Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friends, Family and Stuffing My Face Up & Down the East Coast

One of the things that I do miss while being in Nepal is of course my friends and family that live back here in the States. One of the reasons my posts during this trip have been so sparse is that I've been running around trying to see all of them, all the while trying to pick up some stuff for the restaurant as well. On the first weekend I was back on this side of the planet my dad had a good sized get together for that side of the family, and it was great to see everyone. That was followed up by a cook out with a bunch of my close friends and their families at my friend Bob's house the next weekend. This was followed by another cook out the next weekend at my mother's house for that side of the family, and again it was a lot of fun catching up with everyone and stuffing my face with even more grilled food.

My Dad Grilling Steak Tips and Chicken

Friday, August 12, 2011

Readjusting to the Old Normal

I've spent almost the last two years converting rupees to dollars every time I made a purchase, so I found it odd when I was at the supermarket today and I found myself converting dollars to rupees. I was doing this while staring somewhat slack jawed at the price of produce in the US, 2.99/lb for tomatoes, 3.20 for a bunch of Basil, 3.99/lb for red peppers. To think that you pay less than a fraction of that for things per Kg in Nepal made me realize joust how inexpensive produce is there. Then I had to wrap my head around the size of the produce here; garlic and tomatoes larger than my fist, red onion triple the size of any thing in Ktm, and a selection that dwarfs even the best stocked stores in city. While the produce seemed extremely expensive, the cheeses and meats were either cheaper or about the same. Still I ended up spending what would be roughly 4,000 Rs for a single meal for 4 people, much higher than if I had made this meal in Nepal, even after you consider the cost of imported cheese.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back in the USA

So it's been a few very crazy days. As my flight approached in Nepal, I still didn't have my business visa, which for all intents and purpose I kind of need to get back into the country. I spent the last few days running back and forth to government offices, and banks to try and make sure this would get done. As they say though, the best laid plans of mice and men... Now offices in Nepal open around 10am, and essentially close by 3pm. Some private offices may stay open until 5pm, but nothing new really can get started after 3pm. How anything gets done, I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, to make a long story short; on the day I was flying out I found myself called to the immigration office at 5pm, and after almost two hours I left without a visa. As my flight was leaving I had to rush to pick up Kim and get to the airport.

So no visa, despite having everything completed and ready to go,despite having the company fully registered and even the required letter from the department of industry. What a pain in the ass. Well on the other side of things we got to the airport and were upgraded to business class, which was a nice treat at the end of a rather crazy day, adn a nice start to 30+ hours of plane travel. Our first leg was to Abu Dhabi, and after a short layover there it was on to Paris, both flights with Etihad airlines. Friendly service, decent food, and the airport in Abu Dhabi was nice as well. Charles DeGaul airport on the other hand is a confusing mess of an airport whose layout doesn't make a bit of sense. That said, we had no issues in Paris and then flew Delta back to Boston. Now normally I think American companies excel at service, but our airlines are a grade or two behind most foreign competition. While the flight was fine, and no one was unfriendly, it just lacked in quality compared to any other airline I've flown in the last year and a half.
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