At the fourth goat, it will be 12.45 am precisely…


Well, here I am again then. On line intermittently for the next week or so…Not sure how the blog is going to work yet, but I’ll probably be updating with extracts from the diary that I’m writing, as and when I can…

30th March: Kathmandu.

So…here I sit in bed at approximately 12.45 am in the morning listening to the sounds of nocturnal Kathmandu, and reflecting on my first few hours in Nepal- an experience which has been absolutely unforgettable.

Power is currently ‘on’ in the city. There are daily power ‘outs’ in Kathmandu of several hours at a time and i have already learned that there is a tendency for the power to be on  during the night hours, which in turn means there are less people awake to use it. Unless of course you are a jet-lagged traveller with “a head full of ideas that are driving me insane”. (Yep, its a Bob Dylan line:- couldn’t resist it!!)

View from my room in the Pacific Guest House after the "goats in the night incident"; John callaway (March 2010)

View from my room at the Pacific Guest House. Morning after the “goats in the night incident”. Photograph. John Callaway (2010)

Near to the Pacific Guest House, which is pretty much in the centre of Kathmandu, and where the current group of VSO volunteers are staying, there are goats announcing themselves at regular intervals like a farmyard version of “Big Ben”. Dog barks, and chicken clucks provide a subtle and understated rhythm accompaniment, whilst the distant strains of a late night radio station provide a soothing counterpoint!!

But I digress…

Earlier in the afternoon four volunteers (including me) are picked up from the airport and taken across Kathmandu to our guest house. There are seemingly no particular rules to driving etiquette here beyond the need to sound your horn and make for the nearest gap in the traffic. (Gap is perhaps something of an exaggeration at times!) And yet effortlessly, out of this chaos, the traffic appears to flow…a sign perhaps of the “attitude” of drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists. I can just imagine the standard response by drivers back in the UK to some/all of the driving here in Kathmandu.

Right turns at major junctions prove to be the highlight of the journey, particularly at busier junctions where there is a traffic officer on point duty. (Nepalis drive on the left too). The minivan is “launched” skilfully by our driver into the oncoming traffic, in which a gap miraculously appears, and we pass within milimeters of a traffic officer standing resplendent in face mask, (the air pollution here is pretty awful), with a phone/walkie-talkie, seemingly conducting the traffic in accordance with some deep, yet unheard rhythm…

Welcome to Nepal…

…to be continued….

7 responses to “At the fourth goat, it will be 12.45 am precisely…

  • Klownwolf

    .. i love Goats, of course that’s easy for me to say. This is really interesting, and i suppose as time goes on that might be easier for me to say also. Actually i’m sure this will be a very meaningful part of your life, and thanks for sharing it.
    Take care and do well. ~ Klownwolf

  • carol

    I hope I have now subscribed to your blog thing.
    Sounds very exciting and am loving hearing about your escapades so far. Driving sounds fun.
    Keep on blogging am looking forward to next instalment.
    Maybe you would be interested in a parrallel blog of life in the UK?
    It could be filled with things such as weather and just how low morale is in the NHS?
    Or perhaps not.
    More goats please.

  • Lesley Callaway

    I found it eventually. It will get easier. Look forward to skyping another day. Don’t stare too much at the goats!!!!!

  • Jos Kew

    Found your blog! 🙂

    Lovely to talk to you this evening, take care.

  • 50GreenDodge

    I’m a refugee from ROIO. Like many other people who have not been there, I’m intrigued by the IDEA of Kathmandu – mysterious gateway to the East and all that.

    I hope I’m doing the right things to subscribe. Have a wonderful journey.

  • johnnyc1959

    Hi Green Dodge

    Glad to have you along for the ride. Hope I can do this incredible country justice. Still checking in to ROIO from time to time as I need to ensure that my mojo keeps working!!

    All the best


  • johnnyc1959

    Reblogged this on Ideas & images from Portsmouth and beyond and commented:

    Some four and a half years ago I arrived in Nepal for what proved to be a life changing experience….

    It’s taken longer than I intended, and the visit is shorter than I’d hoped it might be, but in just over a week I’ll be back in South Asia…

    Keep watching for goat related updates…

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