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.
So once back in the US our luggage actually arrived, which is always a roll of the dice, and Kim's dad picked us up. After a short stop at Fudrucker's for a burger I essentially dozed off in the back seat until we arrived in Portland. Now the first thing that struck me when I got back here is the lack of people. Population density is just not that high, everything is so spaced out. I mean sure that's what I've been around most of my life, but I never really noticed it like I did after coming back. The scale to which things are built here is not one of the individual person, but of a person in a car, and thus everything seems big with tons of space. Our brake-down lanes are wider than many of the roads I've been walking down, and there are very few people to be seen walking about.
It's also quiet. No morning bells to wake the household Gods, no mass of children running around in the street making noise, the neighbor's house is not only an arm length from my window, and no one honks their horn every ten seconds that they're driving. It's clean, orderly, and silent....and although that sounds good I guess, it also seems a little lifeless and over structured. Now this isn't to say that I'm not thrilled to be back here, because I am, but there is a certain vibrancy to life in Asia that is lacking in the way things are done here. The portions of food that you are served are about twice the size of what you get in Nepal, which I'm quite happy for, and the quality is much better as well. In fact I have managed to stuff my face at just about every opportunity I've had so far, knocking burgers, buffalo chicken pizza, lobster rolls, fresh shrimp, and real ice cream all off the list of food I was looking to get my hands on.
Jet lag hit me just slightly, but last night I was able to make it to about 10pm, and got a full nights sleep in, slaying the lag monster and setting me up for a normal sleep cycle the rest of the time that I'm here hopefully. Today my dad is putting together a get-together for the family so that we can see everyone in one place. Looking forward to it, and it's nice to be back in the ol US of A.