May 4, 2001

Manose, the virtuosic flutist who is a part of Pamela's troupe came by for a little experimentation. I played one of my tunes and he picked it up immediately and, before you know it we had a nice arrangement worked out. Hopefully we'll be able to record some pieces together after the initial frenzy of getting past these BIG concert gigs. Approximately 500 kids appeared for our first concert held here at the Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu. Pamela has structured the show as a world tour in which she and Jambo/Emile drop in on different parts of the planet and interact musically and narratively - quite an interesting and successful way to introduce the school audiences to diversity concepts! I was one of the long "lay-overs" in North America. It seemed to work! After this I had quite a bit of downtime, which has given me the time to try to absorb "Century of Light." It requires a considerable amount of tearing down old outworn pre-conceptions for me, so it is a struggle but very worthwhile. I hope everyone gets a chance to pore over it. I've also had a chance to visit with quite a few of the staff here at the Hyatt. The staff seems to outnumber guests by about 10 to 1. I never asked how much they make but it's gotta be minimal, yet everyone is amazingly and sincerely cheerful and content despite the fact that, even though this is the "best" hotel in Nepal, no one has the right equipment to do their jobs. The stairs are swept with feather dusters, the grass clipped with scissors, the pool area is scrubbed with simple kitchen scouring pads. I asked our driver, Prem, about this, and he thinks that it has a lot to do with the caste system. He says that there are 36 castes with the Brahmin or priestly caste being the highest. He identifies as member of the Grun (sp?) caste which has to do with the fact that he is of pure Mongoloid extract from a remote ethnic or indigenous Nepalese area. It is all very curious. I 'spose that I could get a book and read about it, but I find it great to pursue my self-discovery approach. I'm amazed at Prem's ability to maneuver through the hairiest traffic situations, conditions that would have the average US urbanite fuming. And there's no evidence of any anxiety from anyone! These people are certainly operating on a different plane of consciousness from the one prevailing in the US. I'm eager to go out and make some more observations as long as I can avoid getting swallowed up in the mass of humanity and traffic. Another amazing thing is to see that the bovines have complete rule of the streets. They can lie down in the middle of the busiest intersection and create gridlock in all directions, and this is completely tolerated and accepted as natural. Imagine how fast this would result in instant hamburger elsewhere. I asked what would happen if someone accidentally smacked into one of them, and the response was that this was never even contemplated by anyone? More later. Love, Kevin