Month: November 2015

Bali. Morning thoughts

Moving from Nepal to Bali is not much of a jump.  As expats our lives include great holidays that both Rick and I work to maximise the best we can.  So the posts I have been writing about in Nepal took place over 3 weeks ago.  Since then we have been back to Saudi Arabia and then to Australia for our annual leave.  A week in Bali deliberately added onto the end of the trip gives us time to breathe out a little before heading back to the desert. Bali is my antidote to life in the desert.  We have had a deep and abiding connection with the place after coming here for the first time 23 years ago (With a 2 year old and one on the way – 4 of us on a motorbike was a sight to behold!).           Yes it has changed.  Yes it is noisier.  Yes it is full of partying Australians. But at its core Bali and its people are still authentic and beautiful and …

Musings…… Nepal part 7

Our 9 days in Nepal were now coming towards their conclusion. I spent several days buying jewelery and Nepali Pashminas to use for auctions for events we plan to have to fundraise back in Saudi. Rick made sure he managed a massage most days but not one from the Deaf Spa – saving that one up for next time. I bought kilos of beads and butter lamps, singing bowls and gifts to take home with us. I will be busy beading in my own private sweatshop once I collect all the pieces I need to get working on the handmade pieces that I plan to sell. The monsoon continued and the weather remained uncomfortable and the mountains shrouded in low-slung clouds. We made the most of the hospitality of the kind Nepalis, had coffee with Juliette and I did research with the aim of bringing a tour back next year. I rested and recovered and Rick did too. I reflected that I felt like a better version of myself in Nepal. It was as if …

In Nepal everything is present – Nepal part 8

Kathmandu is a crazy riot. People and traffic everywhere. Refugee camps for those displaced by the earthquake share prime real estate next to 5 star hotels. Buses belch black smoke, girls in perfectly white school uniforms wear face masks that cover their smiles, their black plaits swinging as they walk in large groups down the road. It’s a city in a bowl between mountains and the pollution is awful. Cars, busses and trucks are all old, held together with tape and luck it seems.  Serene women in pristine saris weave their way through the crowds and traditional Tibetans share the lane-ways with beggars and thieves. On Juliette’s advice we grabbed a taxi that we had to share with another fellow traveller and all our baggage and his too and we headed for the heritage listed Dwarikas Hotel. See more about Dwarikas here.  Like Raffles in Singapore and The Strand in Yangon this is one of those places that epitomizes refinement and beauty. A big festival to celebrate one of the Hindu Gods (Arjuna, I think) was …

A School to repair – Nepal part 6

Shree Arun Jyoti School is a tiny primary school perched rather precariously on a ridge above the small town of Begnas nearby to Pokhara. This area missed the worst of the quake however the school was damaged to the point, where after consultation it was decided that they needed to rebuild rather than repair. The problem with many of the buildings in Nepal is that they have almost no foundations. They build from the ground up using traditional but not particularly safety conscious methods. A few years ago a great organization called Room to Read which was set up by one of the Microsoft executives built a library at Shree Arun Jyoti. See Room to Read to discover more.  This building had foundations and a concrete floor and survived unscathed. Juliette and Dibya had raised around $8000, which included our contribution however due to the monsoon building works had not started when we arrived in Nepal. Probably the added incentive of some people coming to look at the progress galvanized some action at the school and a working …