Clear View of Himalayas from Kathmandu

First the GK: Kathmandu is the capital of the country that is known around the world as the Himalayan Peopledom! But not always we see the mesmerizing Himalayas from the valley of Kathmandu though the Himalayas serve as our geographical borders with China. Because of the poor atmosphere that surrounds the valley most of the year, Himalayas are hidden behind the hazes of clouds and mists. That has changed in the past couple of days. The ugly haze over the hills (for some they are mountains!) that surround the valley has disappeared. We are having spectacular views of snowy mountains from the Kathmandu valley. Just look, where else, northward and you will be greeted with the long range of smiling White Mountains.Pics by Wagle unless otherwise stated.

View of Himalayas from Kathmandu Valley
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When You Meet Wine and Women of France Together

Continued from previous blog: Chinese Wife of the French Ambassador

Dinesh Wagle in the wine party organized hosted by the French ambassador in Kathmandu in his residence to taste the Beaujolais Nouveau Pic by Girish Giri

I was wandering around looking for people to talk to. I see this celebrated TV personality and former editor standing whom I had quoted in the beginning this story about the life in Thamel. “I read your story,” he says. [And says it was nice.] Then he charges me of removing one word-also- from the quote that I had attributed to him in the story. “But I had said you might ‘also’ meet celebrities,” he says. “Where is the ‘also’? Don’t put your words into my mouth.”

“It’s good to visit Thamel once in a week,” a famous TV personality and former editor had told me this a few years ago. “You might encounter celebrities from around the world.”

I should have written, he says, “…also encounter celebrities….”

“Well, I don’t really remember you saying “pani” or “too” but if that’s what you had said, then I admit my mistake,” I say. “I try to put exact quotes as far as possible.”

“Okay,” he says, “I am going now. Pani, pani, don’t forget pani!” Continue reading

Meet the Chinese Wife of the French Ambassador

Continued from previous blog: Wine Party: The Dutch Guy With Helvetas

[Here is my article in Kantipur daily about the Beaujolais Day wine party: फ्रेन्च वाइन कूटनीति]

Behind every handsome ambassador is his beautiful wife: Gilles-Henry Garault, French ambassador in Nepal and his Chinese wife Shen Miao in the wine party on Beaujolais Day in Kathmandu. Pic by Bikas Rauniar

I am still looking some other people to talk to. Someone tells me that the ambassador’s wife is a Chinese and they communicate in German as the lady doesn’t know French and the man can’t speak Chinese. So I want to confirm this from the lady herself. “Excuse me ma’am,” I went to her and introduce myself as a reporter with a Nepali newspaper. “Can I talk to you for a few minutes?”

Sure, why not?

Yes, that’s true that the lingua franca in the family is German. “First we talked in German,” she says. “Later I tried in English. He can’t speak Chinese, I can’t speak French.” They are learning each other’s language but the lady says that the busy schedule of the ambassador is keeping him from improving quickly. “Sometime I teach him but he is busy,” she beams. Continue reading

French Ambassador’s Wine Party: The Dutch Guy With Helvetas

Continued from previous blog: Beaujolais Day in Nepal: Wine Talk With a French Teacher

How about this bearded man? I am not sure about his nationality but that’s fine. He must be a European. Yes, he is: a Dutch, married to a Swiss and working for a Swiss agency in Kathmandu. “How old are you?” I ask him. By his facial expression, I conclude that that wasn’t the question he wanted to hear this evening though he had happily agreed to participate in the interview for the Nepali edition of the Kathmandu Post. “You guess,” he files the usual reply. I certainly do not want to disappoint him. He is a nice guy, I like his beard. They are white like of some Hindu rishi. He has spent 25 years in Africa before coming here in Nepal to work at Helvetas. I calculate and come up with this modest number: 45? “No, I am sixty,” Jon Roukema says, and smiles. “Not that old,” I assure him. He lives in Chovar, “a very beautiful place with friendly neighborhood”. Continue reading

Beaujolais Day in Nepal: Wine Talk With a French Teacher

Continued from previous blog: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!: French Ambassador’s Wine Party in Kathmandu

I am basically an introvert (except on the web of course), and I find it quite difficult to sustain with phony smiles and extra courteous talks in many social gatherings. But then there is another person in me who is a reporter (journalist, you know, newspaper guy? I work for a newspaper and am trying to write something out of this gathering this evening. Would you like to talk to me for a few minutes? Hell yes, why not? Kantipur? What’s that? Oh, I read Kathmandu Post. That comes on my desk every morning. Oh.. yea? Then just keep this in your mind that Kantipur is the Nepali edition of the Kathmandu Post -which is not entirely correct but then what the hell, you are already drinking wine and I have already finished first glass in my life.) Yes, many a times, a reporter has to start conversations to make a story out of an occasion. Some people get frightened by just hearing the word journalist and run away, some try to avoid very politely some talk a little bit hesitantly and some become really glad that a reporter is talking to them. These people make me really happy. Continue reading