Melissa Griffin- Is this real life?

I’m not sure I thought this day would ever come. Yesterday when we were traveling through the busy, hectic streets of Kathmandu I asked, “Is this real life?” It turned in to a joke and an imitation of the famous David After Dentist youtube video, but seriously, Is this real life? I’m not sure words can even describe this experience I have had the past couple days, but they are going to have to because I left my camera in my car which dropped me off at JFK.
Delhi, India was very surreal. The heat was hardly comparable to the hottest day in August in CT. Of course that could be the 8 pound backpack on my back and the 20 pound suitcase, plus my warm Helly Hansen hiking shoes. I did not expect there to be signs for almost everything in English. I quickly realized how privileged us Americans are to not be forced to learn another language and still being able to comfortably travel in developing nations. They teach English in India and Nepal, and most other places in the world I think..
The life in Delhi never stops. The hotel was off what I would consider a highway where the lights are bright and the billboards are big. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s your typical city. I woke up at 2 and 4 in the morning and the traffic was still booming. People beep like crazy. But it doesn’t mean “F U” like in America, it just means “Move I’m coming,” in a polite manner. It’s a squeaky beep. Like the bell on my first bike.
Then there is Kathmandu, Nepal’s metropolitan city. A city quite unlike Delhi. Last night I was standing on the roof of our hotel at 9pm. The only sounds I heard were a few dogs barking. That’s it! No beeping, no people, no music. And that’s not a typo. I said 9pm, in Nepal’s only metropolitan city. So I figured I’d have to come up here early in the morning to if the ruckus is created then. At 5am the dogs weren’t even barking anymore. The only noise was the birds, and my peaceful thoughts. The view from this rooftop is almost unexplainable. There are homes directly adjacent to the hotel. In the backyards of the homes women are cleaning laundry in water basins, a puppy is leashed up and barking rather quietly at a baby while her toddler brother instigates the puppy’s barking. In the next yard there is a 3 tiered garden where a man and a woman are working. The homes are all multiple levels with each rooftop being fully accessible. If I lived in a city I would have to have rooftop access. In the distance is the mountain, well what I though was THE MOUNTAIN. You know, those Himalayas…They seem so elevated, yet I learned they was not they. It was actually just the hills. I was not even looking at the Himalayas, I was looking at their baby. What’s really neat is at night you can see electricity almost all the way up the hills. The electricity has not shut off at all because there has been enough rain to keep the electricity going. However, it is not very bright in this quiet metropolitan city. The night sky is not lit up like New York or Delhi. Flying over this city one would not suggest it even is a city.
The weather has been nice. It is hot today but comfortably hot. It’s not humid like in India. Our hotel has good ventilation, and so does our van. I woke at 5am to a small thunderstorm and light rain which shows no existence now at 2pm.

I could write a book on my first few days..but my internet time is limited.

Namaste,

Melissa

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