Disturbing Incidents

Impressions of a Country, Round The World Trip

One the questions I was asked upon my return was if I ever experienced or saw things that were disturbing to me. Not counting the big differences of disparity of economic wealth in our modern society and white privilege, human trafficking, lack of clean drinking water (even in capital cities), modern slavery and a variety of other ills that are a fact of life in many places, there were several incidents that stand out in my mind because they were so personal to each of these people. They were shocking to me partly because they were so sudden, and I was right there.

When originally writing this, I was reluctant to name some of the places where some negative things happened, but I had committed that I would share what I learned with people who cared enough to read my blog.

In the capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal, a city of 3 million people (unreliable electricity, few stop signs and fewer road signs), I was in a cab.

Traffic police stand on a pedestal in the middle of an intersection

Traffic police stand on a pedestal in the middle of an intersection


The infrastructure has not kept up with demand. I love that there are 3 poles for these wires

We were driving along and on the side of the road were tiny rooms/shacks/homes made out of whatever a person could find; corrugated metal, plywood etc. Two grown men were fighting just inches from my door. As we passed, one grabbed the other by the hair in one hand, and in his other hand was a stone a bit larger than his fist. He was swinging the rock in it and pounding the guy who was caught by his hair in the head who struggled and twisted, squirming away as best he could. I was horrified and shocked. I stuttered as I exclaimed to the cab driver, “Oh my God, that guy is hitting the other man in the head with a big rock! This could kill that man!“ Cabbie’s response was a chuckle and he remarked, “ha ha ha, that guy sure is angry”. We continued driving.

Typical farmer in Kathmandu

Another incident took place while I was waiting on the train platform in Naples, Italy. An older woman had collapsed on the concrete floor and a male passenger was giving her CPR while the rest of the crowd stood by helplessly as the her life was about to change. It was weird to know that I learned information that her family did not know about yet, and it was such an intimate moment. She could only wait for what was going to be, she had no power over her circumstances. Her purse stood at attention beside her, and I spent the rest of the day wondering what she would have done differently that morning if she knew that a few hours later she would be laying on the concrete surrounded by strangers.

In Istanbul, Turkey (the European side) we were driving through a very wealthy area, where people were educated and at the top of the economic status. It was a weekend morning and lots of people were walking around, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. A couple were walking on the sidewalk and it looked like the man was about to kiss the woman. As he turned toward her, instead of kissing her, his arm shot up and he grabbed her around her throat in anger. Her eyes widened in surprised, and I gasped as we drove by, stammering to the my hosts who were driving “Did you see that? He grabbed her by the throat!” They were shocked too, and when we discussed domestic violence, they informed me that in Turkey, if someone were to report domestic violence to the police, the police would probably not do anything, and say it was a domestic problem ; to go home and solve the problem yourselves. Further conversations with other people confirmed that society would blame the girl/wife for any problems. As a matter of fact, that is the common joke. No matter what the problem is, it is the wife’s fault.


Some disturbing things are the same all over the world; domestic violence crosses all boundaries and no one gets out of this life alive. By traveling and meeting dozens of people every day, I was able to observe many things in life I don’t normally experience in my ordinary working life spending the days with a handful of work colleagues each day.

Snake Temple

Round The World Trip

Malaysia had a variety of temples. This was my favorite because it was so different than the others. Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia housed poisonous snakes that were free to slither where they wanted inside the building, and were fenced in a large breeding area outside. When I entered the temple, I was very careful where I stepped and where I put my hands.



Snake on top of a picture frame




A local Malaysian family told me about an uncle who visited Snake Temple, and a viper fell into the hood of his jacket without him realizing. When he was leaving the temple, someone informed him of the snake. Within the next few years, this uncle became very rich. The family suggested that if a snake fell onto us, that we would be very lucky.

16Snake Temple near Penang, Malaysia I am already lucky. I did not want a snake falling on me.Snake Temple near Penang, Malaysia Snake Temple near Penang, Malaysia The snakes were very relaxed and none were aggressive. Of course, no one was messing with poisonous snakes either.Snake Temple near Penang, MalaysiaAll in all, a unique experience.


Beware of Pineapples!

