Trouble in Nepal

Sunday 15th January 2006.

Bombings in Kathmandu

When we returned to the hotel we found out that the political situation had worsened overnight. There have been several bombings in Kathmandu and elsewhere and some police or soldiers have been killed. The manager informed me that I couldn’t stay as I had hoped. At 1pm he drove us to Bharatpur Airport but told us there were no flights today due to the fog. He went there to arrange for a driver to take us to Kathmandu. We drove through several army checkpoints along the way. The people are getting a little tense about the situation and the manager, although calm, seemed to be very cautious.

Another night at Chitwan

On arrival at the airport there were no drivers willing to take us to Kathmandu because of the trouble. The four hour drive had now slowed down to become at least six hours with long waits in an army checkpoint near the capital. Kane spoke on the phone to a Peregrine official in Kathmandu who really gave us no choice. There were no flights that day and no reservations for us in the coming days. Kane and Jade needed to be in Kathmandu the day after tomorrow (Tuesday) to catch their flight to India. Added to that there were no drivers willing to take us to the capital. We had to return to the Royal Park Hotel for another night, at Peregrine’s expense I might add.

Concerns

This situation concerns me but I am not worried. It has reinforced my decision not to try to get to Tansen. Bhairawa airport has also been fogged in and has been closed for several days. The fog does not look like disappearing; it is so calm. It would also be very risky trying to get to Tansen by road, not to mention expensive, if one could get a driver. Then there would be the difficulty of returning in time for my flight home. My only other options are to wait until Sunday in Kathmandu, or try to arrange an earlier flight home. I could even try to stay an extra night in Bangkok and even Melbourne on the way home.

Anything could happen

The manager has promised to take us to Bharatpur tomorrow morning, leaving at 6am. If there are no drivers there willing to take us, he will personally drive us there. The downside of this is the vehicle, an old short wheel base Land Rover. The road is very bumpy and the seats barely cushioned. Going early may avoid much of the traffic but not the pot holes, twists and turns. All through the drive this afternoon I kept watching out the back window. I expected to see one of our bags bouncing around on the road. They were just put on the pack rack on top with nothing holding them in place. A potential positive about driving to Kathmandu is the fact that, being tourists, we may be given a quick passage through any checkpoints – theoretically. In the current political climate this is only a theory. Anything could happen.

 

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