Katmandu living

the van de Wiel/Schou Hansen family blog

While we were still in Yemen I published a photo of our house as it looked like in Google Earth. This time I will just publish a link where you will be able to see our house and the neighborhood around us. If you click on the link below you will get to a satelite picture where our house is under the small cross in the absolute middle of the page. From there you can surfe around the city


According to Nepalise wisedom the coldest two weeks of the year are the two weeks that we have just entered. So we are gathering around the fire and the gas-heaters though it actually feels like it has become a bit warmer the last couple of days. The good thing with the cold weather is that it is becoming quite clear at least a couple of times a week. So today I went up to our roof top to get a clear shot at the Himalayas - I know I have done this earlier but this is the first shot from our house and I never become tired of looking at these massive mountains.
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With the temperature falling into the lower single digits and seldom getting up over 17c, we got our gartner Santa (and no - his last name is not clause) to go and buy 500 kilos of firewood - Our driveway is rather steep and so is the road leading to our house so getting half a ton of wood all the way up here was quite an adventure but they managed and we can now enjoy ourselves infront of a nice fire in our fire place - we had our last fireplace in Mexico and there we were not allowed to burn real wood (we used to burn brickets instead) so it is a nice addition to have a real functioning fireplace again.
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It seems like we are getting a new schedule every second day these days with new timings for load shedding - Friday we got a new schedule with 16 hours of planned power-cuts so if the cutbacks continue with the current rate we should have no electricity at all in a month or two. With the lack of electricity we are also getting all kind of other problems - without electricity water can't be pumped up, so now there is only 110 million liters a day to fulfill the demand of 230 million liters that are used in the Kathmandu vally.

After we have moved in and started to get a bit more settled, some of you have been asking for photos of our house. It hasn’t seem to satisfy people that I repeatedly publish photos of our living room – I have of course been doing this as this was the only room in the house that was organized enough to show to other people. However, as it will probably take some time before we are fully organized I have given in and photographed the whole house. On this blog you will only see our kitchen and Liva’s room with her increadible cool bed (locally produced from a drawing I made on the back of napkin). To see the full tour of the house you will have to go to our Flickr page by clicking here.
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It is of course nice when Lieke can combine one of our trips out of town with a bit of work. So when we went down to chitwan to see the National park, Lieke used the opportunity to visit some schools. So what follows here is my series of typical Unicef school photos.

We have now lived outside Europe for the last 12 years and have been used to the problems of living in the third world. However arriving in Kathmandu has still been a bit of a shock. We are now on a schedule with 14 hours of planned power-cuts a day. So our newly installed inverter is working overtime and I think that this is as much power-outage it can take. Should the power-cuts become longer, the inverter will simply not have time enough to recharge the batteries between power-cuts. Anyway, with the lack of a efficient electricity grid our lifestyle have become rather green. To make the inverter last longer we have changed all light bulbs to Energy saving bulbs (9W on average) and all our hot water is coming from our solar system on the roof. As the hours of sun in the winter is less and the days are colder, Lilly and Rama went up to clean the solar system the other day to ensure what we are getting full value – still the water is only luke-warm on some days which is rather hard as it is really cold in the mornings and evenings.

We have now finally moved to our house. In what seemed like a real Christmas story the container arrived on the 24th of December. As we are living on a rather big hill and traffic with bigger trucks are not allowed during daytime in Kathmandu, the moving company felt that it would be best to repack the container to smaller trucks. I therefore went down to the river where the container had been parked since it arrived late the evening before and followed them repack in the morning mist.

The moving people were really efficient and by lunch time all 230 boxes and pieces of furniture had been moved to the house and the majority of the moving people went home leaving us and the two remaining people with the unpacking. However, we still managed to make the living room ready for the Christmas celebration at night through the food was not quite up to standard with Fried Rice instead of the usual elaborate dinner. Below is a picture as the living room looked on Christmas eve.

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