Impressions of a Country, Round The World Trip

Reader beware, if you read this you will learn something disturbing and will become more knowledgeable. With knowledge comes power and obligation. The problem when gaining knowledge is that if you care, you have do something about it, even if you don’t want to.

So many beautiful varieties of pineapples.

So many beautiful varieties of pineapples.

Before you continue ask yourself “Once I have the information and knowledge, what am I going to do about it?” Once something is learned, it cannot be un-learned. You have been warned.

Update to the Pineapple post…

I was surprised at how many people asked questions and commented about the black plastic “mulch” that was tilled back into the earth, to grow cheap pineapples for us, the consumers.

At the Dole plantation

Pieces of plastic have been tilled into the soil for years. It looks just like the black trash bags commonly used for household trash.; at the Dole plantation

After thinking about all the plastic in the soil at the Dole Plantation, I decided to do some research. I was hoping that I was wrong about the plastic being tilled back into the ground. It looked like garbage bags pieces were strewn across the landscape. I kept hoping that perhaps, it was organic and would break down.

I was wrong.

So, I decided to find out exactly what that plastic is made of and how long it takes to break down. After all, those molecules that make up the plastic eventually go into the soil, and the plant grows by absorbing the molecules in the soil. Then we eat the plant; pineapples.

At the Dole plantation

At the Dole plantation

To make a long story short (wrong numbers on the internet, multiple voice mails, no return calls, several emails, calling several different field managers at the Hawaii plantation multiple times) I finally got an answer in this e mail:

Pineapple in Hawaii and strawberries (in Florida and Calif.) use LDPE or low density polyethylene mulch as compared to medium and high density mulches which are thicker and of course last much longer in  time.  The LDPE is the thinnest and most durable of the poly mulches.  An ultraviolet inhibitor is put in during manufacture to keep sunlight from breaking it down quickly and that’s why it’s black in color.  This also creates a disposal problem at the end of a 2 1/2 year pineapple crop cycle because a significant portion of the plastic is still there and unfortunately much of it gets ground up in the land preparation process.  The plastic will eventually decompose to nothing but not fast enough.  We have been experimenting with biodegradable mulches for years but so far nothing has surfaced that is sustainable and economical to use.  There’s a downside to practically everything we do in agriculture these days and the challenge is to make conditions better for generations to come and yet still produce bountiful, inexpensive and copious quantities of food.  Hope this helps.

The black things sticking up from the ground are pieces of plastic.

The black things sticking up from the ground are pieces of plastic.

My research says Polyethylene #1 (the recycle number) is used for squeeze bottles and food containers etc. (think ketchup containers) and is suspected of being a human carcinogen. http://ecologycenter.org/factsheets/adverse-health-effects-of-plastics/#plastichealthgrid

Polyethylene #4 (recycle number that is stamped on the bottom of plastic) is the same stuff used for a 6 pack soda rings, household garbage bags, and in dry cleaning bags.

Several sites say that #4 is a safer plastic. (Safer than what?)

At the Dole plantation

At the Dole plantation

We are eating plastic and building our cells and body parts with these chemicals.

The roots are sucking up the molecules that are leaching from the plastic. Some of these chemicals are suspected in causing cancer. The field where this is happened has been putting the same plastic “mulch” into the same fields for years. So not only is the pineapple is absorbing the plastic molecules – but the ground is saturated in plastic. I wonder what is the concentration of the different chemicals in the soil. What specific kind of chemicals? And what is the concentration of these chemicals in the human body?

At the Dole plantation

At the Dole plantation

The black plastic is tilled back into the soil. This plastic sticks out of the soil for miles.

The black plastic is tilled back into the soil. This plastic sticks out of the soil for miles.

So, if we are what we eat, we are partially polyethylene. (Does this mean I can recycle someone I don’t like?)

Fortunately, research shows that when polyethylene is exposed to UV rays, it can break down in as little as 500 years. (This was an actual statement)! The studies show that 1,000 years is a more realistic number for decomposition and if the material is not exposed to sunlight (like being buried in a field or landfill), it may remain there indefinitely.

So, my dear, now that you know this, what are you going to do about it?

At the Dole plantation

*I thought about reaching out to Erin Brockovitch. A woman who did just that was told that Erin gets 5 calls a day just like this. We all have to be Erin Brockovitch. We don’t need to change the whole world by ourselves, but we need to do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. I have made a small change. I recently planted my first pineapple in the garden (it came from Mexico and was not Dole brand), and am spreading the word.

