Well happy new year every one. It is officially 2073 here in Nepal. Last night was New Year’s Eve. Quite a party it was too!
We spent yesterday on the road from Khamding to here. A long, bumping, dusty, hot, – did I say hot and dusty and bumping – day. But we made it here safely which is more than can be said for the 30 passenger bus carrying around 70 passengers which went off the road a short distance behind us. Dropped its outside wheels into the soft shoulder and rolled some 200 meters to the bottom of a cliff. 24 people dead, others airlifted to hospital here in Kathmandu. A sadly typical accident resulting from reckless driving on narrow twisting poor roads. This is one reason why I’m more than happy to pay the extra money these days and travel by privately hired jeep. Some of the roads here are appalling, but the real problem is the lack of common sense displayed by many drivers. They pass on blind corners, they drive too fast for the conditions, they seem to feel that as long as they have honked longer and louder than on coming traffic they will get the right of way – whether or not they are on their own side of the road…..and the over loading! The current excuse is that due to fuel shortages because of the embargo there are less vehicles in the road therefore more people must pile into limited public transport. Well maybe that is partly the case – but I’ve seen overloaded local busses here since I first came here. Overloading equates to three people to a two person seat, sitting in the isles, and clinging to roof tops and bus sides. I hope someone is held accountable for this latest entirely preventable loss of life and injury….but would be most surprised if anything changes.
By the way we didn’t see this tragedy but word spread very quickly driver to driver via cell phone – dialled and answered while driving of course. A sad New Year’s Eve for many.
My New Year’s Eve was blissfull. First I had the first hot shower and hair wash in three weeks. It was a proper shower and properly hot. My white bubblely body wash turned brown. I needed to scrub down twice to achieve clean-ness! Next was the donning of really clean clothes – my loose fitting khurta – perfect! Then dinner which wasn’t potatoes. Then – still feeling the motion of the jeep – I staggered off to bed drunk on fatigue.
Despite the general racket of a city’s inhabitants celebrating, and the dogs raising their eager voices in excited agreement with the festivities, I slept well between short bursts of wakefulness caused by the numerous New Year’s related noises.
This morning Tendi, and the three kids came over. I gave the assorted gifts, we had cold delicious mango lassies then set off to shop. First a baby gift for Puri’s future baby which Tendi will give them in due course. Then a silk flag like ones I saw hanging on several houses during our trek. Tendi was able to track down a shop that sold them – in of those out of the way places I’d never have located on my own. Then somehow into the Sherpa dress store to look at some pretty summer fabrics I might like to take home – and before I know what’s happening I’m being measured for a summer weight Sherpa dress. Better for trekking on hot days….. This it seems is going to be a gift from Tendi – I’ve been well and truly outwitted on this one.mit all happened with the smooth swiftness of a very well planned operation…..
Tendi – his diabolically sneaky move complete – is very pleased with himself and takes off to do numerous pre trek errands while I take the three kids back to the hotel for finger chips and Sprite – their chioce of a perfect snack. Tsheri now has a motorcycle – yes he’s old enough and most likely sensible enough to have one. He first drives Nima home then comes back for Phulu. What a good big brother.
I now have a couple of days in Kathmandu. I hope to visit with a few people I know from previous trips and continue picking up a few things requested by friends. The weather is hot and muggy so I think I’ll spend some time reading in the Garden of Dreams. I’ll try to post a few more pictures but expect the internet here will be too slow. I don’t imagine there will be much else happening that will be note worthy enough to write about. So expect this to be the last dispatch from this latest adventure in Nepal.
Thanks for reading. To those of you in the Comox Valley – See you soon.