Thursday, November 20, 2008

Advisory: Riots in Kathmandu

So this morning brought fresh news of the student protest in Kathmandu, inspiring me (I wish there were better things that would inspire me) to write up another advisory on travel to Nepal. So here goes.

What happened: YCL (read young maoists) in some remote district captured some youth and kidnapped them. They were later found dead and buried. YCL of course, denies that they were involved. Whatever.

(by the way, this picture is not from this riot. I just pulled it off the internet. courtesy: someone)

Of course, this has started a wave of anti-YCL demonstrations, and in Nepal, demonstrating means burning tyres, throwing stones, closing down shops and establishments, stopping cars and vehicular traffic, and having a friendly tussle with the police, abiet careful if you are in the middle.

However, to put matters to prespective, student protests usually extend around campuses in Kathmandu, and here is a google earth map of kathmandu to show you where the riots and protests would be focussed on. Just aviod the areas marked with circles. Sometimes they also tend to walk towards Singha Durbar, and this can be loud and bloisterous, but never as violent as when they are in their own backyards.

So the advisory is:

1. Avoid hotspots, shake your head in wonder at our system, and carry on with your trip.
2. If you are coming soon, try and pad your trip. Generally a good rule, as Nepal tends to pull surprises at you, and if you end up having an extra day in the end, you will not regret it anyways.
3. Ask locals whats going on and what to avoid. There is no resource better than the situation on the ground, and in Kathmandu, the word of mouth way works best.

On another topic, today was also a mixed feelings day for me about Nepal, if you are interested, read it here on the blog