Back in Dharan for weekend classes. As always, we spent the weekend bored in class and talking til late at night with people from the other villages. Some people took a bus north to Dankuta to go hiking and to enjoy the coolness in the hills. You don't have to go far north (and upwards) to cool down. I stayed in Dharan and ate a lot. I'm waiting until it is much cooler and I am in the mountains with a Sherpa to go trekking.
Group dynamics have changed a lot. People are doing things in smaller and smaller groups on the weekends -- partly because we are becoming more comfortable and partly because we are anticipating being alone at our posts for the next few years.
Looking out the window of the e-mail/internet shop (which is a 10 x 10 one-room building greatly distinguished because it actually has a window), I see rickshaws passing pretty frequently (3 per minute). These are 2-person seats strapped to the back of a bicycle or, sometimes, a motorcycle. Men walk by -- all wearing pants and T-shirts (many have Titanic T-shirts which irritates me). Women walk by wearing elaborate saris and long dresses. There is a hole-in-the-wall shoe store across the street -- there are about 100 of these throughout Dharan. I don't know how they all stay in business. There are also mango stands, cassette shops, barber shops, tailors, etc. All tiny rooms facing the main street. A cow and goat just walked up.
This road is paved -- it being one of the major roads in the fifth largest Nepali city. The main north/south road is also paved, and buses go up and down it constantly. All the other roads are not paved, branching out toward schools, rock quarries and the omnipresent fields and farms.
Shantinagar is nowhere near this urban. It is basically a large farm collective of about a dozen related families (almost all have the name Dangal, or include wives who were born Dangal).
I don't know how to describe anything properly -- obviously.
The other volunteers that I spend my time with and I still enjoy each other's company a lot. I'm sure the first few months at post will be dominated by plans to travel and visit each other.
Send my sunglasses.
Don't send Hi-C. It is great, but I can get Tang here pretty easily.
I may not be able to send them for a week, but I am starting to develop my pictures. Some of them are, I think, very nice and very revealing of the environment I live in.
Keep sending newspaper articles, photos, magazines, etc. All the other volunteers love everything you send and are very jealous.
Everything is great.
I'm healthy and doing fine. Love, Mark
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