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February 20, 2008 - Kathmandu, Nepal

Written by GingerBlossom Published in

Every year when I went back to Nepal, I used to have the fervent hope that things would be better - now I just hope that things don't get worse. This is a very complicated situation, complex background, changing problems, but the most immediate one is the strike in the Lowlands, or the Terai.

The Terai is the bridge between Nepal and India, and for the last 9 days, nothing has gotten through. Shortages are being felt in all sectors, from oxygen in hospitals, to no fuel for school busses, hence, no school, and huge price increases in food. With the 8 hour a day power cuts, it makes it difficult for business, and the uncertainty of getting a shipment through the Terai to a port in India is going to hamper my buying.

However, all of this is so minor compared to what the locals are going through. The carpet industry here is pretty much moribund, foreign investors are most uneasy about the Maoist situation, jobs are scarce, and inflation rampant. After the 26th , I am out of here, but my worry and concern for Nepal will stay with me. If there are no notes from me in the next couple days, its due to power outages. I'm at my favorite hotel, The Potala Guest House, at least that has a little heat when it has power. And heat is appreciated - I've gone from hot and steamy Bangkok to freezing my butt off with all of the clothes I own layered on. Saw Kathak, Chondon (Choedon) and Raj already just to say hi, tomorrow I need to get down to business, such as it is.