May 25th 1984

posted in: The way back | 0
Man in rain

As he had asked us to do, we went to visit Chiling, G’s stand-in when he isn’t in Nepal, to see if he had any of the green stuff for us to take back.  He was his usual abrupt self, + told us he didn’t have any right now, as someone else had just gone back, but that we should come back tomorrow morning before we flew.  We walked down to the Freak St end of town.  That was the area where we were most likely to sell the camera, + in any case we had a few shots left on our film that we wanted to shoot around the Durbar Sq area..  It was a hideous walk.  It had been raining all night, was still drizzling miserably, + with the rain the roads had turned into lanes of mud.  So Val in particular, slopping along in flip-flops, was soon in a dreadful mess.  She had no grip.  Her flip-flops were hurling wet mud up the back of her skirt + legs, + in no time at all she was in a black mood.  The weather conditions certainly weren’t right for taking photos.  Even tho’ we stationed ourselves in the window-seat of a first-floor restaurant overlooking the square, there simply weren’t enough people around, + most of those that were were shielding themselves with umbrellas.  So I left her for a time to grab what photos she could, while I went first to the Post Office, then to one of the local bookshops to grab what books I could.  We decided to buy 4 meaty novels, hopefully enough to last us thro’ our trip.  I grabbed “Lark Rise to Candleford” (English pastoral); one by Hesse (foreign); “A House for Mr Biswas” by Naipaul (contemporary); Conrad’s “Lord Jim” (classic).  Quite a weight, but necessary, I think.

We finally gave up taking any more photos with just a couple of frames left, pulled the film out, + set out to sell it – hopefully at a half-decent profit.  From the response we had, however, we soon had to revise our opinion – people simply weren’t interested.  There were various reasons: some people only wanted it with the standard Canon lens, one shop pointed out a scratch on the body, others had no interest at all.  So that the best we were offered was R4000, or $200, less than we had paid for it a month ago.  We did finally find someone prepared to pay R5000, + he was most upset when we wouldn’t budge from R6000, which we had decided was the absolute minimum we would accept to make it worth our while to go to the trouble of buying a new one.  So we ended up still with our camera.  We weren’t too upset, as we had bought it with just this eventuality in mind, + had made sure we had a camera which, if it came to it, we wouldn’t mind keeping.  Which was just as well.  Imagine lumbering oneself with 2 dozen pen watches.

We slopped back to the Guest-House, + I paid my final visit to the British Council, treating myself for once by taking a trike taxi there.  As usual, however, I discovered little that I didn’t already know or couldn’t have easily guessed, with the possible exception of the fact that Launceston College is advertising for a new Head of History.

We packed up our belongings ready for the morrow when I got back, smoked a little Bob Hope (using a new method – under glass) in order to stimulate the appetite, + then went to KCs, perhaps Kathmandu’s most famous restaurant, for a farewell steak meal.  As we approached, we were hailed from above, Tom + Jan hanging out of a window of the very place.  They had just ab out finished their meal, but we chatted for a while before they departed, giving up their table to us.  Just as well, for there wasn’t another in the whole place.  We arranged to meet them tomorrow morning to say goodbye + return the computer chess.  I was infuriated by the thing, as it had beaten me operating only from level 2.  (I did obtain some measure of satisfying revenge by beating it at level 3 later on.)  The meal was a little pricey, by Kathmandu standards, but quite splendid – tender steak, beautifully cooked.  A nice way to say goodbye to the place’s gastronomic delights.

A matter of tying up loose ends, saying goodbye to Kathmandu, buying books to take into China, finishing off some dope, eating, saying goodbye to friends… But also sdomething of an introduction to the world of selling stuff… or rather trying and failing, which will (spoiler alert) be occupying quite a bit of our time and energy over the coming period. But no luck, or at least not yet.

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