Monday, February 21, 2011

Simply the Best!

In 1977 I went to England for a "semester abroad" to Newbold College, our Seventh-day Adventist college in Binfield, a little village outside of Bracknell, in Berkshire.  It was an amazingly lovely experience.  I lived in this beautiful old manor house which is the girls' dormitory.

In preparation for my trip, my parents bought this for me.

I needed it for my hair dryer, my cassette player so I could listen to my Barry Manilow and John Denver tapes (it WAS 1977 after all :)  -- actually I prepared to go in '76 and went in Jan. '77), and most importantly so I could clean my contacts!  Yes, back in those days you had to clean your contacts with this little machine (try as I might I couldn't find a picture of one) that steamed them.  (How happy we all were when they invented cleaning solution!  And on another note, how happy I was when lasik eye surgery was invented--but that's another story!)  Anyway, that little transformer was the little transformer that could!  I used it for many years for many trips and travels.

When I "retired" from overseas travel and stayed in my own country for awhile (lots to see there too!) I put it away.  SOMEHOW I found it (it wasn't lost!) when I first traveled to South America with Ramon a few years ago.  Since it was so old and hadn't been used in such a long time, we really didn't know if it would work.  I still had the instructions.

Notice the inside.

"Well," I said to Ramon, "apparently I own the world's finest precision made foreign voltage converter!"  :)  "We'll see,"  he said.  "If it still works, great!  If it doesn't, we'll just buy a new one."

When we got to Paraguay, we (my mother-in-law too) watched with keen anticipation as we plugged in my curling iron.  Would it work?  YES!  It was still working perfectly after all these years!!!

Now, 35 years old, it's still working like it was brand new!  They were right!  It IS the world's finest precision made foreign voltage converter!  :)  You will never convince me otherwise!  Since we arrived here in Nepal, I've used it every single day for my hot rollers.  Since the winter started, I've used it many times a day to heat my electric water bottle (couldn't find a heating pad, but love my electric water bottle)!
I had two of these (one started leaking and had to be thrown away) and heated them up one after the other all day long!

I'm starting to wonder:  How long will it keep working like it is still brand new???  Do you think they still make them this hardy?  Can I be in a TV commercial?  :)

Anyway, whatever my parents paid for it, we certainly got their money's worth, wouldn't you say?!?!?

Well, have a nice day and I hope you have something that's "simply the best" too!      

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kathmandu Valentine

This year we actually celebrated our Valentine's Day a week early at this hotel

which is named the Yak and Yeti.  We highly recommend it!  We knew Ramon was not going to be able to take any time off this week (a team is here now from Colorado doing many surgeries and I will post about that soon) and we had both been very busy, so we planned a stay in Kathmandu surrounding our day off. 

Here is the reception desk.

When we got to our room, we found a nice fruit dish and some cookies!

"Who sent you a message?"  "Why, it's the front desk--welcoming us!"

In the morning when we looked out of our window, this is what we saw to the left,

straight ahead,

(here's a closer look at the flag)

and to the right.

We had fun relaxing and wandering around.  There was live music. 

Yes, that's a dessert bar in the background.  It was right next to the "regular" bar.  No, we didn't try anything, but it was pretty.

Here is a view of the bar from the outside looking in.  Enlarge the picture if you can't see what is written on the sign by the rock!

Nearby was this cute payphone.

Also nearby was the business center, which had this near its door.
If you enlarge this to see the prices, you'll see why we didn't sign up for a trip!  Maybe another time!  :)

Down near the lobby was the entrance to what I like to refer to as "our" restaurant, since we liked it so much that we ate every meal there!

This buffet bar, which was set up beautifully for each meal and was a real treat.  We even had guests for breakfast Wednesday when our new Nepali field director and his wife joined us.

We took a walk and found this poster about Bryan Adams' upcoming concert
(We read in the newspaper that he had to be convinced to swing by while on this side of the world!
I'm convinced he will want to come back to Nepal to visit on his own!)

and many little shops

that sell the same things you see in the hotel's shops, but of course, for a better price!  The hotel's shops were quite beautiful I must admit though!

The buildings weren't too shabby either!

They have conference rooms, banquet rooms and a ballroom too!

We strolled around the area we had seen from our room, which was one of those with a balcony.

The pool looked inviting, but it was a "little" too cold to swim!

A pleasant place to stroll...

...with your Valentine!

