I simply don’t understand

* Please be advised that these are just my thoughts and are not meant to offend anyone, make accusations, or entice revolt of some kind. I am pro-law and strongly urge everyone to follow the laws and rules of the country and respect leadership and authority. There you have it.

After this short intermission, we now go back to our tales of Kathmandu. I’m not going to lie to you – many a time I get frustrated. I get frustrated because I do not understand (famous line of the Husband but that’s a story in an of itself for another post). I don’t understand how Nepali people can be so indifferent to everything. Don’t they understand that driving in the preexisting lanes and following road rules will only lessen the traffic jam, not increase it? Why does everyone always need to be first on the traffic light when time is not much of a concern here anyways? Don’t they realize that letting someone go in front of you might actually help you move faster? I just don’t get it, and it gets me so frustrated. Sometime in the evenings as I sit in the back of the car being driven home, I just want to jump out of the car, slap other drivers, one by one, across their faces, and tell them they are idiots. OK, that might be a bit harsh. But I do want to roll down my window and explain basics of normal traffic to them. But then I look around and realize it would probably take me months and months to explain it to everyone, so I just give up and try to tone down my frustration.

Why aren’t the police officers exercising their authority in a harsher manner? They just stand there, waving their arms up and down without much effort in enforcing the rules. If they would be stricter, people would obey the rules more. Are they lazy, or simply indifferent?

Fighting traffic in Nepal is a life-risking challenge

Fighting traffic in Nepal is a life-risking challenge

One other thing I don’t understand is why Nepali people are not out in the streets. I mean, they are out in the streets; they’re everywhere, all the time. But, I am referring to protesting. This is a country that barely has any electricity, almost no water (despite the fact that it’s one of the water-richest countries in the world), no welfare or any kind of social security or services for its citizens. And this is all due to lack of good political leadership. Why aren’t people protesting? Why are they taking it so calmly? They are paying taxes, so why aren’t they out there demanding their rights? I don’t understand it and it is getting me very frustrated. I sometimes want to yell: “What is wrong with you people!? Get out there! Protest, demand, ask for what you deserve!” And, no, bandhas (strikes) are not the way to do it. They serve no purpose.

Speaking of bandhas, I don’t understand why no one is doing anything about it. They cripple the country. Because of them, businesses lose money, people lose their jobs, sometimes even their property and lives. Why is no one standing up and saying: “This is enough! This needs to stop!”? Everyone is complaining quietly, in the privacy of their own homes, mumbling something about how they hate walking to work. So, why aren’t people attacking bandha enforcers, instead of letting being bullied all the time? I don’t understand. I simply don’t understand. And it frustrates me.

Nepal is an absolutely beautiful country, sadly without any rules at all. What a shame!

Ina, are we going to die?

I love driving. I adore it. Anyone of my friends can easily vouch for that. For years I have been a designated driver wherever we went. I drove around US, Europe, and all without complaining. One summer I drove 10 hours straight in one direction with my cousin to spend 5 days with a friend in Monte Negro. I am lucky because most of the people were willing to let me drive and were happy being passengers and navigators. Mr.B. is one of them. He despises driving. Before he met me he thought road trips were punishments sent straight from hell. I proved him wrong and showed him that life on the road can be lots of fun, and most of the time he gladly agreed on me taking over the wheel.

I had a hard time saying goodbye to my lovely car when leaving Croatia. My red bolt served me so well for so many years, so I was sad to be leaving it. I knew that once I come to Kathmandu I will not be driving for a while. For two very obvious reasons: 1. the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car; 2. traffic in Kathmandu is insane. Slowly, with time, I adjusted to cars driving on the opposite side of the road than the one I am used to, but I still have issues with my left hand being too uncoordinated for changing gears. I have already, so many times, on this blog mentioned that traffic here is crazy that I think this blog’s name should be changed to “The Traffic of Kathmandu”, but you have no idea how insane things are here. Everyone drives however they want to, and wherever they want to. One lane can easily turn into five and in 100 meters narrow down to two and without any obvious reasons. Dogs and people appear out of nowhere completely oblivious to the buzzing traffic. There’s trash and potholes, and sometimes discarded clothes lying in the middle of the road, and at night you never know what it might be. People jump over concrete divider blocks on the highway and buses change lanes without giving signal. Taxis swerve left and right, and most of the time drive in the middle of the road so you cannot go around them. Motorbikes come from all directions milling around the car like a bunch of ants. To drive in Kathmandu is an overload for all the senses.

Look, this car has a defect! Its stirring wheel is on the wrong side!

Look, this car has a defect! Its steering wheel is on the wrong side!

I have been determined to practice my driving here. First time I sat in the car and drove was a bit problematic. I was scared and couldn’t really change gears easily. I kept driving too close to the side of the road and many a time got stuck behind a slow driving vehicle because I was too scared to overtake. Mr.B. was scared like nothing. He was so tensed I was just waiting for the famous line once told by an old friend while in a go-kart: Ina, are we going to die?

Last night after spending an evening with friends, Mr.B. and I decided I should drive home. It was unexpectedly pleasant and successful. I drove with ease! It probably had something to do with the fact no one was out in the street. I was so confident that at one point I was driving in fourth gear! OK, so that doesn’t sound like much, but let me assure you that driving in fourth gear in Kathmandu is a big deal for me. Now if I could only get out during the day and actually experience driving in Kathmandu traffic, I’d be golden. But that will have to hold off until we cover the car in bubble wrap.