**More thoughts / questions…

What does “suspected carcinogen” mean? How many people were studied? What happened? Who paid for the study?

The tour guide on the plantation stated that Dole has moved 70% of their operations to the Phillippines. What happens to this poisonous soil in Hawaii for the next 500 years? ( I am an optimist!) The plastic used today will effect the next 25 generations. Our children’s children’s children’s – 25 generations.

Traveling With Language Barriers

Life Sure is Funny, Round The World Trip

People sometimes ask me how I communicate when I travel and don’t speak the language. Since I am not strong in planning and organization, I use creativity and a big smile. Here is an example of a conversation in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

I said, “I would like to reserve a dormitory bed please.”

They said, “Do you have a reservation?” I said “no.”


I said, “I would like to pay for a dorm bed for 2 nights, then I will join a tour company in my prepaid room/bed.”

They said, “Do you have a reservation?”

I said “No.”


I said, “Do you have a dormitory bed for $15 per night?”

They said Yes.”

I said “Do you have a bed available?”

They said “Yes.”

I said, “I would like to pay for that bed.”

They said “Ok.”

The campsite I stayed at in Victoria Falls

The campsite I stayed at in Victoria Falls

Viola, I had a place to stay. Whew. After this incident, I (usually) got better at planning a few days in advance.

A Rooftop Meal in the Countryside of Turkey

Impressions of a Country, Round The World Trip

Turkey – meal on rooftop

We had been driving around in in the country, exploring the Cappadocia (Kapadokya) area in the heat and were looking for a restaurant for lunch.

These formations are called Fairy Chimneys and people still live in them.

These formations are called Fairy Chimneys and people still live in them.

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadokya, Turkey

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey

The landscape was formed by softer rock “melting” away over the years, leaving the harder rock intact.  Some of these “fairy chimneys” were 100 feet tall. Tunnels and rooms were dug into the earth about 3,000 years ago. The rock is rather soft, I could scratch it with my fingernails, and hardens once it is exposed to air. (But I could still scratch it).

Exploring the spaces that people used to live in. Some were monastaries with secret tunnels to quickly escape. A person may need to crab walk down a passageway like a laundry chute, but it would be a quick exit.

Exploring the spaces that people used to live in. Some were monastaries with secret tunnels to quickly escape. A person may have crab walked down a vertical passageway (like a laundry chute), but it was a quick exit.

This is an ancient area that I bet archeologists would love to explore. I watched a guy on an atv ride it down these steps, and knew historians would be horrified. Many of these kinds of places are being slowly destroyed, just by living.

This is an ancient area that I bet archeologists would love to explore. I watched a guy on an ATV (4 wheeler) ride it down these steps, and knew historians would be horrified. Many of these kinds of places are being slowly destroyed, just by daily living.

All four of us were drained and ready for some nutrition and a chance to sit down, rest our feet, and enjoy a good meal.

Metin (our pseudo son-in-law) was using an app on his phone, and found a restaurant with good reviews, but with construction on the narrow and hidden roads, it was going to be difficult to find our way.

In a country that has been inhabited since for thousands of years, the roads were built based on needs at that time. They are twisty and narrow, having been built for people who walked.

Roads built centuries ago that were well thought out. The larger stones are in the middle and easier to walk on. I think they were built this way for drainage reasons.

Roads built centuries ago that were well thought out. The larger stones are in the middle and easier to walk on. I think they were built this way for drainage reasons.

Metin called the restaurant- everyone has cell phones.

(I discovered that even in poor countries like Zimbabwe and Nepal, many people have a cell phone – but not a smart phone)

A man answered the phone and said that he would meet us where we were and we could follow him to the restaurant. About 15 minutes later, a scraggly and dirty-looking man showed up on a motorbike and told us to follow him. I was a bit confused- I wasn’t sure if he was the owner, the cook, a friend of the restaurant or who he was. So, I got back into the car and we followed him up the narrow streets and through the passageways of ancient stone buildings. The roads were built between the buildings and the building loomed heavily daring us to bring the car closer and challenging us with tight corners.

