On the Road Again?


This is probably not what Willie Nelson had in mind.

Despite its name, it does appear to be capable of mobility, yet it never moves. Its always parked on one of the main streets in Kathmandu, amid of all the chaos of micro buses and trucks. Judging from my general experience of Nepali toilets, I can’t even begin to imagine what its like inside. In a city with no such thing as chemical toilets and no drains, quite how it works, I’m not sure.. As for the red and blue buckets…the mind boggles!

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.



The Snackmandu Vending Company

vending machine

The Daily Prompt: The Need Machine.  Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? 

I can’t really think of a vending machine that doesn’t already exist for something I need.  Vending machines haven’t been a part of my life for a very long time. Perhaps I should try to be creative and imagine a machine that could dispatch smiles or good fortune…but the creativity wheels just aren’t turning.

But I can remember a time back in the 1970s when they first installed one at my school, and we loved it!  It was so sophisticated and exciting to put your money in, excitedly choose, press the right series of keys, and watch it deliver some delicious morsel with a satisfying clunk into the bottom drawer.  Why was it so much more fun to feed the machine then to stop in the sweet shop on the way home for exactly the same thing?  But we loved it, anyway!  I can remember buying bags and bags of Disco crisps every week to collect the tokens from the packets.  Six tokens got you top pop hits like the Bay City Rollers on a 45.  All you had to do was post them in with an SAE. (That’s a stamped addressed envelope for the post-internet crowd.)  What you got back was a cheap, flimsy disc that was nothing like the singles we bought every Saturday from Woolworth’s….but it was so exciting to just get something in the post with your name on it.

Flash forward 35 years here in Nepal, and I can say with confidence that there can’t be one single vending machine in the whole country.  They would be a spectacular disaster in so many ways!  Where to even begin?!  Here are just some of the challenges the Snackmandu Vending Company PVT would have to tackle:

  • There are no coins, except tiny, tiny amounts that are fractions of a rupee and completely useless.  You would have to use notes, which are the only real currency here and they are very old, very dirty and extremely crumpled.  They would never be accepted by already overly finicky vending machine slots.
  • Imagine a vending machine in a place where there are constant power cuts.  Cold or hot thermostat settings without electricity would mean a world of warm coke and sweaty sandwiches.  You, the thirsty customer, would hear the heavy thud of disconnected power just as your money leaves your fingers.  The machine would swallow your cash and you–and your expectations– would be left in the dark.  Good luck getting that refund!
  • Vending machines require maintenance.  They need to be filled, cleaned, oiled and serviced.  Not here.  The distribution lines from India sometimes supply… sometimes not… This week we have diet coke.,,,next week…not so much.  The machines would be filled if and when… and maintained even less.  As a temporary measure, someone creative would fix the broken vending machine with a rubber band and a bit of hose, where it would stay permanently until it, too, broke.
  • And last, but by no means least, is the truth that nothing here is ready to be automated and vendors (real human ones) are the life blood of this city.  Vending machines in Kathmandu are the guys that sit on street corners every day.

So perhaps to go back to my earlier thought of a futuristic machine that could sell anything… perhaps that vending machine could dispatch the elusive silver bullets that never seem to exist to solve problems here.  A machine that dispatched problem-solving bullets that could cure poverty, corruption and social injustice…maybe it should be solar-powered, though?!

Pet Peeves

Pet peeves are a ridiculous thing. We know that,  but we continue to nurture and feed them anyway. I don’t have universal pet peeves for everywhere like bad grammar or rude language (well, maybe chewing with your mouth closed)… but mostly mine are country specific!



Nepal: I start with my absolute major peeve at this point in time: spitting.  Do I ever hate it that people spit here!  OMG! Sometimes I’ll be walking down the street, quietly minding my own business and before I can turn my head fast enough, there comes the sound of someone hacking deeply–all the way down from their toes– as they deliver a disgusting, ugly splat of phlegm just inches from my feet.  And as I turn my head to the other side in disgust, yet another person –with horrendously perfect timing–hangs another, equally loud and disgusting.  There is no escape!

Philippines: Manila is full of zebra crossings, or pedestrian crossings if you prefer.  Unfortunately in Manila, I couldn’t help feeling they serve only to spruce up the city a little, make it look more modern.  Decoration, if you will.  They certainly serve no function.   (Kathmandu at least has the good sense not to even bother wasting the paint.)   In Manila, they are like death traps for expats who have the deluded notion that when you step out onto one cars will stop.  I found myself drawn to them out of habit and then felt utterly frustrated when drivers would seem to speed up as I used them to cross the street.

