I'm having a good time in Kathmandu despite all of the Maoist posturing. If you've looked on the internet, I'm sure you've seen reports about the "armed strike" on Thursday and the parades going on throughout the week.1 I guess there was a chance of some violence occurring on Thursday, so Peace Corps told us not to go out on the streets (which wasn't difficult for the education group since we were in a nice hotel in Dhulikel on Thursday for a conference). Nothing happened, though. All of the talk about Maoists, the increased number of incidents in the north and west, and the increasing tendency to blame any untoward event on Maoists (instead of Indians) throughout Nepal has heightened tensions. One extreme act of terrorism, or the wrong politician or PCV parent becoming aware of the situation, could even lead to an evacuation. We're all hoping that doesn't happen -- especially on the cusp of summer (monsoon) vacation. My good friend Tyler, who was previously evacuated from Ethiopia, is especially hoping it doesn't come to that. I'm mentioning all this in the hopes that you won't get too worried if you see any news reports about the situation. All Maoist incidents involving westerners have only involved stealing -- they actually seem to go out of their way to avoid affecting westerners (preferring to target government offices and police) because they don't want to look like terrorists.
I did go on the "trek" before All-Vol, although it was more of a walk into the hills than a trek. We probably walked a total of 15 hours in over 3 days. We spent one whole day in Sundarijal (beautiful water) and played in the reservoir there. No leeches.
I didn't manage to sell more than half of the JWDC mugs, but I sold them for twice the usual price. I'm going to put the rest on display at Peace Corps and at a gift shop we have at the Summit Hotel (where we tend to put "leftovers"). I'm sure they will all sell in time.
Can't wait to play golf again. I could care less about golf itself, but can't wait to do something that is "normal" by my old standards. Everything here seems so unusual -- either too harsh, too extravagant, too gaudy, too dirty, too dangerous or too difficult. There are only a few situations I get into here which feel normal. I can't wait to get home and watch a sitcom on the floor with a bowl of cereal a couple times.
Well, I'm writing from the office (not from an expensive internet cafe), so there are people waiting to use the computer. I'll write again after the micro-enterprising conference.
1 The only news reports I've
found of Maoist activity in Nepal have been from Nepali sources, such as
Kathmandu Post. -- KL