Narrow roads in a village in Turkey.

Narrow roads in a village in Turkey.

Based on his disheveled and dirty appearance, I was hoping the kitchen was relatively clean, and the food would not make any of us sick.

IMG_2713A narrow road that is full of handicrafts for tourists. It was very quaint and the shop owners were very friendly.

One of the ways Europeans “beat the heat” is by growing grapevines for shade. I saw this often at restaurants. In the summer, the broad leaves provide shade. In the winter, the leaves have fallen off and the sun shines through. This was also common in Italy and other sunny countries.

We arrived at a home with an outdoor staircase, hiked up the steps and finally were able to sit down and rest. The flat rooftop had several tables and chairs  – similar to an open air cafe. (Except, for the freshly-washed towels drying on the clothesline).

The wife cooked our lunch in an outdoor stone oven.

The wife cooked our lunch in a hot (wood-coal) outdoor stone oven.

Lunch in a small village. It was hard to find because of construction, so the owner met us in town and had us follow him back on his motorbike

AJ and B. waiting for lunch in a small village. The restaurant was hard to find because of construction, one way streets, and detours, so the owner met us in town and had us follow him on his motorbike through alleys and streets with no names. There was a limited menu.

Eating lunch on top of the roof of a home restaurant.

Our hero Metin, who found us a fantastic rooftop restaurant. A husband and wife owned the restaurant and we could see how hard they worked on a daily basis. There were towels drying on a clothesline nearby.

The specialty was a stew that had been cooking in a clay pot since dawn. We had a choice of lamb or chicken. (Muslims typically do not eat pork). Each pot was filled with vegetables and gravy, (but really – who knows what was really in there) and how clean the kitchen was (or how basic, for that matter) we were near stone homes.

Stone home in a small village in Turkey.

Stone home in a small village in Turkey.

While sitting at the table and looking over the other buildings, I noticed that when the breeze wafter in a certain direction, I could smell animals. I am not sure what kind. It was earthy, but not unpleasant. The breeze hinted at manure, but not horse or cow manure, the smells I can identify. Maybe the smell was goats? Something else?  I could not see any animals, but I could hear a bell around its’ neck gently clang when it moved. I visualized the animal resting in the heat like we were, and turning its head to adjust its position to take a much deserved nap.

Life moves at a slower pace here. Once we sat down and got a bit of food in us, we could take in all the surroundings. It looked like a hard life, but a peaceful life.

30 Days Home

For the Book, Interesting People, Round The World Trip

Today I am angry and disappointed in myself. I let myself down- I did not work on writing these last few days, nor anything else regarding documenting the RTW trip.

I have these wonderful dreams- write a book, it becomes a best seller, a movie is made from it, I become fabulously wealthy, the movie wins awards, I attend the awards shows and get to meet my favorite celebrities. My career changes as I hit the talk show circuit, and am given the opportunity to host my own talk show, meeting more interesting people.

3 weeks home

Round The World Trip

One of my goals is to continue to write about my experiences while traveling. There are so many interesting stories. However, getting them on paper / computer is the current issue. Work is cutting into my free time. So, here are some topics / stories I want to share. Which ones are of interest to you? I will write these sooner rather than later.

Reactions of my return (frequently asked questions), when was I scared? When did I feel…? what was my favorite country? Did I have downer days?

Lessons learned about myself

lessons learned about my country

lessons learned about life

A world language is developing

Expenses and costs

Economy and jobs- Germany, Serbia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand

Invited to watch a family eat in Zimbabwe (and going)

Being invited to stay in near strangers homes (and doing it)

Jerusalem- spending time with someone who didn’t mind getting arrested (but I did mind)

Met a woman who was attacked by a polar bear and lived to tell

Went to a mosque

Went to a Turkish Bath

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Animals – Africa, Asia, Australia

Local foods, and eating different foods (including a caterpillar)

Making roof shingles from bamboo leaves

Construction practices

Vehicles of the world (also known as how many people will fit in / on a vehicle)

Tsunami in Thailand

What I packed – what worked, what did not

Costly mistakes I made while traveling

Hostel life

What other people think of Obama

Questions asked about life in USA

Cultural mistakes I made, embarrassing situations

Getting lost in Nepal

Compare / contrast Flooding in Serbia vs. Australia

Short but memorable conversations- fate had us crossing paths

Slash and burn farming practices

Attitudes toward animals

boiling mud pits

How I planned my big trip

Great Barrier Reef

More stories and experiences of particular countries / areas:



New Zealand








S. Africa







How things connect – food supply, politics, oil, power, wealth, corruption

How other countries do things- police, education, get rid of garbage

What would you like to know?

