Feeling bored? Nepal to the rescue!

Monotony – a word without a practical meaning in Nepal. You will never get to use this word to describe life in Nepal. Nepal and monotony simply don’t go hand in hand. In fact, I believe that Nepal should be used as an antonym for monotony. That’s how far apart they are.

I have been in Nepal for a bit over two years now, and I can tell you there has not been a boring moment this whole time. I don’t mean that I’ve been having a crazy party-animal time all along. It’s nothing like that – most definitely nothing like that.

It’s like this: there is always something happening in Nepal that makes life entertaining, exciting, frustrating, difficult and edgy. Let me explain this by using some real-life examples. Since I came here two years and 3 months ago there have been:

  1. More than 20 days of bandh. Bandh is not just a regular strike. During bandh, no vehicles are allowed to ply, and the ones that dare are often vandalized. Same goes for the shops. Often times, shops that open get vandalized. This means that people either need to stay at home and use annual leave, or walk to work. Most walk. You would get no vacation days left at all if you use your annual leave each time there is a bandh in Nepal. Kathmandu is not as bad, but in some places in Nepal bandhs can last weeks at a time. The longest one I’ve experienced so far in Kathmandu was 10 days at the time of parliamentary elections. Talk about inconvenience (and exercise)!
  2. Constitution has been almost reached and then the deadline extended 2 times. Each of these times involved a large number of protests, bandhs, gas shortages, and other annoying disturbances.
  3. SAARC meeting meant closing of the main roads in Kathmandu for several days, and traffic regulation on an odd-even licence plate system. Although, in retrospect, this was kind of nice. Not much traffic, and a very clean city.
  4. Earthquake. No elaborating needed.
  5. Constitution promulgation which, the same as no.2, invited a large number of protests, traffic jams and congestion, bandhs and even some violence. Although, it didn’t end there. Months of protesting and political unrest (read: difficulties in finding common language with Indian minority and politicians) have caused one of the largest inconveniences so far. There is no fuel in the country. No fuel means the following: extremely long lines at gas stations (up for a 15-hour wait, anyone? and you only get 10 liters of gas per week); scarce public transport (because everyone is in the gas station line) resulting in overcrowded buses and people treacherously riding on the roofs; no water as the water tankers cannot reach houses without petrol (bye, bye flushing); food supplies in stores running out (and people running to shop and stock up); airlines cutting down on flights as there’s no aviation fuel… and the list goes on and on. It’s crazy how dependent we are on the fuel. One thing affects the other and the other and so on. Currently, Nepal is a perfect example of what the world will look like when it runs out of oil. Although the world will probably be a lot more chaotic than this. Nepalis are so cool about the whole situation. Me – not so much.

If you ever wondered what it feels like to live an adventurous life on the other side of the world, do consider coming to Nepal. It will not disappoint. I cannot promise you will find spirituality and inner peace, though. You’re more likely to discover ulcers.

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I am back! (didn’t even realize I was gone)

Whoa… wait… four months? I’ve been MIA from my blog for four months? That’s crazy, and seems completely impossible. Time flew by. Life has definitely changed after the earthquake, and days have somehow been going by faster, for whatever odd reason.

Mr. B and I are still around, still doing our thing. Kathmandu is still our home. A bit more scary one than before, but still a home nonetheless. Slowly, slowly, bit by bit, life went back to normal for us over the past few months. We again found our way back to our favorite hangout spots. We again started going shopping, resumed cooking, and living on the top floor of the house. Sleeping up there was a bit scary the first few nights, but it seems like that was a thousand years ago, and these days we sleep like babies (when neighbors are not singing, or when dogs are not barking, or when random guys are not revving their bike engines in the middle of the night…).

So what is Nepal like right now? Lots of places, mostly outside Kathmandu, are still in a very difficult situation, with people living in tents through a very heavy monsoon. Relief efforts are still undergoing, despite the lack of news about it in the media. Life has not been easy for earthquake-destroyed villages in Nepal. If you still haven’t done so, consider donating to relief efforts in Nepal. It will be much appreciated.

The focus of everyone in Nepal has now shifted to the most historic event in Nepal recently – a constitution promulgation. Nepal has been trying to come up with a constitution since the end of the civil war back in 2006, and after lots of back and forth, hundreds of days of strikes and protests, finally the happy day has come. I am watching the signing of the constitution on TV as I type this. It’s pretty fancy. With lots of colorful balloons, flags and horses. This is a really big deal – congratulations Nepal! Oh when I only think back to recent months of fist fights and flying chairs in the parliament – it seems now all of it was worth it. Not to say, it offered for some great entertainment to common folk. Hopefully things only get better for Nepal from now onwards. Apparently, now Nepal will be “an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive democratic, socialism-oriented federal democratic republican state.” A little bit for everyone right there.

For us, Mr.B and I, things won’t change much. All that changes for us are the seasons. We go from all night-long fan, to closed windows and thick comforter. Right now the weather is still hot during the day, but the winter is slowly creeping in. I can feel it in the crisp air in the evenings. Kind of nice, if you ask me. Pretty soon I’ll be sleeping in my socks again. I got low blood pressure; don’t ask.

Recently I had my own personal historic event in Nepal. I got food poisoning. It took me more than two years to experience one, so I suppose I can be proud of that. But this food poisoning thing, let me tell you, doesn’t play fair. It hits below the waist (no pun intended). I got it after eating one of my favorite things in Nepal – momos. Oh the irony! Hopefully, I’ll be able to forgive momos one day for letting me down, and we can be back to being best friends. However, I am pretty confident that’s not happening any time soon. Now, samosas move to number 1 spot on my Nepali snack list. Let’s see how long they stick around.