— Hey…. When we were at Tim’s house the other night, did you see all those pictures he had hanging up?
— [laugh] Yeah, I did. Those really surprised me because they weren’t there the last time we were there.
— [laugh] Yeah, you’re right. That must have really been a walk down memory lane because you were in a lot of those pictures.
— Yeah, it was.
— Y’know, there’s this one that’s sticking out in my mind where you have all this paint on your face…
— Oh no, no that wasn’t paint. That was, uh, colored powder. That, um, that actually was taken during a festival that Tim and I participated in when we were in Katmandu. It was, it’s called Holi. It’s just a water and colored powder festival.
— Oh, nice. Oh I loved Katmandu.
— Yeah, oh god I loved Katmandu. You know, when I arrived in Katmandu, it was just such an assault on my senses…in a, in a positive way, in a good way.
— Yeah, yeah, I mean there are so many things about it once you get there that just stay in your mind like the sounds, the smell, um, the people, my gosh…
— Oh yeah.
— …I had a ball when I was there. And, y’know, I thi-, actually I think I would just say hands down Nepal must be one of my favorite places in the entire world. I mean the people there just make you feel so at home. They’re so accommodating, they’re so friendly. I mean they’ll bend over backwards to do whatever they can for you.
— Yeah, I totally agree. I, I love Nepal, too.
— You know the other thing I loved was, uh, the mountains there. I mean, you, I don’t think you can really speak of that country without speaking about the mountains.
— Oh, yeah, well did you notice the one picture of Tim and I, with the mountains in the background? When some people have, when other people have looked at that picture of us…
— …they thought it was very surreal, they didn’t, they thought it was like a backdrop.
— Yeah, I got the same response when I showed pictures to my aunt that I had taken, uh, when I was trekking. Speaking of which, that was one of the highlights of my entire trip to Nepal was trekking. I mean, um, I trekked in the Annapurna region and, uh, just had an amazing time and, uh…. I’ll tell you, I would love to do that again. The trek, uh, was memorable not only because of all the beautiful, uh, scenery that I saw but, uh…. When I went on the trek I went with a guide and a porter…
— …and, uh, the guide’s name was Binaya. And he had a, uh, master’s degree in conflict resolution specifically studying the, uh, the Maoist, uh, struggle that was going on with the government, so…
— Oh, interesting!
— …it really, yeah it really gave me a glimpse into, y’know, what was really going on…
— …so, so I really enjoyed that. And then, uh, the porter who was with us was this guy named Dipesh and…
— …oh my gosh, this guy was so funny. He was like in his early 20s and, uh, he really liked to party and he loved music and, uh…. He loved American music also…
— …or, or western music, I should say. And he actually taught me how to sing a few Nepali songs, so [laugh]…
— …yeah so that was a lot of fun and, uh…. Yeah the entire time that I, uh, was on the trek, Binaya was telling me about the Maoist, uh, y’know, conflict that was going on. And then, sure enough, we actually saw some Maoists when we were trekking.
— Oh really?
— Yeah. We went on this, uh, we woke up this one morning and we went to this one, uh, hilltop known as Poon Hill and…
— …because we wanted to see the sunrise. So we woke up at like 5 in the morning. I mean, y’know, it was so early that, uh, it was still dark and you could see your breath as you were walking. So we got up there and, uh, y’know, had a great time watching the sunrise. The sights were beautiful. So then we were walking down, uh, from the hill, because it was about a 45 minute walk back to the guesthouse…
— …there were some Maoists that were waiting at the bottom of the hill and, um. What they were, uh, waiting for from each tourist was a donation, as they called it.
— Basically what they said was when you come into the country you pay, uh, the Nepali government a visa fee…
— …well, y’know, they don’t oversee this part of the country. We do. So it’s like you’re paying us a visa fee…
— …so they actually give you a receipt. And then if you see Maoists any time later on, you show them the receipt and they just let you pass by.
— [laugh] Oh, wow.
— Yeah. So, uh, y’know, after uh paying off the Maoists [laugh], we went down to, uh, eat breakfast at the guest house. And sure enough there were a couple of Maoists there who were making sure that everyone had their receipt and that everyone had paid. So…
— …yeah, I actually had one of the Maoists come down and sit and, uh, eat breakfast with me.
— He was like a public relations guy. Y’know, he was telling me about the Maoist struggle and y’know, so uh…. So it was interesting to hear what he had to say. And I even got a shot of him and me together so…
— …so it was like, kind of like proof that I had actually, y’know, been interacting with the Maoists.