May 23, 2007

Day 123 :: Strikes, Protests and Danger

Day 123 - In Transit

We were warned about coming to Nepal. The guidebooks and travel agents all seem to offer the same caution: "You better check the security situation." Since the Maoist "people's war" started seven years ago, twelve thousand people have died and the quality of life for many Nepali's has taken a downward turn. Numerous blockades, strikes, protests and dawn to dusk curfews now occur in Nepal on a regular basis.

In the past month we have witnessed many of these new realities. On our first walk into the heart of Kathmandu, we observed thousands of Maoist protesting a government that won't allow them a seat in the house. A week later we experienced a taxi strike, where dozens of taxi drivers parked their cars in the middle of a busy intersection to show their disapproval of the Nepali police.

However, during our month in Nepal, we haven't felt even a hint of danger.

All this talk of danger gets you thinking. Last year in Los Angeles, the city that I call home, 402 people were murdered. Some guidebooks even suggest to stay out of certain neighborhoods in the LA area. I was reminded of the perceived dangers in my city a few weeks ago when we spent a day with a couple of Israeli girls. They told stories of being searched when going shopping and of looking out for possible bombers when riding the local bus. But when we expressed our fear of backpacking in Israel, they were surprised. Both girls said they would be much more afraid to visit the United States because "at least in Israel you can walk the streets at night."

I guess danger is all a matter of perspective.


The following map shows what where we have traveled over the past month in Nepal.


julie said...

so interesting. i absolutely loved this post.

Samuel Bills said...

good reminder - at least in Nepal you can walk the streets wearing your hiking bandanna :)

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