We're thankful to the Lord for the chance to relax for just a short while in the middle of a very busy work schedule!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Himalayan Hiking

Recently, on the holiday of Shahid Diwas, which has something to do with remembering martyrs (haven't found out the details yet), we were finally able to do some hiking here in the Himalayas!  Now, we didn't actually hike here
in the actual snow covered peaks!  :)  However, we do like walking around our area which I guess they call the foothills, but which I (from N.E. Ohio) call the "footmountains!"  Until this recent holiday, Ramon had not had time to take a "real" hike, so we were glad for the opportunity to climb this little mountain, which is about 700 feet higher than our town.
The top there that you see is about 5450 feet, and we are at about 4750.  Anyway, we just walked right across those fields and hiked straight to the top!  If you click open the picture and enlarge it, you can see some of the trails if you look closely!  First we had to go around the hospital's fence you see there, which meant we had to go through a small part of town where we ran into some of the kids from school and church.  They are really sweet kids and were so happy to see us!  It was nice to see them running down to hug me!  (I sometimes feel like a celebrity!)  They're saying goodbye in this picture.

Then we saw "someone" who apparently tries to run away!

Not everyone had the day off.

We got to the fields

and looked back at the hospital and school.

We met this fellow who was so happy to speak both English and Spanish with us!  He told us he had lived in New York City for a number of years--where he learned both languages!
After a little more hiking, the hospital, school, and fields looked like this:

We came across some beautiful aloe vera plants.  Ramon is with Sergio, a visiting volunteer doctor, who went with us.

Here is the field beside the plants.

Yes, there were some people working there.  The girl at the top left was washing clothes at an outdoor faucet.

Apparently they live over here, just to the right of the field.  You can see this house in the first picture if you look closely.

What views they have! 
I'm not sure if they have to walk like the folks you see there and carry everything they want/need up to the house or if there's a road on the other side.

We continued up the hill,

sometimes through some thick spots.

Stumbled across this water pipe way up there.  Looks like it was deliberately cut.  Wonder what the story is there!

Finally we got to the first "Look Out" where we saw this lovely view.  It was a little hazy, but as you can see, we could see for MILES!  That is the hospital in the "front" and our city of Banepa to the left.

This monument is up there.  I need to find out what it's all about and let you know.

Ramon and I are smiling because we made it without any difficulty!  

I'm also smiling because I still didn't know yet that I STILL had a 30 minute hike ahead of me to get to the top where there was a tower!  We did pretty well for a couple of "oldies!"  After awhile, we finally saw it!

The last part of the trail looked just like "Little Round Top" at Gettysburg National Park!

When we got close to the tower, finally making it to the top of the mountain (Yeah!), we saw another monument of some kind.

Here's a closer look.
The carvings were on all four sides.

In the tower we found this friendly group of Nepali youth.
They wanted to know where we were from and what we thought of their country.  They were happy to know that we really love their country!
Because it was hazy, we didn't get the views that you get when it's clear, but we still could see for miles again and it was beautiful! 

I couldn't tell at the time, but now that I'm looking at the pictures, I do believe that mixed in with the clouds you can barely, just barely, see some of the snow caps of the Himalayas!!!

We took this road back to Banepa, going around the other way.

These holes were in the ground all the way back down for a ways.  We suppose it is for poles to pull something up the hill.

Found these boys on the side of the mountain.  They didn't have school because of the holiday, but as you can see they were working.  Sergio gave them some dried apricots which is all we had.

I walked on ahead of Ramon and Sergio and took this shot of them coming down the road.

The road became a little difficult!  Sergio said he has seen motorcycles on this road!
Do you see the road in the background?

Let's take a closer look. 
Yes, there is traffic going one way.  Bear in mind that it's not a one way road!  I don't know what happens when someone comes the other way!  (No, I haven't driven here yet and I don't plan on doing so soon!)

Soon we came to a village. 
The lady you can barely see there by the houses is playing with a baby and waiting for her water buckets to fill:

The road is a little better now, but not much!  That's the driver looking out the window.  Remember they drive on the left here so the driver sits on the right.

Just around the corner we found this handsome little fellow who, like boys everywhere, can't wait to get his license!

I'm sure this young man doesn't have a license yet, but he sure knew how to drive!

He had just come from this section of road:

Next to come by was this bus.  These boys are not hanging out of the door for fun.  There really is not room inside! 

By the way, there was a fairly nice high school in this village.

Goodbye Village!  See you soon (I hope!)!

This is our lovely walk back home--nice, eh?

Hope to be able to hike with some of you reading this if you ever get a chance to come here to visit or volunteer!  You'll love it!  We thank the Lord for the chance we have to work here and also for the chance to get to do a little Himalayan Hiking when time allows!