Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Long Path Home

Yesterday Molly and I walked home from work in Baluwatar because we were afraid of getting stuck in the gasoline strike related madness. The government controls the filling stations and when they open briefly during a strike the cabbies and other motorists have no option but to take their place in unbelievably long lines. Where these lines cross other streets traffic jams ensue. According to my map, it is about 3.5km from work back home to Freak Street which is fine except I was burdened with my laptop.

Pedestrians NEVER have the right of way in Kathmandu. This the first rule of survival in this city and one you must never forget. However, it just one day I am already developing an intuitive sense that moves me along with the flow, navigates the dung-filled potholes, narrowly avoids the motorbike that stops right in front of me without warning, and moves me out of the way of the rear-approaching cars and bikes. There is a strange rhythm to all of this and I can see that I will get used to it.

Noteworthy things from yesterday’s journey:
I experienced a near-goring by a cow. Tightly hugging the side of the road (to avoid being run over) we closely passed an oncoming cow and her calf. Molly took my picture as I walked by the cow right after which the cow sharply turned her head and horn into my rib cage. OUCH!

The military were out in force in preparation for today’s announcement of the new Republic. Ain’t nothin’ like passing by out-pointed rifles held by troops in barricades along the street. But for those of you who ten d to worry, don’t. REALLY. I’m safe here. It’s an everyday thing here and the residents have a very nonchalant attitude about it.

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