Approaching the end?

Impressions of a Country, Round The World Trip

Quick Summary

Less than 8 weeks left on this leg of the trip- or is it the end of my journey? The answer is unclear today. Some of my goals were to meet interesting people, and see how life is lived by other people in the world. Along the way, I wanted to volunteer, learn and experience lots of life. Most of these goals have been accomplished, although the volunteering did not turn out as expected. I found that volunteering for only one or 2 weeks was not what the organizations I contacted needed. Some had a minimum of a six month commitment, another was not set up for an individual volunteer but wanted a group. Probably with better planning or a longer commitment, and I would have enjoyed those experiences as well. Even speaking English and exposing kids at a refugee camp did not work out, since my timing happened to be when they were studying for the most important exams of the year.

Let’s face it, a year is not long enough. The world is an amazing place, and so much bigger than I thought. Our planet is huge and there is so much more I want to see, but am out of time. My incredibly talented daughter is graduating law school, and I am going to be there.

Most frequently asked question of me: Do I like Obama?

Second most frequently asked question: What is my favorite place? (While traveling)

Third most frequently asked question: Do I have a gun? (In the USA)

Favorite places: I cannot say I have a favorite because I liked so many places, but for different reasons.

Most beautiful- Switzerland, but really expensive.

Montenegro is a close second- the Natural beauty is spectacular. Lots of greenery and mountains, and very inexpensive, but harder to get to.

Best Food – Italy. Everything people say about the good food is true. The whole culture is built around enjoying food, and family.

Amsterdam, Netherlands – I enjoyed the “live and let live” attitude. Surprisingly, the city shuts down around 6:00 pm except for Fridays and Saturdays, and even then it shuts down around 11:00 pm. I would definitely go back to see the tulips in spring again, the photos do not do them justice. They are magnificent.

Germany– It is similar to the USA with the modern conveniences and easy to get around with public transportation. The variety of delicious sausages were enjoyable. Wonderful parks- especially the English Garden in Munich.

Scotland- if a person likes to hike and doesn’t mind rain, come here.

Ireland – lots of rain and lots of pubs.

Iceland- Windy. Lots of fish to eat. The Blue Lagoon will bring me back again- but this time in summer. The best organized tourism industry that I experienced.

Serbia – Someone told me to tell everyone to bring your tourist dollars here. The people are so helpful, several walked with me to my destination to be sure I got to where I was going. The public transportation is easy to get around. There is beautiful architecture, and it is a very inexpensive country.

Croatia– Another beautiful country. I didn’t get to spend much time here, but would go back to visit the National Park, and to island hop along the coast. The Aegean Sea is a turquoise blue.

Israel– I don’t think they will ever have peace. I think many people do not want peace. They would rather be right. Really hot and dry. This is where I got over my vanity of being overweight , middle-age woman in a bathing suit. I figured that more people cared about what it was like to float in the Dead Sea, rather than what I looked like.

Czech Republic – I only spent time in Prague, but it is a city with so much historical architecture. This is still an inexpensive area. Great public transportation.

Hungary– I only got to spend a day in Budapest, and would like to go back. It is inexpensive, has good public transportation. The caving experience here was the best caving I have ever done.

Turkey– I went here 3 different times over a 6 month period and explored different areas. The people are very friendly, and the country has everything from sea resorts, to recently discovered cities over 3,000 years ago. The Grand Bazaar is a really interesting place, and for the prettiest jewelry I have ever seen in my travels is located here. It is intricate and stunning. If I am walking down the red carpet in Hollywood, chances are that I will be wearing jewelry from here. Inexpensive.

Zimbabwe– This is where I learned to understand how important it is to have a good leader, and what corruption does to the general population. This is a fascinating country with many, many problems. The local, wonderful people I met here probably had the biggest impact on me through all of my travels. I only spent about a week here, but have a lifetime of memories. Also, a very dear friend joined me here and we shared the experiences. I am so happy to have shared these experiences with her.

