So let me tell you how I ended up having dinner in the Bhaktapur police headquarters on my birthday.
1. If they eat it, so can I (as long as it is hot);
2. Never look at the kitchen before eating; and
3. Never ask what it is before sampling.
These three rules were put to the test (and I can say that after a bout of Moctazuma’s revenge (alas his ghostly hand stretches far!) the day before, (the magic pills not withstanding, this morning as I write the state of the union is strong!). At any rate, plates of roast mutton (I hope as the specter of the dear departed goat still hang heavy) and chicken – both spicey and delectable were served. The two gentlemen mixed a rather strange chartreuse colored liquid (a fermented rice concoction with cardamom) with Coca-Cola and proceeded to regale each other with stories and jokes, that occasionally they would translate for me. It was great fun, and absolutely hilarious. We also ordered yogurt (Bhaktapur yogurt is famous, and well worth the fame) which I believe is the cause for my sudden return to the land of the living. Numerous libations were ingested, and much carrying on from other tables, and in the street, with the neighborhood Hindu fathers singing and chanting and drumming their hymns in the temple beside the restaurant. After awhile Roshen received a call that our dinner was ready (at the police station). So we walked his friend back, through darkened streets. I like how the absence of street lights affords a much better view of the stars and mountains especially during a full moon. After saying our goodbyes, off through town until we found a taxi to take us to the headquarters. Where by we startled the troops a bit until they saw who we were, and their faces changed and we were greeted wholeheartedly.
Now the police station is a nefarious affair – stuck like most buildings into another, much, much taller than it is wide. And so were ushered into the building, and sent to the top floor, where Prof R’s brother was sitting on a bed with a marvelous carved wood table (they offered to sell me, but after my experience with customs and the like in importing furniture from Brasil I am off that for now). In front and a sofa we sat (Nepali grammar), and they talked, the brother answering the walkie-talkie all the while. Soon food was served, excellent - though I had no room – and suddenly my bag and the birthday gift the students gave me at lunch arrived with minor ceremony. Some more discussion took place on the walkie-talkie and the brother disappearing, we were left to find our way down the stairs (two flights we lighted with our cell phones – it being bad form to fall down the stairs in any Police Station in any country I presume.
I was back in my hotel by 11pm (an ungodly late hour in a country where everything seems to close by 9pm it seems). I watched the horrors on CNN (terrorist problems in England and Scotland) – breaking my 5 week fast of English TV for a bit… fell asleep to be woken by a marvelous full moon shining across the roof tops (my room was on the upper floor providing a splendid view of the city, and hills beyond). Woke up, and had apple pancakes and yogurt while typing this as I wait for Prof R to come to go back to the grit and noise of Kathmandu.
I am looking forward to meeting with the Ethnomath lads this evening and seeing how far our models and work have progressed, this being the second to last class and all.
So that is how I have suitably celebrated my 52nd birthday including a splendid dinner I the Bhaktapur Regional Police Headquarters!