UK: “Sorry!  I’m so sorry to bother you, but this microwave you sold me doesn’t work.  I’m really, really sorry to make a fuss, but would you possibly consider replacing it with a new one?!”  Why do the British feel the need to apologize profusely for everything, even when something is clearly not their fault,  even when they have been more than put out by someone else.  When I go back to the UK and complain about something – people look at me aghast that I haven’t gone through this ritual.  I’m not rude.  But I am direct.  “This microwave doesn’t work.  I’d like it replaced please.”  What’s wrong with that?

US: Last week, on a Nepalese airport transit bus from the terminal to the plane, I sat with a group of about 20 young trekkers from all over the world.  The bus was crowded and uncomfortable,  and as we all sat there tolerating the jolts and jostling, a young American guy told his friends in very loud detail about his adventures the previous day.  Finally someone said, “Speak up a bit, John, the people at the front are complaining they can’t hear you!”  It did actually shut him up for a while, and it made me realize how much he had added to the discomfort of the situation.  Dear loud Americans, cliched or not, please stop.  We don’t want to hear it.

So sorry dear Nepalese, Filipino, British and American friends and readers of my blog.  I do usually try and focus on the positive…really I do.  But just occasionally, I think I deserve a rant as much as the next person.  And I’m sure its not you that spits/drives badly/over apologizes/or arrogantly takes over every conversation.  Its the other guy! ;o)


This post participated in the Daily Prompt:She Drives Me Crazy!

Here are some other pet peeves:

  1. I hate Inspirational Facebook Update Pictures | AS I PLEASE
  2. VIP Saudi Wedding at Ritz Carlton – JBR | Rima Hassan
  3. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy- Pyshology Behind “Being Late” and it’s Consequences | Journeyman
  4. Daily Prompt: She drives me crazy! | Purplesus’ Blog
  5. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  6. The Production of “Hair” At Billy Bronco’s | The Jittery Goat
  7. Daily Prompt: They Drive Me Crazy | Under the Monkey Tree
  8. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  9. I drive me crazy… | new2writing
  10. DP Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | Sabethville
  11. 狂気!(Crazy!) | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
  12. Daily Prompt: what drives me crazy | Love your dog
  13. Control??? / Daily Prompt | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  14. A Courteous Nod to A Fresh Me | Views Splash!
  15. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | littlegirlstory
  16. Wait you mean you came to class unprepared again??? | One Educator’s Life
  17. etiquette | yi-ching lin photography
  18. the second law of | y
  19. The First Date – Part 3 | In Harmony
  20. Stories That Drive Me Crazy | My Little Avalon
  21. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | Pastathree’s Blog
  22. Stop lingering, STOP lingering, please stop lingering!! | The Flavored Word
  23. A dialogue | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  24. Actus reus | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  25. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | Bob’s Blog-O-Rama
  26. Narcissism or Self-Exploration? | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  27. March is driving me crazy: Laguardia, Wrestlemania and Selena on my mind as winter draws to its final end « psychologistmimi
  28. She Drives Me Crazy | The Story of a Guy
  29. “Will the last one in my World please turn everything off” | Prompt Me Please
  30. daily prompt: one of these days, alice! | r | one studio architecture
  31. Déjà Vu All over Again! | My Author-itis
  32. Groove « Averil Dean
  33. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  34. Leonard Woolf ‘speaks’ | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  35. Crazy Monday | Jody Lynne
  36. “She Drives Me Crazy” | Relax
  37. Watch Out for that Tree! | meanderedwanderings
  38. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | imagination
  39. Like nails on a chalkboard. | Hope* the happy hugger
  40. Respect for the music | Life is great
  41. Pet Peeves Continued… | Live, Love, Laugh, Dance, Pray
  42. A few thoughts for improvement | An old fart back in school
  43. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy | My Atheist Blog
  44. ah shaddap you face | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
  45. Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy |Five Annoying Things | Shawn
  46. Don’t be Manipulated | wisskko’s blog
  47. DP: DON’T TOUCH THAT! | Scorched Ice
  48. Some things just drive you a little crazy… | chattinatti


Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside


Po, our Manila cat.  And, ironically, our first “inside” cat…trapped on the 21st floor of a 53 story building.  Just like us, she was forever finding a new home! Here she is inside the apartment, inside the pantry and inside my nested mixing bowls.

