Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shiva's Birthday and serious Table Tennis

So yesterday was this holiday that celebrates Shiva's birthday. Like most holidays where you lack the cultural background to understand why people do what they do on those days, the events seemed like an odd mish-mash of happenings. We knew Hindu pilgrims from all over flocked to the temple in Kathmandu, and despite the poor weather I think around half a million people showed up. What I didn't know was that children (and occasionally some adults along side) pull a rope across the rode and make you pay to get by, like a toll road. You don't really have to pay, and most people just give a rupee or too, but I have no idea what the connection is to the holiday. As we were still collecting things for the apartment we ran into several of these little "toll stations" over the coarse of the day. Most of the kids were well mannered and it was almost cute.

Later the teen-aged kids who lived below us showed us that we could watch a concert nearby from our roof. That was kind of cool. Then they pointed out that everyone makes little bonfires to honor Shiva. The people on the roof next door got one going in a chiminea like thing. It was a little soggy today, and it's hard to find wood in this city, so not as many people as normal were into it this year I was told. I think it's a good thing most of the city is brick and concrete!

This picture kind of deserves a post of its own, but it'll have to settle for this. Apparently Nepal takes its table tennis seriously. Pictured above is the sign for the National Table Tennis Training Center.
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