The Brand Name Blues

This post was actually a suggestion (yes, we take requests) from some great girl-friends back home who are concerned about my retail well-being while I’m in Nepal.  They specifically wanted to know what we were missing from home and couldn’t find in Kathmandu, other than cheese, which I’ve complained about far too much.  So I will fulfill their request and organize the post into; Things I brought and wish I hadn’t, and Things I wish I had and can’t find.  Here goes!

Things I brought and wish I hadn’t – I had somehow got the impression during our whole packing/purging non-sense that I would have some difficulty finding the following thing in a giant metropolitan city.  So naturally, I stocked up and brought far more than necessary of the following items;

  • Underwear – Not sure where I got this misinformation but there are plenty of panties in Kathmandu.  No joke. I could probably find the whole Victoria’s Secret collection if I wanted to.  Granted I have not tested the durability or comfiness of the underthings here, but I will not be at a lost for places to buy them when I want to.
  • Toiletries – Kathmandu is a city of nearly a million people.  How could I think that I wouldn’t be able to get deodorant and contact solution?  I actually haven’t be able to find ‘no tears’ kids shampoo and kid toothpaste, but that is because Nepali kids are tougher than mine.  The entire tote bin of razors, soap, tampons and shaving cream we brought is pretty embarrassing.
  • Tea – Another embarrassing misconception.  Ever heard of Darjeeling?  Umm, yeah, right on the other side of the Nepali border. India is famous for tea and Nepal is right next door.  Don’t know what I was thinking.  Maybe that I wouldn’t be able to get herbal teas? Yeah, well that isn’t the case either.  There are tons of little tea shops and coffee houses right in our neighborhood, but I’m at home trying to drink through the gallon bags I brought of tea bags.

Things I wish I had and can’t find – Not to be down on Kathmandu, we really are living quite comfortably here, and there really isn’t much we can’t find, but…..there are things that are a little different from home, and that is the kind of thing we wish we had.

  • Fruit Candy – There is no such thing as Starbursts, Twizzlers or chewy fruit candy that I have found in Kathmandu.  Really great chocolate candy I have discovered, but not fruity candy. I asked a Nepali friend about fruity candy and she pointed me to these lemon, honey, jelly things.  Uh, not quite. I attempted to describe a little better what I meant and she responded,  “To eat something that tastes like fruit, you should have a fruit.”  Point taken.  I gotta admit though, I love me some Skittles.
  • Western Broom –  You know, the kind with bristles on the bottom of a long stick.  The brooms in Nepal are a large fistful of about two foot long, soft sticks tied together at the top.  To use it to sweep floors you must squat down and sweep everything away from you.  As Westerners we have serious squat deficiency (SSD?).  I at least have the advantage over Dave of being closer to the ground to begin with so I can get to a squat, but the short advantage doesn’t do much for my squat endurance.  I am in awe of the Nepalis who not only hang out in a squat position, but then move around the whole room sweeping the floor like that!  Amazing! So, the Nepali squatty broom doesn’t work for us.  Could go for a good Swiffer.
  • Fitted Sheets – Nepalese are not so keen on elastic for sheets which is a giant pain.  I wake up each morning my face against the plastic mattress in a puddle of my own drool and the bottom sheet bunched and crinkled up somewhere in the bed.  Or on the floor in Dave’s case, as he only seems to turn only one direction the whole night long.   So making our bed in the morning is just that much more essential, otherwise we’d never figure out how to get back in.  The crib sheet for our daughter’s bed is like a pocket with a slit in the side.  You roll up the flat mattress, poke it through the slot, and then try to work it all around so it fits in the pocket.  If I could find a set of Martha Stewart sheets somewhere in Kathmandu it would be just the thing.

So girlfriends from home, despite my brand name blues, I am shopping well and shopping often.  Thanks for looking out for me.  I am truly touched.