretty sure we were the last flight of the day, which helped as all the airport employees seemed to just want to get home and sleep. Don't have a spare passport photo for your visa? No problem, we'll waive that requirement. Does customs need to inspect my luggage or anything? Nope, you're probably not smuggling anything in anyways, just walk right past the checkpoint. You get the idea...

Yanik met me at the airport and we caught a taxi back to his place. He runs the Passage Project, the organization that's been helping plan and manage my stay here. His mother founded the organization in 1996, but she died last year of cancer. It's obviously unfortunate, but all the more so as she sounds like a pretty amazing woman. Besides founding Passage, she also started the Kathmandu Jazz Festival and just generally sounds like someone who was deeply involved in her community. Yanik has taken over as coordinator for Passage in her stead. Together with his partner Tsering, he runs Passage out of an office in his house.

Yanik is very capable and also a really nice guy. I've spent most of the day with him and his knowledge of Nepal and especially Kathmandu is impressive. I swear he knows more people than I thought was possible. He's also a real jazz and hip hop aficionado and does a little freestyling on his own. Yanik and Tsering put together this video (it's on youtube) as a side project for the 2009 Democracy Video Challenge about a year ago. It won the contest and Yanik performs in part of it, so check it out if you have some free time...

Yanik's letting me crash in an extra bedroom at his place, until I join my host family either today or tomorrow. He lives outside of Kathmandu, in Budhanilkantha, a moderately rural area to the north. It's a little more affluent than most of Kathmandu, a number of diplomats live in the area, and the view is pretty nice. You also get a sense of the elevation of the area since many of the hills are actually in the clouds.

Budhanilkantha looking away from Kathmandu (i.e. North)
Once at Yanik's place, I met Mira and her daughter Nalini. They share the house with Yanik and Mira does much of the cooking and cleaning. I also met his two dogs, Marley and Alice. Alice is the black one and was a stray. She had been hit by a car when Yanik found her but she was still wagging her tail and acting generally upbeat so he decided to take her in. If you look at her today, you'd have no idea either that she was a stray nor that she's been hit.

Marley and Alice doing what they're best at...
Anyways, after getting to Yanik's place, I had some Nepali tea (I love how good the tea is here), chatted with Yanik about NYC a bit (he'd recently visited), and went to sleep.

Ok that's it for the moment. I just got back from a trip into Kathmandu proper with Yanik but I'm going to wait to post on it as that will be pretty involved. Just wanted to update everyone and get a few pictures up. More posts in the next few days...


  1. Sounds like a wonderful first day! And the photos are great to have--keep them coming. Must go and read the next post now...and watch that video, of course~ Cheers, Cathy.

  2. Got through the toughest part. Now let the fun begins. Glad you had some room to stretch out. Keep the photos coming. Tell Yanik I liked his video.

  3. Oh buddy! Welcome welcome!

    So great to hear you're settling in a-okay there. Keep the updates coming!

    Yesterday in "A People's History," Zinn talked about Athol, Massachusetts...just like our latest crossword!



  4. Glad you made it there safely. Looking forward to some great blog posts!

  5. Charlie says hi and he hopes that you have a good time in Kathmandu! We can't wait to read more about it but hope you get a good block of sleep first. XXOO

  6. Niiiiiick we love you and miss you dearly
    I hope youre having fun and I'm glad everything is going smoothly so far.
    It's 5am and we're heading out at 6. I dont know why I'm up so early. Wish me luck with interviews!!

    Let us know how youre doing, hopefully a skype call soon?
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx love you


  7. Great work nick!

    @Julia: ya I don't know why your up so early or why you are decide to bother me when you are up that early. Let ME sleep! Love, Matt.