a low key day in KTM June 6 2013


reminder that June 6, 1944 was an important day in American history. More than 6,000 men died on Omaha Beach in Normandy

Today I focused on getting ready for the Road Trip by re-packing my stuff and going through things. Puttering around. Enjoying coffee.

Money

Of course, I was forced to have a quiet day. I await some money. Want the update?

Capital One

The credit card company was really great. I have always used Capital One when I travel and they responded when I called to cancel. I guess I gave them a brain teaser, though. They need a physical address to which a replacement card could be shipped “overnight” and it was soon apparent that nobody I know routinely uses a physical address. All the folks have P.O. Boxes. Does that mean that Kathmandu itself has no physical address on this planet?  I always  hear others talk about the spiritual side of life here, maybe I finally have found the one true proof that KTM is a spiritual, and not a physical, destination. If the US Postal Service can’t find you, do you exist at all?

Physical address

I thought maybe I should give a metaphysical address to the card company, but then I realized that these are bankers. we don’t want them to have a sense of humor, let alone to appreciate mine. Any way, my friend Alok agreed to use his physical address and that ‘s where the card will go. Overnight delivery? takes three days.

So, this left me to puzzle out how to get money. I went to a bank, with a check and my passport. the bank guy was polite, but he said it would take a month, since I have no account at that bank.

Henry Miller

About ten people offered to lend me money but I politely deferred. It’s not supposed to be this way. Maybe someday I will panhandle. not today. On the other hand, in Honolulu I would practice my trumpet in the park and passersby would put change in the open trumpet case at my feet ( one guy put in a five dollar bill and said “buy yourself some lessons, son…”)

Henry David Thoreau was a Hindu

There are overtones of great literature to be found here. Down and Out in London and Paris, by George Orwell. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Writing about the experience of not having cash and mooching off people you know. For that matter, Walden.  Then again, I am already simplifying as much as I want to.

One Day of Gratitude

I am only too well aware that there are others who make do on a daily basis with less than I have. I see them every day, every minute that I walk around in my neighborhood. So, I can make fun of my own plight but I can also take this time to realize that a day of not having cash is small discomfort compared to a lifetime of not having cash. Or even worse, having a chronic illness and not having cash – many of the beggars of this town have leprosy. I have my health and I am not about to starve. I am thankful that I have a job at the University which gives direct-deposit and allows me to do this. I have health insurance. There is a long list.

note: Henry Miller had a mailbox. A physical mailbox. In California. I have seen it.

Then there are the Eastern writers and philosophers. Going for a day without cash is not nearly enough to put me in the same league as a wandering sadhu.

Western Union

Here was an alternative I hadn’t thought much about. Western Union is everywhere round here, because of all the Nepalis abroad who send remittances back home. There are six Western Union offices within a ten-minute walk from here. Why don’t I wire myself some money. So I got on the internet, set up a Western Union account, plugged in my bank routing number, and zingo.

One little problem. The transfer could not be approved until I put in a passcode from a text message that would be sent to my cell phone.

My Honolulu cell phone.

And I have a Nepali chip in there.

So I dug out my At & T chip from the place it was carefully stored, but for the life of me I couldn’t get the slider on the BlackBerry to move. I didn’t want to break the BlackBerry. So – no go. it was a catch-22. I can see why they set it up that way. To prevent hackers. Like me.

In the end, I am getting money the old-fashioned way. My daughter, the intrepid A.T. through-hiker, is wiring it via Western Union. I even did some research to help her designate a specific W.U. Office for it. I will mail her a check in return. Amy knows the value of a support team. way to go, Whoopie Pie!

Oh, and I did have enough cash to get my hair cut. the guy threw in a head massage.  You can get a good cut for 100 nrs in this town. I told him not to touch the mustache.

About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

Experienced nursing educator and problem-solver. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add it with fifteen more devoted to adult critical care. In Nepal, I started teaching critical care skills in 2011. I figure out what they need to know in a Nepali practice setting. Then I teach it in a culturally appropriate way so that the boots-on-the-ground people will use it. I travel outside of Kathmandu Valley as well. When the recent violence happened, I knew the cities - I had trained people in those locations. One theme of my work has been collective culture and how it manifests itself in anger. Because this was a problem I incorporated elements of "situational awareness" training from the beginning, in 2011. Global Health Nursing is not all sweetness and light; not solely milk & honey and happy moms and babies.
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