Spot the Greek Kitty!

Because there aren’t enough cute kitten pictures on the internet, and no one has ever before thought of putting together a collection of Greek cat pictures, here is my collection of cute kitty pictures from yesterday evenings walk.  The little rascals were great at camouflage. How many can you spot?





The Smell of Home

spetses harbour

Daily Prompt: From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting. What’s yours?

Tomorrow I board a plane for a much anticipated break to our Greek home.   I know our life there so well.  There are so many memories. I can imagine myself sitting on the wall with my legs dangling down to the street, looking out to sea.  I can hear Greek voices and the occasional putting of a boat engine.  I can hear the straining of motorcycle as struggles up the hill to the street below. It all seems a million miles away from Kathmandu, away from the incessant honking and the frustrating chaos of it all.   It’s so hard to imagine such a radically different place from the one that consumes me now. Like traveling from a cold, harsh climate to the summer sun, its a leap of faith to know that it really is there waiting for us.

Somewhere among all the memories is the island smell, but I can’t place it exactly.  Its a heady mixture of mountain herbs, jasmine blossom,  pine trees, Greek cooking sifting over the wall from the neighbor’s kitchen, and island mystery ingredients.  I can’t place it,  but I know the smell.   Its the smell of home.

Visiting Nepali Schools


A public school just outside of Kathmandu

One of the best things I do here – and sometimes one of the hardest – is visiting schools. I get to see all kinds of age groups, public and private schools, as well as college level students. Education here is not available to everyone, and public education is hugely underfunded and mostly leaves a lot to be desired.  There are some amazing dedicated public school teachers who operate the best they can with very little but often this isn’t the case.  Sometimes it can be very hard to see how little they have. Many schools have virtually nothing in the way of facilities and school libraries are a rarity, which is why we have a mobile library that travels to road-accessible areas all over Nepal to bring books, educational presentations and internet technology to kids that have sometimes never seen them before.


Embassy book bus on a school visit

The upside to the visits is always meeting the kids and seeing/hearing their questions, enthusiasm and curiosity.  They love the books – which many of them don’t get to see very often – and it’s very rewarding to see them absorbed into the world of reading.  I can’t help taking pictures.  Here are a few of my favourites:









A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Traditional




I’m spoiled for choice with this week’s word “Traditional“, as tradition reigns in Nepal. But I think I’ll go for something Filipino to ring the changes… These adorable kids from a local school were doing the traditional hat and stick dance at our Embassy welcome party, and they lit up the room!

For the original story see Community Welcome Party.

Spam and Quips


How often do you stop to see how many fake comments Akismet has removed from your inbox?  I hardly ever think about it, and kudos for Akismet for getting rid of so much junk!  But today for some reason I took a look in the spam box and the hilarious fake comments were outstanding.  I think they deserve their coveted recognition once in a while – so here they are published but without the back link of course!  Sometimes I’m almost tempted to respond back…

Here’s a few of my favourites:

You’re so intelligent. You already know thus significantly on the subject of this matter, made me for my part believe it from so many varied angles.

O gee thanks!  You’re the first person to realize my outstanding intellect.  I’m so flattered…but wait…you don’t really know who I am, do you? 

Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Watch out for Brussels? You mean the impact that my outstanding writing makes on the EU commission? Or perhaps, you intend to avoid the danger of subversive brussel sprouts?

 I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same time as people think about issues that they just don’t realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as neatly as outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

Hitting the nail upon the top is why I’m here.  I truly hope to take the cow by the horns and let the crisps fall where they may. Thanks for noticing.



Railway Relics

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My contribution for this week’s photograph challenge “Relic” is about Janakpur train station, in Southern Nepal, which is very close to the Indian border. Its the main stop of what was the only train line in Nepal and is now, unfortunately, closed. Relics of the carriages still remain, some only mere frames and other still full of broken seats and traces of animal life. Its very spooky…and sad too. Hopefully, they will reopen it some day and connect the line with India, creating a much needed rail transportation system. For now it just sits there.

For more pictures of busier times at the station and other railway relics that remain today see: Janakpur No Blast From the Past.



Mr. Momo

The A Word A Week Photo Challenge this week is “Kitsch” and there’s no end of it here – at least by Western tastes.  Let’s start with Mr Momo, a steamed dumpling with legs! The animated personification of Nepal’s favourite snack!


But why stop there?!  Bhatbhetini Department Store is a treasure trove of perfect gifts for that persons that likes to make a statement.  Classy, tacky, kitsch?  You decide:


Birds of Nepal


Birds are everywhere. Waking up in Kathmandu during our first few weeks, it was a surprise hearing birds in the morning. On the 21st floor of a high rise tower in Manila we never heard them at all. In fact, we rarely saw birds at all in Manila. Kathmandu is packed with crows (that probably deserve a post all of their own)…but they are loud, obnoxious, and omnipresent. Many of Kathmandu’s religious sites are packed with swarms of pooping pigeons so, between Kathmandu’s two biggest bird populations, there aren’t the best examples of bird life. But fortunately they aren’t alone. I’ve seen green parrots in the mango tree, elegant yellow birds digging for worms on our lawn and little black tits flying around our yard.

But the best birds – and there are some amazing ones – are outside of the city. Chitwan was teeming with beautiful peacocks and tropical varieties, and birds of prey are everywhere here.  Here are some pictures from our travels:


The omnipresent crow…there always one looking down on you from somewhere…

black crows

…always. They are just waiting from a moment to fly down and swoop the food from your plate



….and they sneak up on you when you’re not looking. The farmers here had left their lunch unattended. Spot the crow!


In Shivapuri, we marveled at the incredible number of birds of prey in flight all at the same time: hawks, kytes and vultures circled overhead. Just look at them all….




white egret

My favorites though are the egrets, who just arrive and hang out for a while. They aren’t skiddish unlike most birds and loved to pose for pictures


Missing here are some photos of the beautiful, colourful Chitwan birds…so part two needs to follow later…