Welcome to Nepal!  With this blog I hope to share a little bit about Nepali culture and update our followers on progress in the field.  For those who don’t know know me or a lot about our project, My name is Greg Tao and over the last 6 months I have been developing a low-cost autoclave for middle income clinics of the developing world.  I am pursuing a masters degree from MIT’s mechanical engineering department and am working very closely with two Nepali MIT students, Pramod Kandel and Shambhu Koirala, as well as Sue Cho, another ME masters student.  We have used their network of family and friends to identify 16 clinics within Nepal that have committed to using our autoclave.  We have designed, fabricated, and shipped all the autoclaves in our luggage and will be traveling around Nepal for the next 10 weeks seeding the autoclaves in rural health clinics.  With that, I’d like to take you through my first day in Nepal.

Pramod and Shambhu picked me up from the airport on Sunday (June 12th).  We were continuously accosted in the parking lot for money as we walked through the parking lot searching for a good deal on a taxi.  We finally found a fair deal loaded in all the bags.  As we took off one particularly persistent beggar kept walking along side the moving taxi hoping for a handout.

After dropping the bags off at the hotel, we hit the streets for some food.  The streets near the hotel are very busy and crowded.  We walked for about 10 minutes and dropped into a hole in the wall restaurant on a side street after meeting one of Shambhu’s friends.  I got to try momo for the first time, which is the equivalent of Nepali fast food. They are essentially vegetable, chicken, or beef dumplings that come fried, steamed, or swimming in a chili sauce.

your typical side street in downtown of Kathmandu

We headed to see the tourist sites around the city after lunch.  Below are a few pictures from the adventure.

Shambhu and Pramod touring around Basantapur, a famous tourist area and hangout in Kathamndu

Gateway into the park in the city center

Kathmandu's "central park" (left)

Kathmandu's "central park" (right)

After a long day of touring, we finally settled into the hotel.

Pramod and Shambhu watching TV in the hotel

We’ll post more as the adventure continues. With that I will leave you with the Nepali salutation Namaste, which is used for almost all formal greetings and goodbyes.