Tuesday, 20 September 2011
here over there
So nothing much changes - sat alone in a bar of expats and tidy Nepalese folk drinking after work . Goan chill out tunes on the sound system, I'm tired and waiting for it to be late enough to go to bed. I've ordered a fresh fruit juice and Momo (tibetan dumplings) and my mouth is watering and ringing from the chilli. Talk all around me is of the 6.5 earthquake that hit the area two nights ago – the aftershock is still rumbling on everybody's lips.I feel like a disaster tourist,But people are worried about further quakes.I'm thinking they should rename this restaurant Plate Tectonics Kathmandu is like a scene from Blade runner, rain beating down most the time at the moment, permanent, make shift shelters appear to be awkward appendages on already chaotic structures. Vegetables, fruit and meat are displayed under them side by side on the edge of the road along with batteries and other domestic products.Its a drive by supermarket. Cars, bikes, dogs and people vie for space on the pothole flooded throughfare and the lingua franca of Asia the car horn is louder than the thoughts in my head.The roads were built pre cars so there is no room to pass easily and progress is slow but there is so much to look at most the buildings are bare brick but nestled amongst them are truly antique wooden structures still lived in and ornately carved. Always an old brown deeply lined face somwhere catching my eyes as we both watch the world go by, separate orbits around the same world. There's no hope in the sky, clouds flow down from the mountains that surround Kathmandu, woollen glaciers following the rock contours guaranteeing further downpours. My flight was uneventful – fortunate in fact,no delays and even empty seats next to me from London to Delhi,so I slept stretched out for a couple of hours.The flight to Kathmandu from Delhi is always chaotic, dozens of workers returning home from working for up to 2 years in the Saudi t, Nepal has a literacy rate of about 50%, less in rural areas, so many of these men cannot read their boarding passes and sit anywhere completely fouling up any sense of order for other passengers.I got to my seat to find it occupied by a grinning Nepalese bloke, I managed to find his boarding pass on the floor and went to sit in his seat, but there was someone there as well – I gave up and sat in an empty row until even the air stewards gave up trying to do their jobs and we took of twenty minutes late. The flight out of Kathmandu is much the same but with the added quirk of the cabin smelling overwhelmingly of woodsmoke as the workers have come straight from their huts in the village – I Iove that. Tomorrow I meet with Restless Deveopment the education award recipients for Asia from STARS we head for some villages in the hills, they work with peer to peer education on health issues.With 51 in 1000 children dying there is big work being done and they no doubt deserve the award they have been given.