Today was find a guide day. I stopped in at the Hotel Lucky Star, a place recommended to me by the cousin of the owner who is friends with an old friend of mine from High school in Kansas. They actually seemed impressed. “Oh you are a friend of a friend of a friend of the owners cousin? Please come in. You are family now.” The manager invited me in offering milk tea and a seat. I explained my need for an interpreter, someone to assist with filming, and carry equipment. He sent for his friend, Mahesh, two doors down and we set up a time for tomorrow. Meanwhile Ram, the manager, offered to leave work early and take me around for a couple hours. I gave him a quick lesson in photography/videography and we were off into the throes of Kathmandu.
Our first stop was the tailors, where I picked up my new corduroys, before venturing deeper into the city. Ram's english was great! It was the accent that was the problem. He explained to me how the trash service works. Basically everybody dumps their trash in the street then every once in a while government workers come around and clean it all up. I wondered aloud if it might be useful as well as cost effective to just put trash cans on the streets. It was probably my accent but he seemed genuinely confused. I told him that in the States it is illegal to throw trash on the ground and that one could get a ticket. This sent him into a fit of laughter and a slap on the back at which point he called me a jokester. I had no idea I was so funny.
As the night wrapped up, Ram ushered me onto a micro bus headed back to my neighborhood. A micro bus is a mini van with a minimum of thirty people in it. For ten rupees I got to be trampled by 29 Nepalese and 4 Indians for 30 minutes with all the windows closed. A romantic Indian song repeated itself over and over again as a baby in the back cried from the stench of all that human warmth. My chin held someone#s butt up while my right eye got squeezed shut by a fat lady#s armpit. Just when I thought packed sardines had it good, the micro bus stopped and four more people squeezed in. The heat from the floor of the bus was starting to burn my feet through my sandals and then it occurred to me, could this be a fire hazard?
When it was finally time to exit the bus I stepped onto the curb then turned around and waved goodbye. We had bonded and I felt empty and alone without them.