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.
Something else that has taken a bit to adjust to are the sheer size of the portions of food here. Now in Nepal I often do complain that the portions are just tiny, and I really do think they are too small. That said the [portions here are just huge. i have walked away from more than one meal in physical pain because I refused not to leave anything on my plate, and I really had missed whatever it was I was eating. The result has been that I have probably gained about 5 pounds since arriving and I have felt almost constantly bloated and huge, as every meal I go out for is just enormous.
Then there is coming back to a place and not having a cell phone...how did we stay in touch before cell phones? I'm sure we did, but it seems like it takes far more planning than it does today..well today if you have a cell phone that works on a US network. I do have one on the way to me in the mail that should be arriving tomorrow, but before now it has really been tough to make plans with people as they can't call me and I can't always get in touch with them. Then there is the fact that nobody knows anyone's number anymore because they are simply a name on a contact list, not a ten or seven digit code.
So far the trip back here has been great and I've enjoyed meeting back up with everyone. I'll be heading up to my father's camp tomorrow, have a cookout with my oldest friends this weekend, am heading down to Boston to connect with other friends on Sunday, and will see my brother who came over from Chicago this next week. Somewhere in all of this I still need to get a few things for the restaurant, and arrange some of its financing. Never a dull moment.