About dentists, paan and drums.

Note: written on June 19, 2011. Published on June 25, 2011.

So here I am, sitting at a small table in the Pilgrims Book House, the best bookshop in the world. Having a black filtered coffee and an Indian paan with fruit as a rather belated breakfast or not even early lunch..

Thing is, this morning I had to see a dentist at the Peoples Dental Hospital in Kathmandu. A filling had popped out a couple of days ago and although I have no pain whatsoever I am scared that the root canal will get infected leaving me in great discomfort later. Problem is, they couldn’t help me as I would have tot come back a few times for repeated treatments during the coarse of twenty days and that is totally impossible as I will leave within two days for Biratnagar and then travel by road to Damak. Which is by the way during the monsoon not such a nice voyage at all. Anyhow, they couldn’t help me except for giving me pain killers for when the pain sets in and some advice on what tot do and not to do.

So, I’ll stick to my daal bhat diet except for an occasional fried rice or pizza (if available) and I will have to survive until July 23 and my return to the Netherlands to get it fixed. I better make the best of it and pray to Buddha to be kind to me and save me from toothache until then. While I sit at my small table someone calls my name. ‘Hi Alice!’. As I am on my own in Kathmandu and most of my friends are out and about in other parts of the country I am totally surprised. It’s Badri, a gay journalist I had met a while ago and who is staying here with his friend. Just one table away. He is interested about how my work is progressing and we talk a bit about the novel and the filming. In the meanwhile the naan arrives. It’s actually an improved version of the Dutch pancakes with chunks of apple, tomatoes and cashew nuts on it covered with some cinnamon, ginger and raisins. It’s delicious. Something that cannot be said of the coffee. The naan is a good choice for a brunch. Tasty, not too sweet and it fills your stomach just to the extend that an Everest beer can accompany it.

The music in the background is a combination of drums, flute and guitar with an extremely challenging rhythm. Trikal is the name for it and I really like it. A lot. It’s I think a percussionists dream as it has an abundance of complicated and compelling percussion patterns is it. And it’s at times fast. Very, very fast. By the sound of it, it’s being played on the traditional Nepali drums which can be played with the full hand and the individual fingers at the same time. One side of the drum gives a low, bass like type of sound while the other side sounds similar to a conga. It has the general sound that can be heard from small djembé’s but with less echo as it doesn’t have that much space inside. I think I’ll get me one as I really like it. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a shop selling these drums in Thamel but I don’t want a too expensive one. On the other hand I can always go to the musical instruments shop next to Boudha stupa that will definitely sell them and probably at more affordable prices.

Alice © 2011