Rolling Thunder... A rainy day in Pokhara West Nepal
I do not need to go white water rafting today; rain is coming down the side of the hotel like water crashing down Grade 5 rapids.
It is only 4.30 in the afternoon the sky is pitch-black, jagged forks of lightening are lighting up the sky-followed seconds later by ear shattering thunderclaps.
How can I get a story if I can't leave my room and hear all the hotel's news? The photograph is of my bungalow when it is not raining.
Last Thursday morning I was woken up by a rumbling noise. The night before in Rolpa, not far from Pokhara, there was a 5.4 earthquake.
So I jumped out of bed - where's my wallet, passport, camera? You're Scottish for crying out loud just grab your wallet.
As I reached the door I realized that the building wasn't shaking, but I was still worried I was experiencing after shocks and they would come before I could get out of my bungalow. I was afraid that the concrete slab of the roof was going to come down and entrap me.
I ran out into the garden to see a Japanese woman wheeling her heavy suitcase out to get the bus back to Kathmandu. The crunching noise of the small wheels on the gravel path was what had woken me up, not a seemingly life threatening wrenching of the earth.
So I went back to bed with a cup of tea and the newspaper. The daily reported that the epicenter of the earthquake was up in Rolpa and that, amazingly, there had been no injuries and only minor damage.
On Friday morning, I was woken up by Keshab, the hotel owner's son, who was walking passed my window. He kept on repeating: "at 4.44," "at 4.44." His wife Punam had had a baby boy by caesarean section at a quarter to five that morning. Keshab was so full of joy he was telling everyone who was up early to catch the bus his wondrous news.
And this morning on Shivaratri - Shiva's birthday, a little boy was running around the garden and his mum was encouraging him saying softly:
Mero chora Wah! Wah!
Mero chora Wah! Wah!
My little boy Wah! Wah! My little boy Wah Wah!
Every morning over the sound of the mimicking mynah birds and the always-complaining crows I listen to a flock of geese from next-door cackling and gurgling away. I have looked over the wall many times, but they must be kept in a building somewhere because I have never actually seen them.
They cack and groan and mumble at first light, and then again at dusk.
Especially in the mornings, I have a lot to thank these noisy croaky fowl, as there is the bonus of them covering up the sound of the hotel staff clearing their throats.
Who needs to go outside? Sometimes I just need to let the world come to me.