Botswana– This is the representation of what I expected of Africa- endless scenery, lots of big animals.

South Africa – I only spent time driving through and then staying a couple days in Johannesburg. The city is growing so quickly they don’t know what the population is, and they have 12 official languages. I now question why some people in the USA think we need one official language. I was very uncomfortable here, partly because of the reputation of the city and people who have not traveled here telling me how dangerous it was. It was a growing experience for me to be the minority everywhere I went.

Thailand – A wonderful country that I will visit again. The people are very friendly and helpful, it is inexpensive, and easy to get around in English. The north has mountains and several Hill Tribes (ethnic groups that do not speak Thai, and dress in their traditional costumes). The south has fantastic beach after beach after beach.

Singapore – Lots of rules. Very clean. Excellent public transportation. Modern architecture. Expensive. A melting pot of Asian people.

Nepal – my least favorite country. The people were very nice, but it is a difficult life for many people. Again, government leadership is so important. When different factions cannot agree on anything, except “leave the tourists alone”, life is hard for its citizens. The capital city, Kathmandu is the most polluted city I have ever seen – air, noise, trash, water, everything. On the other hand, the citizens have bigger problems to worry about.

Bali, Indonesia – such a pretty country with friendly locals. Too bad the places I went in Bali were so damaged by tourism. I would like to discover more of Indonesia, but would hesitate to go back here until the infrastructure catches up, and the trash is gone.

India – I hear that the south is very different than the north. I only had a few days in the north, although I met a very nice family. Next time I will visit the south. India seems to be making progress from what I had expected. It was cleaner than Nepal and school is compulsory. I would not travel as a lone western female in the North again. I was very uncomfortable, although I stayed safe.

Malaysia- Hot and humid, great public transportation. Excellent Chinese food everywhere and inexpensive.

I have met so many kind people and everyone has a story. I have been so fortunate to stay with friends, family, acquaintances and friends of friends, and near strangers. I have found that the world is full of good-hearted people no matter what country, and most people are just like me, trying to find my way on this life’s journey. We have the same concerns, taking care of our family and providing for our children. We are more similar than different, even though we may have different names for our “God”, and wear different clothes and have different manners, but in the end, the world is a wonderful place, and not as scary as we are led to believe.

Future stops in include Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii before I make my way back home. I am looking forward to knowing how to get to the grocery store, and the proper way to purchase vegetables without holding up a line full of people. I also am really, really, looking forward to a cheeseburger!

And most importantly- I am looking forward to hugging my family and friends.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Impressions of a Country, Round The World Trip

Kathmandu is a city like none other that I have seen…yet. When I visualized Nepal, I visualized snow capped mountains and strong brown-skinned Sherpa carrying mountain climbing gear.


I had heard the slogan “come to Nepal and change your life” and even though I did not know what that meant, I figured it had something to do with inner peace, monks, people praying at temples, and colorful prayer flags.


I had heard that Nepal was a poor country, but the people were gentle and kind. And I found all of this to be true. People said get out of Kathmandu, the capital city, it was dirty and polluted, and that was true too.

I am not sure what Bob Dylan was referring to when he mentioned Kathmandu in his song, but it must have been a very different scene than what I found in February 2015.

I have to talk about the traffic, because it was so different than anywhere else I have been. First of all, in the capital city, there are some paved roads. They must have been paved years ago, because paved is not the word I would use to refer to most of them now. The main roads had some pavement, and some areas that used to be paved and are now stones and dirt with potholes. We may ride in a vehicle at about 30 miles an hour for half a minute, then slow down so we didn’t damage the car while we road over potholes and bounced along. I even took my glasses off my head and put them on my face, not because I needed to see in the distance, but because I did not want to break them as my head bounced into the ceiling of the car.

Some of the roads had a painted line down the middle to give an idea of what side traffic would normally flow, if there was such a thing.


In reality, it means, if a vehicle is coming toward you, you should get into the left side (opposite side of the road than in the USA).

