I have been living in hotels and guest-houses since I arrived in Nepal at the start of September, and now that I am settled in Besisahar, have been looking forward to finding a small flat of my own in which to live.
Someone I work with knew of a vacant flat above the premises of Lamjung Radio, so after a quick look I agreed to rent it. It comprises of kitchen/living room, two bedrooms (one very small) and a bathroom. One of the best things about it is the large balcony that I will certainly make use of when the weather warms up again. The landlord kindly had the whole flat painted before I moved in, which meant that it looks clean too.
The flat is about five minutes walk from the main street of Besisahar, along a gravel track. There is a school nearby, small shops and other houses along the road. Behind the flat the ground rises steeply and so at the back I look out onto terraces planted with vegetables and just a few isolated houses. Behind that are the forested hills with a deep river valley cutting through between them to the east.
The first problem was actually moving all my things across town. (I seem to have acquired a lot of things since I arrived in Nepal with just a rucksack and a bag!!) I had two large and heavy bags stored at the offices, which were transported up the hill to the flat by a man living nearby, at 8am before he went to work. He attached them both to a strap across his head and carried them on his back. A small but very strong man and it cost me the equivalent of £2!
Next I paid off the hotel bill, and asked the receptionist about transporting my other bags. Could they find me a taxi? No! The next thing I knew, two of the staff were sat astride a motorbike, with my two bags somehow balanced between them. When I arrived at the flat, 10 minutes walk from the hotel, the bags were in my room.
|Vegetables terraces behind the flat|
One important job was to buy furniture and household necessities in order to set up home. I had forgotten just how many things are needed. It was also quite difficult as many things I didn’t know the Nepali name for, about the expected quality or what was a reasonable sum to pay.
Camille, the wife of the Lamjung GAN manager, kindly offered to help me. I sat in the small store whilst she bargained for my mattress and bedding and then, in another shop, for a two-ring gas cooker and all the fitments for it. The gas container we bought in a small provisions store opposite my flat and the friendly shopkeeper spent time, later that afternoon fitting, it all together for me.
The landlord and his wife, who at present live in the flat below mine, were anxious to help too. They were very concerned that I had no curtains and, just as it got dark, arrived with some old ones and the wires to hang them, so I had bedroom curtains ready for the night.
It did seem strange to settle down for the night in a new place so completely different from my home in UK. The place doesn’t as yet feel like mine, as I’m still living out of suitcases – I’ve yet to buy a cupboard to store my clothes in!