[UPDATE: 08 May 2010, 2120]
The general strike was called off almost 24 hours ago.
I’ll be going to Nepal after all.
[UPDATE: 07 May 2010, 0110]
Looks like Nepal is a no-go for me.
The violence seems to be escalating and the worried father is saying that it’s not worth it even if locals I’ve been speaking to say that the situation is not as serious as it seems. I understand where he is coming from, but the irrational, adventurous part of me is itching to just heck it and go.
In any case, the team will be meeting up this Saturday to discuss the situation and decide if they are still making the trip and trek.
Time to think of alternative plans. Any suggestions?
When news of the Maoist peaceful protests broke out over the weekend, I started to get a little worried about how this would affect my trip. The timing couldn’t be worse; I’m supposed to arrive at my first stop, Kathmandu, the heart of where the action is, this Sunday.
Owing to the general strike (known as the Bandh), the whole country’s on a shut-down. This means that everyone’s expected to stay home, shops aren’t allowed to be open (save for about 2 hours a day), public transport has been disallowed, among other restrictions. This has resulted in major problems around the country, such as food shortage, loss of daily wages to support one’s family, and in some cases, even death.
For the past few days I’ve been keeping up with the news for the latest updates on the situation there and hoping that the political unrest would ease in time for my trip. But as expected, the situation has not quite been all that rosy and perhaps even getting worse.
My dad forwarded me a news article a couple of hours ago about how tourists are being evacuated and urged that I really ought not to go. I sought advice from a friend who spent a good six months in Nepal last year working as a journalist, where he was often in the crowds and chasing stories of such strikes, as he probably could have made better of the situation. He said that strikes happened all the time, and that it really is quite safe, so I really should not be worried. He did recommended, however, that when I reach Nepal to get out of the mess in Kathmandu immediately and fly to Pokhara instead.
Prior to this news, I was pretty damn certain I would not change my plans at all. After all, the protests were supposed to be peaceful. But I just spent the past two hours reading up in greater detail, and I think I might really need to start thinking of Plan B. Some news agencies have already started to report violent clashes and I really won’t be surprised if this violence escalates. And even if I still wanted to go, I have a feeling that no convincing will be sufficient for the parents to let me go.
I’m now waiting for more news from the ground (our agent and my friend’s friends who live there) and I really really hope that things turn for the better. If not it maybe byebye Nepal and perhaps even Tibet, and just hello China.
Gosh, what a way to start my trip.