This post participated in the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

See other interpretations on the theme:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside « Leya

Weekly Photo Challenge – Floating Inside My Mind | Isadora Art and Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: INSIDE | MAGGIE’S BLOG

Inside Harmony | A Journey Called Life …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | paintedwords

3-14-14 Getting Inside The Weekly Photo Challenge | The Quotidian Hudson

Weekly Photo Challenge : The Inside of Things / Bagian Dalam | bambangpriantono

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | 2812 photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Spacious Interior | puncta lucis

Inside, Outside, Inside | Mary J Melange

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Witrian’s Photofolio

Weekly Photo Challenge – Inside | Different Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Different

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Edge of the Forest

Inside view | marsowords

Weekly Photo Challenge: INSIDE OUT | V A S T L Y C U R I O U S

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | mommyneurotic

Locked – Forever and ever!

weekly photo challenge: inside | Del’s other stuff…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Geophilia Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Memory Catcher

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Ruth E Hendricks Photography

WPC: Inside | dadirridreaming

Weekly Photo Challenge: INSIDE | Captured By Kylie Photography

Hamster babies in a shoebox (Daily Prompt: Inside) | Photo0pal Photography

Inside uShaka | de Wets Wild

inside the light at the end of the tunnel | memoirs of an unremarkable man

Photo Challenge- Inside | eat less sugar you’re sweet enough


Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside (I’m Done With Winter) | Laughing Through Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside a Basin | littlegirlstory

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | WorldwideFriends

Flying inside the lines | See Diving

Weekly Photo Challenge : Inside | An Evolving Scientist

From Inside the Boston Elevated in San Francisco (Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside) | The San Francisco Scene–Seen!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Retired2Travel

Weekly Photo Challenge – Inside – Boil, Boil, Toil and ……..pasta! |

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

Logos Compilation | Crazy Art

Uninvited Dinner Guest | Holoholo Girls

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Shoot ‘N Go

weekly photo challenge: inside | bob’s wife

Inside: Who Does it Better than Cats?

WPC: Inside | blueberriejournal

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside (Ireland under a Rainbow) | What’s (in) the picture?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Travel-Stained

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | tagnoue

From Within | Weekly Photo Challenge | Focal Breeze

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | thereviewparent

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | f-stop fantasy

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Indira’s Blog

Weekly Photography Challenge: Inside « Minute Moments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Life Confusions

Inside | Eye of Lynx

Yak Cheese. Its What’s for Dinner…..

Yak Cheese

Half a kilo of yak cheese please…

Here in Kathmandu, cheese is available but imported cheeses are very expensive and its a bit of a gamble whether your expensive imported cheese has had a good journey from its source to your table.  I can’t bring myself to shell out over seven dollars for a tub of philadelphia cream cheese.

We are lucky to have an excellent farmers market with cheese producers who sell locally made international cheese at more reasonable prices than the supermarket anyway. And they are very good.  However, I don’t always have a Saturday morning free to go to the farmers market to obtain them.

Locally made cheese such as paneer and mozzarella are very reasonably priced and readily available and we have had success buying those.  Also on our purchasing list is yak cheese, and I hesitated a little at first, but it has turned out to have a small but relevant role in our fridge.  Here’s an introduction:


Half a Kilo for about 520 rupees. Thats approximately $4.50/pound.

Yaks Cheese

Whats the texture like? Quite firm, but no hard. A little waxy but not rubbery. Interestingly enough, it has a very mild flavour. Not at all what I expected.

Grated Yaks Cheese

It grates pretty nicely too…

Grated Yaks Cheese on Homemade Soup

Grated on a little homemade minestrone. Which I sort of regretted actually, it melts with a bit too much stringy-ness. Might be better in a different kind of dish

The verdict? Yaks Cheese is ok. I don’t love it, nor do I hate it. The flavour is pretty bland and it melts with a stringy-ness that reminds me of mozzarella, but without the creaminess. I wouldn’t eat it on crackers because by itself it’s not worth the calories. But in a recipe that uses cheese to bind things together and relies on other flavours to make in shine…its just fine. There you go…Yak’s Cheese…not at all what you expected!

Sign Language: …..and we’re back!

wang wang Came back to Manila today to discover it is a “No Wang Wang” zone. I would be very upset about this if I knew what it was! Later, Google told me it literally means “no sirens”, or more specifically here “no special treatment for self-important people who think they don’t need to line up”. As if….

So… as I stood in line waiting… I glanced over at an interesting sign. If you got very bored standing there, you could always go over to the clean area and avail of their body frisking services which appear to be on offer.  Sounds too good to be missed:

Sign Language: This is not funny!

bomb jokes
A quick post on the way out of Manila (Jakarta bound)….. I love this. What happened I wonder? Did bomb jokes at the airport become a national obsession with everyone and their granny announcing they had a bomb in their bag? Or did some clown take his gag too far one day? We’ll never know….but I won’t be “cracking such jokes” any time soon!

Sign Language: Bawal Umihi Dito

“Its forbidden to pee here”
bawal bawal2

The everywhere sign. Plastered on every conceivable vertical surface all over the city.

I choose to translate it as “Don’t stand around here. People use this spot as a toilet so frequently, they put up a sign!  Not that the sign makes any difference:


There are signs that forbid everywhere.

Bawal Tumawid Dito. Its forbidden to cross the road here:


Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito. Its forbidden to dump garbage here:


Are you spotting a trend?