Saturday, 8 May 2010

Back To (relative) Normality

The strike is over and may I be the first to say thank God for that! Last week was pretty weird in that everything was shut and the normally hectic Thamel was a total ghost town. This morning however I was nearly run over twice and asked if I wanted to "smoke" three times before 9am, so normal service has definitely resumed.

It is hard to describe just what it was like. I guess the best way to imagine it is if you're living in Clapham knowing full well that there are huge protests going on in Waterloo and Westminster, but where you are is not really affected except for shops being shut and there being zero traffic. The streets were full of people playing cricket, football and rather randomly, badminton, and all the kids were pretty happy with the situation because there was no school either.

Anyway, to other news. I hear back home everyone in Parliament is going to be hung, so that's good. I wonder how you all voted, except Kirtley who has made his hatred of all things Labour very clear!

I was offered a job a week ago. It was all very random, and for those who word has not yet reached, it seems highly likely that should I be granted a working visa I will soon be running my own resort. I've not yet had a proper look at the place, but it has a gym, pool, squash court, tennis courts a restaurant and at least one bar. I will also live on-site and it is in a much nicer and quieter part of town - in that the Maoist leader will no longer be my next door neighbour, which would be nice!

How I got this position is a funny story in itself which generally involved putting lots of nonsense on my CV because, and I quote, "that is how things work out here". Good to know that! My first job will of course be to ban all spitting and sack any staff member who spends the day hocking and sounding like they're about to throw up. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst thing about this place. I cannot get used to it at all. It is the first noise I hear in the morning (mixed in with the farmyard animals) and the last thing I hear at night. Garbage.

So, running this place would be something of a fresh challenge and by all accounts it's a great place that just needs a bit of a kick up the arse. My friend Becci, who lives round the corner from it, said: "it's the kind of place where they're quite happy to spend hours putting petals in water to look pretty, but then they don't clean the toilets". Hmm - room for improvement then I think.

My other great challenge will be that of beard maintenance. I really need to find a pair of clippers or something because I simply can't have a repeat of the episode that took place a week ago, which can best be described as assault. Nir decided to take me to a nice "local" barbers which would cost about 40 rupees(around 30 pence) for a beard trim. After the bloke went to town on my face and removed all of about three hairs, he then, without warning, decided to give me some form of impromptu massage. I am confident he was not qualified. This "massage" basically involved punching me in the spine and jabbing between my ribs before administering Chinese burns on both my arms then yanking each finger and thumb. It was all I could manage not to punch the bloke in the face.

Other than that Kim Jong-Il continues to amuse me and I have now successfully taught him how to high-five. Perhaps my single greatest achievement in life to date (OK, I am sure that like the rest of us he would have figured it out eventually for himself, but to have a one-year-old high-fiving with great delight is damn entertaining). My next task is to teach him how to ride a motorbike.

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