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Saturday, June 23, 2007

How many rupees, Madam?

Reba here. We've arrived in Pokhara, napped and had lunch. This place is slower paced, cleaner, and not as crowed as Kathmandu. As we walked to lunch, (this place has sidewalks!) a cow strolled lazily down the center of the street as cars, motorcycles and bicycles drove around it. It's more of a small-town feel. Tom and I have both commented that we could live here. We will check on real estate tomorrow.... There is a beautiful lake here, which we will go out on in either canoes or paddle boats.
Yesterday we went to Bhaktapur, a very, very old place. I mean older-than-anything-I-could-ever-imagine kind of old. People were living and working in buildings of crumbling brick, with every window covered with elaborately carved wood. The streets were sometimes brick, sometimes concrete, sometimes dirt, but NEVER easy to walk on because of huge holes, crumbled rock, trash, dog poop or worse. We were shopping for wood carvings on an alley about 7 feet wide and looked up to see a rooster's back end hanging out of a window above our heads. Needless to say, we stepped a little to the side. Which reminds me of shopping in Kathmandu the day before where we were standing in the doorway of a shop when we heard this plopping sound. Jason and I turned around to see a broken egg on the street just a few feet away. A surprised response from Jason about the delivery of that egg caused me uncontrolled laughter for more than a few minutes. It's just so crazy here.
Back to Bhaktapur....several kids adopted us while walking around, a couple begging for rupees but most seemed interested in baby Joey, who just arrived with his parents Deborah and Eric from West Virginia. Joey took particular interest in one young girl, Sumitar, who was 13 years old. He would put out his arms and go to her. It was so sweet. Of course I broke after awhile and gave them 10 rupees to go off and share, which is about 15 cents.
On man aproached me with a singing bowl, which was small but very pretty. He was asking 1200 Rs. Jenna looked at it for me, listened to it and told me to offer him 500. Of course his reaction was, "Sorry Madam, this is very nice bowl, VERY nice." How about 1100 rupees?" "Nay", I responded. I've learned by watching Jane and Jenna that you CAN bargain nicely by saying "That's OK, I keep looking, no problem", only to have him follow me down the street saying, "Then how much you pay? You tell me best price"
"500 rupees IS my best price".
"No, no, no"
"That's ok, sir. I keep looking, that's ok. Thank you, sir"
All this transpires as we are walking down the street. At some point a woman selling silk purses holds them up to me saying, "You look, madam. One dollar, one dollar".
So now I have two people following me down the street, talking to me as I try hard to look at other things and talk to people in my group.
"One thousand rupees, Madam. Best price for bowl"
"Nay, 500"
"Ok, ok. 900 rupees, madam. Best price"
I pull out a 500 Rs bill ($7.80) and say, "This is all I pay" as I keep walking.
"Ok, ok. LAST price, best price. 700 rupees, madam. 650 rupees madam. Little bit more than 500 Rs.'
"I'm sorry, next time. Thank you sir, but nay" (I'm still walking)
"OK, OK 500 rupees!"
I got the bowl, then felt really guilty about it. There is a desperation that is hard to ignore when you remember how well we've got it back home.
Jason, Diane and I found some shade and were immediately joined by several children. They ask where we are from, if it is our first time in Nepal, and if we like Nepal.
"We love Nepal", we tell them. I pull out Mary and Ella's picture and they take it and crowd around, looking at it. They ask me their names and how old they are. They tell me their names and how old they are, then I think to pull out my small notebook and have them write their names and ages for me. Milan is 12, Sumitar is 13, Suraj is 9 and Runi is 8. There were a few who either could not write or didn't want to. I took their picture so you can see them. I can't wait to show you how beautiful the kids are here.
We love reading the comments, thanks to all who are posting. Everybody here is great and new experiences happen about every 15 seconds. It's hard to absorb and process it all, but I am so happy I am here. I want every one of you to be here with us!
Love to everyone,
Reba

7 comments:

Joe and Carol said...

Hello to the seven sojourners...we can't tell you how exciting it is to read your impressions...your adventures in Nepal sound incredible. You all worked so diligently to plan this trip that would bring gifts to us all. Thanks for the gift of your writing...for we know how hard it is to tear yourself from the streets of an amazing journey to use the Internet!

Reba...we are in Texas...but thinking about Carl, Mary and Ella! As soon as we get back we will check for any "replacements!" We warned Carl about the surveillance team but he can be a tad stubborn... don't you worry though...we got it covered!

Love to all of you! Thanks again for sharing the rich experiences.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mama R! What is a singing bowl? Love,Gretchen

Garland said...

Reba, sounds like this past week has been like your luggage, PACKED!!! I've now spent close to two hours reading blogs and posting my comments this morning, very appreciative of every one of them and wondering just how long it would take for each of you to tell the complete story of this trek. So much of this will be only yours, for there's just no way to express it. But we'll appreciate any attempt you make to share your story. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Reba,
Well here we are on the 9th day of you journey. Earl is faithfully giving us everyones blogs.
We miss you but want you to get the most out of this trip. Carl is bringing the girls here tomorrow.
Reba, it is OK for you to cry 'cause there is a whole lot of crying on this end also. We love you..be safe.
Jane, you remember what you told me I hope.
Love you,
Mom and Dad
PS: Reba, you come home safe to us and take care of that rock. Looking forward to getting one from there.
Love Dad

Anonymous said...

Great job on the singing bowl!!! I can't wait to hear/see it.

By the way...where in the world are ya'll carrying all this stuff?? Do ya need Guido to come help?

I read with fascination and try to imagine being there with you. Your descriptions all but have me there.

I can't wait to see you again and hear more. Soak it all in. Come back home and teach us all how we can live with less...

Keep writing. I'm lovin' it!

Luv u,

JudyO

Anonymous said...

Reba dear, it warms to heart to know that you are learning such tough bargaining skills. Remind me to thank Jenna when she returns for her excellent coaching. And though you didn't say it, I fully expect to hear later that the real end of that deal was you givng the man another 500 rupees!
We all feel incredibly fortunate to get to share in these moments, keep 'em coming.
~C
PS Mary and Ella blew you kisses tonight...

Nellie said...

Great work.