No, I haven't written here for nearly a month. I have been (among other things) "shifting" to the long-overdue new flat, and there's no net there yet (it was of course supposed to be there, promised to be there, and now isn't; so what else is new. Installing my own router will cost some 1800NRs per month -plus down payments - another hidden expense).
The new place is very high and dry; 4th floor, lots of windows and sun and air. I call it the Cuckoo's Nest.
The sheer amount of plastic required to set up a household these days is really dismaying. Garbage bins, sponges, scrub brushes, coat hangers and so forth all involve investing in the dread substance. (I tried having a kitchen rubbish bin made of something else...not nice. And metal is about three times the price.)
Then there are the cleaning items. I looked around the other day and realized how many varieties of scrubbing and cleaning devices I had acquired in 3 weeks:
-sponges with scrubber only on one side (you know, yellow sponge, green scrubber);
-bottle brush for those hard to reach areas;
-floor rags including both "wet rag" and "dry rag" (we don't normally use mops here);
-two different kinds of handmade straw brooms;
-squeegee for the bathroom floor,
-and coconut husks (really, they are good for scrubbing). (Those were FREE at the market.)
Okay, so I am a child of Eisenhower-era parenting. Or maybe it's a result of so many years in south Asia, where the dirt demons prowl.
Then there are all manner of other mundane things I haven't had to think of in literal years, such as hammer & nails, bathmats and doormats, bulletin board, fan, and window screens. It's easy to see how people get bogged down in fixing up their homes. Fortunately, I have limited myself to two rooms. Anything larger, and I may start collecting stuff.
I have yet to figure out the garbage schedule here. One morning a week, a truck comes by and they blow a whistle. Then you're supposed to run down and toss in your bags. You can't leave anything out the night before; there are too many stray dogs.
Drinking water has to be brought in from outside, via the neighborhood corner-store run by a very sweet couple who have Muslim names but seem to be a bit closeted otherwise about faith. (This is unusual here, where everyone wears their faith on their sleeve like people in Tennessee advertise their favourite NASCAR drivers.) A big blue tank of the best-quality drinking water is 90 NRs (like $1.40). I had to put a 500NRs refundable deposit on each tank. A kid with a push-bike delivers the water - the bike is specially outfitted with metal ring holders, like saddlebags, one on each side to hold the tanks.
Cooking gas, and also gas to heat the hot water "geyser," is a bit more pricey. It's 4500Nrs deposit (refundable) on the heavy red-metal cylinders that dispense life-giving fire here. The actual propane contents of the cylinder are 1100 Nrs or so per tank.
Then, I still had to come up with an actual gas stove. This runs anywhere from 2000Nrs to 4000 or so. I can't help wondering how average Nepalis, who make perhaps 2500 Nrs a month, come up with these deposits. That explains the kerosene cook stoves owned by the very poor (much cheaper than propane).
But, Thank Gods (there are lots of them to choose from here) the power is mostly back, and the rains appear to have started. Hope I don't jinx anything by publicly stating this.