I leave Santa Fe and get stuck in Kathmandu

I left Santa Fe on time. But a slight delay in my Bhutan visa required me to wait a week in Kathmandu, a wonderful city, but not for breathing. In the end it all turned out all for the best.

In Santa Fe, my 3 weeks went fast, filled with errands, meeting friends, and shopping for gifts for my family in Bhutan. I stopped at the La Fonda Hotel in search of shoes. They decorated their tree with Southwest Christmas ornaments.

I wore my Bhutanese kira for a dinner gathering, where I shared a slideshow of my travels. It was held at Pomegranate dance studio, thanks to my dear friend and hostess Myra Krien.

I helped my hostess Myra Krien and her partner Roblair decorate the Chrismas tree. Roblair made 1,600 Christmas cookies – chocolate chip with dark brown sugar and cream cheese frosting. OMG – an amazing production line! This is just a small fraction of the cookies he gives away to friends every year.

While I was I Santa Fe, my Bhutanese sister Ghalem received approval from the Bhutan government for our tour company “White Tiger Bhutan Tours”. There is much work to do. We’re planning our first tour. Stay tuned!

My niece Pari lives in Paro. She asked me to bring her a pair of Sketchers Sparkler shoes. How could I refuse?

Yep, I found Pari’s shoes at Famous Footwear store. She approved them immediately via WeChat. This is just one example of gifts I’m bringing for family in Bhutan.

Bhutan is cold, so I figured socks were a good gift. Here are a few of the socks in my suitcases.

My last night in the US was spent with my dear friends Drs. Angelique and Sunhawk. Sunhawk gave me a REAL beaver hat from Alaska. It has thick fur and ear flaps that pull down! This will be my prized possession if my Lama doesn’t steal it.

I arrived in Kathmandu only to discover that a snafu in my Bhutan visa required that I stay in Kathmandu. It took about a week to resolve, and everything turned out perfect.

With nothing pressing to do, I decided to clean up my blogs and optimize the photos for faster loading on mobile devices. It’s chilly in Kathmandu, so I invested $1 in a pair of gloves and cut of the fingertips.

It could have been a lonely Christmas, however I took a 10 minute walk over to the 5-star Hyatt Regency. Their dining hall was packed with guests from all over the world. This brunch was a major culinary show! I tried a small fraction of their offerings including curried chicken, hummus, artisan bread and butter, fresh cheeses, roast turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, Indian mutton bone broth, arugula scape salad, mince pie, chocolate mud cake, plum pudding, and coconut panna cotta. The guy with the chef’s hat was serving gelato with rum spiked cherries flambe’!

My Christmas brunch selections at the Hyatt. As you know, I get very excited about food!

The spread of desserts at the Hyatt was amazing. I tried a Coconut Panna Cotta. Wonderful!

I noticed Golden Milk and Turmeric are all the rage in the US right now. We’re finally rediscovering the value of this plant, used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Turmeric stimulates blood circulation. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it destroys many types of cancer cells. Yep, turmeric just might just be a major resource in healing many modern chronic maladies that we see on the rise.

Not to be left out, I invented a series of Golden Milks for my blog. I took them to Himalayan Java Coffee to try. The staff were very enthusiastic, and wouldn’t allow me to pay. Above is Golden Cashew Milk with Turmeric, coconut oil, and black pepper, created by Soujan, barista!! Truly yummy! Recipe coming soon on my blog www.janeshealthykitchen.com.

 This is Basic Golden Milk made with hot tea, full fat milk, turmeric, and black pepper.

But before you start sprinkling turmeric on everything, you need to know that curcumin is poorly absorbed in the body and has minimal impact on blood levels when taken alone. Here are four ways to improve absorption:

  1. Always eat tumermic with black pepper: Black pepper can greatly improve absorption of turmeric in the body.  In one study, when taken with 20 mg of piperine (active ingredient in pepper) per 2.2 pounds of body weight, it improved bioavailability of turmeric by 2000%.
  2. Add some fat: Turmeric is fat-soluble and thus much better absorbed when taken with fat. Examples of fat are coconut milk, coconut oil, MCT oil, animal fats, butter.
  3. Heat it: Heat is said to increase the solubility of curcumin (the primary active constituent in turmeric) by 12 times, which may also make it more easily absorbed in the body.
  4. Eat turmeric with quercetin-rich foods: Quercetin, a flavonoid, is known to inhibit an enzyme that inactivates curcumin. Adding turmeric to quercetin-rich foods can increase the absorbtion of turmeric in the body. Foods rich in isoquercitrin include leafy vegetables, broccoli, red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black tea, green tea, elderberry juice concentrate, juniper berries, carob flour, bee pollen, cocoa powder, chia seeds, moringa, and some fruit juices. Click here for a list of foods highest in quercetin.

Today’s special treat was Hot Chocolate Almond Golden Milk with Turmeric. Having way too much fun! Hot turmeric with black pepper and high-quercitin cocoa is easily absorbed in the body. This was made by barista Akhilf Rajan. Very delicious.

My favorite was Banana Golden Milk Frappe. Oh yum! This is Maniisha. Recipe coming soon on my blog www.janeshealthykitchen.com.

It’s my last night in Kathmandu. Soon I’ll be back in Bhutan. Everything feels perfect.

Bags packed and weighed, my flight for Bhutan leaves tomorrow morning. I’m going home!

While I was away, my Lama found us a house on a hill near Paro! I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve only seen this photo. Everybody in the family likes it, so he moved our things there yesterday. I’m very happy to have a place to settle. I’ll try to embrace the Bhutanese way of life. This is the beginning of an important new chapter.

Paro is 1 hour west of the capital Thimphu. I’ll soon be teaching English here.

Thanks for stopping by! If internet is available in Bhutan, I plan to post a travel log each week…

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