Sunday, 14 July 2013

Dance and dinner anyone?

To my dear readers (all 8 of you), I would like to humbly prostrate myself in front of you and beg for your forgiveness as I missed a blog entry last week.  Although I am nowhere near a professional, it is still not proper for me to miss a post with no advance notice.  The fact was, I had a little bit of writers block which was exacerbated by a week spent reading and learning administrative documents, sitting in day long training sessions and attending validation meetings (which is hardly exciting).  Regardless of the reason, it still isn’t good enough so I submit myself to whatever punishment you deem necessary!  However, I ask that you wait until I’ve finished this week’s post until you administer it.

So, what I have to talk about today is a dinner I had last week!  Not just any dinner though…this was a ‘traditional (pronounced touristy - Ed) dinner’ that myself, the SMT and our UWE guests went out for, to celebrate the successful validation of our college.  What resulted was a great night filled with food, drink and good conversation as we all relaxed after a long week and sat down to break bread together but I figured I should talk more about the dinner itself, rather than the work aspect.

Now, don’t take my touristy comment to heart: whilst I do prefer seeing the real side of a country, I still do enjoy doing touristy things as well and this was a fun evening which I would recommend.  As I arrived at the entrance of Utsav, I was given a Tika (a mark worn on the forehead) and then was shown to a long table in a large hall.  Unlike many restaurants, this had 3 massive tables running up the centre with a few smaller tables on a balcony.  Obviously, this establishment is aimed at larger groups and, by sitting at this massive table I did feel a little like a Viking at a feast.  It’s the simple things in life you need to focus on!  After the other guests arrived, the fun began with some traditionally dressed servers bringing round a shot of ‘raksi’, a typical Nepali drink which I have spoken about before.  Think Grappa and you’re getting close.

With my stomach warm from the shot, the food was served, beginning with some traditional cooked potatoes in a bronze bowl (most of the crockery was metal ware) followed by a small amount of spiced meat.  As opposed to having the traditional starter, main and dessert, we were going to be presented with multiple miniature courses that allowed us to sample the more traditional fare.  Dish after dish followed, with fried fish (I actually enjoyed this and I don’t normally eat fish…I think my tastes are maturing: eeh gads!), momo and various other sample dishes being served.  These were then washed down with plentiful drinks to the enjoyment of all and, in an M Night Shyamalan-esque twist, I ended up being a spice-tester for a colleague, informing them if the food was spicy (those familiar with my eating habits will understand but basically, I don't really eat spicy food).  Eventually, the main meal came which was, of course, Dal Bhaat: the traditional Nepali meal with rice, meat and lentil soup.

Now, whilst the meal itself was enjoyable enough, it was the entertainment which was especially interesting.  I've already mentioned that we had been sat a long viking-esque table but what I didn't mention was that there was a large stage at the foot of the table, where a range of traditionally garbed dancers would appear and perform traditional Nepali dance to musical accompaniment.  These dances represented some of the traditional dances from different ethnic groups within Nepal, including the Kumari, Tamang and Muruni and all were dressed in some spectacular outfits and accompanied by Nepali instruments.  My particular favourites were the demon head costume (similar to a Chinese Dragon) and two young ladies who danced with flames on their head.  Now, it was a controlled fire but still, braver than me.  Although the traditional dancing was great to watch, the particular highlight for me was watching out guests be drawn up into the stage and participate with one of the dances (thankfully, yours truly was spared thus...or the audience was).  They seemed to enjoy it though and it will be a great memory for them!  All in all, a fun night, if very tourist orientated.  Don't expect much conversation during the dances though.

Pick of the Week

Iron and the Soul - Now, I'm taking a slightly different approach today and linking you an article today as opposed to a video/game/website.  This link was sent to me by Michael (as are most things) and is on the Nerd Fitness website but it really got me thinking about my own approach to working out.  Now, I work out 5 - 6 days a week but the article made me think about why I was doing it and about how I mentally approached it.  I won't talk through it much as it may negate the impact you receive but if you exercise, I would recommend giving it a read as it won't take long and it may just open your eyes. 

Music of the Week

Who doesn't love a bit of hard rock?  Who doesn't love music that will get your foot tapping, blood pumping and head nodding?  Who doesn't love somebody dressed up in a vampire outfit?  If this song doesn't improve your day, even just a little, I'll give you your money back.  Introducing Danko Jones - I Think Bad Thoughts

Well, that's it from me this week!  Again, sorry for missing last week's blog!  The punishment may begin now!

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