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November 2008

October 2008

Halloween in Kathmandu!

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The pumpkin at the Saturday Cafe drew wonderful reactions.  Local kids, tourist kids and especially the Tibetans delight in the 2-faced pumpkin.

The signs are still not quite ready at Amar's.   Seems that the translation of Zen Dog into Nepali caused a bit of a glitch.100_3793

They had no problem with "Avoid these cats!", however.   I'm so happy that the guys at Pushipathi (Amar's studio) sold a Danger Dog to a passing tourist!  Yes!!!  A commission of a sheep dog was sold.   This is just what I have always wanted.   But Purna was smart enough to sell it and make another (with a green background this time). Last June, I went to pick up at Mahesh' studio in Naxal and he apologized and said he'd sold a Danger Cat to a tourist.   I said, 'that's great! -- just what I want! Of course, you made another for me?'   Of course, he hadn't.  (What I want from this project is a local renaissance in Danger Dog Art in Nepal -- I wouldn't mind the renaissance spreading to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri lanka, Burma, etc. etc. in the future --South Africa!)100_3799 100_3792

Above is Amar with his new stack of orders, and the repainting started of the Sheep Dog!

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Jackie, below, is a Tibetan mastiff WonderDog with thick red hair.   Jackie has a placid but alert disposition.  He's also the randiest dog I have ever met.  While I've found a swift forefinger/thumb jab in the throat works at all times for me, Jackie sometimes scares men with his passionate and ardent and demanding 'greeting.'  He is big and does not know the word 'No!' or pretends not to.100_3810


Asha went to Saudi Arabia

Bad news!   One of my very best artists -- and certainly the most professional of the bunch -- left Nepal for a 3-year contract in Saudi Arabia.   While this allows them to make many more times the money they could here in Nepal, sometimes these workers get in trouble over there.   A bait and switch kind of thing.   Sent to one country and then shuttled off to Iraq (for instance) for hard and dangerous labor.   Hope this is not the case for Asha.   He is probably in his thirties, and I hope the best for him and will miss his beautiful Dogs.  Here is his lovely Sophie!   

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I'll miss him, and hope that he prospers there and will be able to send his kids to a good school here in Kathmandu.   Private school is really a necessity here in Nepal, and very expensive for a Nepali.   At least 6000 Nepali Rupees a month per kid.   With salaries so low here, that's a tough nut to crack, so Asha joins the ranks of Shree, Vinosh and Biman in going to work abroad.


Preview of Amar's Danger Dogs

And a cat or two.   Here goes:100_3751_2

And these are just a tease!  Here are Betty and Grace peeking out of the dark awaiting their lettering.  More to come tomorrow when the finished signs are promised.  Of course, today is one of the biggest and most fun holidays of the year!  Bhai Tika, where all brothers are honored by their sisters, and hopefully, the sisters are blessed in return.  Lots of food and fun and malas (flower necklaces made of marigolds and gomphrenia)  and lots of chocolate is passed around.100_3755

Looks like Lazarus and Chewy are taking the next bus to Delhi! 

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Floy and Kayla are in the wings.   More tomorrow.  The internet cafe is closing now!    Leg's a little better.


Kukor Puja! Nepal's Day of the Dog!

The second day of Tihar is devoted to the Dogs!   Dogs are feted and fed special treats, garlanded with flowers, and given tikas (red or orange or pink powder meant as a blessing)!   100_3601 100_3614 Dan took this photo of 2 boys and their lucky pup.   I'm also attaching a photo album of some more lucky dogs!   No Chicken puja for the girls at right.   

My leg's been screwy for a while now.   Went to a Tibetan healer!   He is reknowned in the area and spent some time massaging my left hip and but, all to no purpose.   I have never been so sore.   Cannot walk.  It is definitely giving me some compassion for the crippled beggars that are everywhere here.  Those of you who know me know that a big part of my persona is a confident, quick walk, covering a lot of territory quickly.   Now I'm Hopalong Cassidy!   Though it helps to walk on my toes as if I'm in heels!   So Dan and a Canadian friend, Daniel Collins, went out and shot these Kukor Puja dogs!   Daniel Collins said "there's lots of dogs he'd like to shoot."    Of course, Tihar means festival of lights and lights mean fireworks!  Which drives the dogs crazy.   The dogs of Boudha barked early tonight!

The next day is dedicated to the cow and everyone's house is lit to welcome Laxshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.  There are fireworks and lights all around.   Lights built into the Tibetan Buddhist family homes, often in shades of red, orange, white and yellow.   Sometimes blinking.  Even the taxis have magenta and purple lights where the spoilers would be.  Everywhere you hear big blasts.   The electricity goes on and off here, everytime it goes back on, you hear the yells and whoops and cries of joy!

Because of my wonky leg, I spent the day at the Dragon Guest House.   You've seen the photos in the album -- not too hard to spend 24 hours here.   Monks playing soccer/football is my view from bed, giant pot of (pretty) good coffee and homemade bread today.  For Laxshmi Puja Day, there is a quasi-cultural show.   Everything from traditional to disco with young Nepalis dancing.   The ladies who work here at the Dragon got to dance a bit.  Later, lots of fireworks and lights from the rooftops.   Full-grown monks giggling at the fireworks outside the local produce market.  Green lights over an orange wall, red and yellow Tihar lights above, I just wish Patricia Chidlaw could see this and paint it.  The little Lhasa Apso who lives on the next rooftop is being circumspect for a change -- not barking as he often does.  The fireworks look like lightning, the sounds are human, not traffic.  In the driveway below 2 teenage boys do cartwheels to impress a teenage girl.

Altogether a great Laxshmi Puja Tihar.  May the Goddess of Money make all the world happy this year!


Found a new sign!

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We found a new Beware of Dog sign on a gate!  Below is the little noisy guy you are to beware of!

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And here, below, is my favorite Stupa Dog sleeping off the Kukor Puja Day festivities!  Last May, she had 6 puppies.

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