Drivers use the middle of the road because the sides are broken and the berm is dirt and dust flies everywhere. So each side of the road has people walking,


cars and motorbikes parked along the edges,???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

and a stream of traffic including motorbikes, rickshaws, carts being pushed by walkers, carts carrying objects such as 20 foot long bamboo poles, the bottom half which is dragging along the road, people carrying boxes and bags that are bigger than themselves strapped onto their backs,


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women carrying baskets full of bricks/ stones or oranges, and carts with hawkers carrying fruit,


scales, hand juicers, and other peddlers selling a variety of other items.

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Add to this cows walking down the roads, dogs wandering the streets, and all of these people and their vehicles passing one another wherever there is room. This is a perfect example of the word chaos.


Visualize the sides of the roads where there small patches of concrete slabs covering deep concrete ditches with dirty water running through them.


Instead of flat sidewalks, there are crumbling chunks of concrete, broken curbs and sometimes a sidewalk-like area; a rocky flattish dirt space that spans from a couple of feet wide and narrows to a couple of inches wide with no rhyme or reason that I could see.

To me, it looked like buildings were built, then dirt roads were covered with a pebbly tar mixture and cement and called a road. The sides are still dirt, and dust is everywhere, as well as exhaust and diesel fumes.

There is no infrastructure, no traffic lights, no speed limit signs, no stop signs. At intersections, people drive right through, only stopping if another car , or motorbike, or person, or cow is in the way. Motorbikes turn on either sides of other turning vehicles, whichever way gets them to their destination, and pedestrians scurry across the street when they are brave and there is a gap that opens and closes quickly through the traffic.

 Add to this the sounds of horns honking. Motorbikes, cars, trucks and buses all honk to let you know that they are coming through. It means step to the side, here I come. Even the bicycles have makeshift horns, an upside down empty water bottle becomes a horn when the driver squeezes it and the air flows into the attached horn purchased from a local store. Beep beep says the bike. Honk honk honk says the car. A startling loud 3 toned air horn blows from the buses and trucks.

There are a few intersections with a pedestal that white-gloved traffic cops stand on, to direct traffic. I didn’t understand exactly how it works, but have seen them waving individual vehicles in different directions but am not sure how effective they are.


While in a cab, a cop told us to back up, but with multiple cars behind us, I am unsure as to whether he actually expected us to back up or was filed with self importance of telling us what to do. It was impossible for us to back up because there were multiple cars behind us an to the sides of us. I suspect he just wanted to tell us what to do because he was ineffective in doing anything else. There was nowhere to go until the traffic passing in front of us created a hole for us to move into.

Another evening, I saw traffic cops socializing with each other, and only yelling at a driver when he pulled towards the side of the road to speak to a vendor and the entire intersection was gridlocked with traffic from all directions coming to a complete stop. There was a turning truck behind this car, who could move no further until the car moved forward, so the rest of the traffic headed in any direction was stopped until the truck finished the turn and stopped blocking the road with the trailer.

The traffic cop hurried over to the car that was stopped and talking to the vendor, told him to move on, then helped my friend and I with directions to our hostel, even leaving his post to walk several blocks to be sure we went the right way. Again, I am not sure how effective the traffic police are when they leave their post to help a tourist head in the right direction.

Almost everyone I met in Kathmandu had a cough. In the evening of the first day, even I had a sore throat. I have never seen air pollution like this, although I have heard of worse places. Most of the cops wore masks over the nose and mouth to help protect themselves from the air pollution, and when I noticed their white gloves were dirty with soot in the afternoon, I wonder what their life expectancy is?

Traffic in Kathmandu. I have not seen anything like it anywhere else.

Dear Readers – At a Crossroads, Need Advice

Round The World Trip

Hi there,

As you know, I have been learning to blog while on this trip and am now at a crossroads. I must make a decision quickly. I have been using a free version of WordPress and have run out of space for photos, so I need to upgrade. This means I will get a domain name.  This is my chance to pick a title that is easier to remember than momstaxi1111. I have been playing with ideas that include midlifecrisis, Pam’sadventures etc. but am open to other ideas as well.

This is where YOU come in.

I am looking for ideas of titles that are catchy and easy to remember (and spell) so people can find my blog. Some of the ideas I have are already taken, so I would love to have your suggestions. I want to end with .com (because it is easiest to remember).

I value your opinions and know you are up for the challenge. I can’t wait to hear your ideas!