It's been a funny old week, and I mean funny strange rather than funny ha-ha. Of course, I don't really like football so have paid little attention to this rather pointless tournament going on in South Africa at the moment and should anyone wish to discuss it I suggest you choose someone else.
So, other than wasting 90-minute chunks of my life I have been rather busy surprisingly. I finished up the last of my freelance work on the Great Himalayan Trail and with Zen Travels, well almost, and have managed to fit in another Hash as well as visit a hospital and attend a very random Rotary Club annual evening.
On Saturday morning I met up with my friend Mudita who came to the UK on an exchange a year ago and had stayed with my folks, coincidentally at exactly the same time that I was up on Everest for the cricket. She showed me around Patan and I finally got to see Durbar Square down there, so I felt like I had done something vaguely touristy for the first time in about two months, which was good. By 10am it was already sodding hot and I was beginning to develop a fear that hashing in the afternoon might be the death of me.
The Hash was the last time I would see most of the expats I've become friends with over here for a considerable time so there was something a bit strange about that. Still, as I've said many times, they're a good bunch and I am sure will pop up from time to time in the future.
The Hash itself was so hot it was absurd and despite having suncreamed up for only the second time since getting here I managed to get significantly burnt and my face has proved something of a shining beacon for the last few days...until all the skin fell off yesterday which was awesome. Once again I took some punishment after the event for having my hand in my pocket and then rather stupidly volunteered to do the write up, which cost me another mug of beer. Still, at least I kept it down which was more than could be said of one poor fellow. That said, I think he was Australian so he wasn't getting much sympathy from me.
On Monday I went to visit the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital as my Dad intends to send some medical equipment out to them and wanted me to go and meet the guys in charge and see the place so I could report back. It was actually really worthwhile and was incredibly encouraging to see what can be achieved by charity workers who are really determined. Having spent rather a lot of time trying to get Nepali people to actually do anything this restored some of my faith that there are a few out there with the necessary drive and determination to make things happen. In 12 years they have raised around $1million to build the hospital from scratch and provide care to more than 200 people every day. Big hand to those guys.
The chap in charge, Dr Anil Shrestha, then invited me to his Rotary Club Charter evening. For those than have no idea what this is (probably 99% of you) should you ever get the chance to go to one as a guest, I suggest you give it a miss. While it was very good to see what this Rotary Club had achieved, which was no small amount, I don't think I have ever been subjected to a more public display of back slapping in my life. Several parts of it were conducted in Nepali, and of course it was supposed to start at 6pm and finish at 7 but actually began at 6:30 and finished at 8pm, which was predictable.
I also wanted to get out because it was my last night with Nir and the guys and we were all going for dinner. With me heading off to Pokhara the next day and them all going to the village for some family celebration related to Nir's sister getting married in a few days I will actually be home alone for my last couple of days in the 'Du. Not sure a more low-key end could have been imaginable.
Dinner was cool, it was the first time little Ayush had been to a restaurant and he was only slightly annoying and generally pretty good fun. Because of the late start and the little lad getting tired it was just dinner and a beer before calling it a night. Still, paying for seven adults and a kid to eat and drink for an hour and a half and it costing less than £20 represents a considerable bargain from my point of view. There are definitely certain things I will miss about this place! I can't say I enjoyed saying goodbye to everyone, especially the family the next morning. I have no idea when I'll see these guys again and really wish I could have done more, at times I feel like I've done pretty much f**k all to be honest.
Yesterday was the seven hour bus ride to Pokhara and I have got a serious case of truckers arm from the sun coming through the window. Sadly the clouds have not lifted at all thus far and so the mountains may as well not be here, and it has rained all morning today. I did expect this though so can't complain, it's just nice to be away from the smog and noise of Kathmandu (although the drilling outside my room isn't exactly ideal) and sleep in a bed with sheets and have a shower where I can control the water temperature.
As a final word my thoughts are with my good mate Charlie BN at the moment who had a rather nasty operation a week ago. From what I know he's home now and is basically just sitting around waiting for the Tour De France to start - if you read this mate I hope you're OK and will be down to see you as soon as I can.