Having felt overwhelmed by everything, I sought to find a peaceful place where I could sit down and reflect on where I was. So, I asked two of my friends to come with me and "get lost" in the side streets. We ended up wandering through a residential neighbourhood that led to the source of our noses' discomfort, the garbage soup river, but getting there was a journey of its own.
As we walked down the streets it was fascinating to watch how people changed the further removed we were from the tourist hub. Children, especially, were more willing to approach us and practice their English by screaming out "hello" and asking us our names rahter than asking for money. There was one little boy whom I will never forget. We climbed up to the roof of a deserted house in hopes of getting a better view. At the top I heard a faint voice yelling out to me. When I glimpsed over the edge, a boy was holding up his baby chicken and proudly proclaiming, "look, it's a cock!" I laughed so hard when he tried to make conversation by telling us about his "baby man" which was his translation for little brother.
Later in the evening I went out to try street food. My face lit up like a stop light as the spices cleared my sinuses and burnt the inside of my mouth. I could feel the hot burning pepper saturated crepe as it slowly made its way into my stomach. Within minutes both my full 1 litre water bottles had been spared of their last drop. In search of more water and a place to ease my stomach pain, my friend and I wandered into a school yard. Every school in Nepal offers drinking water.
Once recuperated, we asked a group of boys if it would be possible to join in their game of football (soccer). We were kindly told to wait as they discussed it between themselves and then they asked us to sit on the bench for a few minutes as they finish up their tournament.
I excitedly ran over to the sidelines and sat down next to Adri feeling the anticipation build inside me. As time seems irrelevant, their tournament didn't finish for another half-hour. In that time, Adri and I talked about everything under the sun. He told me that he was second-boy in his class and how he wants to go to university after +2 (Grade 12 in Nepal) but doesn't know what to study yet. He also told me that he was a table-tennis master and that led to a quick intense game between the two of us. In the end I kindly accepted defeat as he bragged about his skills.
My second chance to be victorious in our rivalry came with the start of a new game of soccer. Adri took leadership of everyone and separated us into two teams. The game started with a bang. Our team scored a goal in the first two minutes. The excitement was unbearable as each team member ran around clapping and giving high-fives with their hands high in the air. My face reflected that of everyone else; a bright wide smile stretched from ear-to-ear.
The next goal was an assist off a corner. A short while later I was tripped up by Adri's friend and they gave me a free kick that smoothly crossed over the goalkeepers head. It was a glorious game which everyone, even the other team that lost by seven points, enjoyed. By 1900 hours we said our goodbyes and my friends and I walked back to the Tibet Guest House with a group of the boys who we played football with. Each of them asked us for our Facebook and email and then finally we parted ways having to put behind us one of the most memorable moments of our trip.
I am so glad that I had the courage and want to remove myself from the tourist filled streets of Kathmandu and create friendships that I will not soon forget.
|The busy streets near the Tibet Guest House.|
|Spicy crepes being made by a street vendor.|
|Adri putting up some good competition.|
|A few of the boys in Grade 8 who were on the same team as me. |
The boy on the right has a wicked kick.