Friday, December 11, 2009

Our final day in Kathmandu...

Our final day in Kathmandu we had lined up a taxi driver to meet us at the hotel and take us to two other squares that are must-see sights along with a monastery. We had a full day to us, with an overnight flight back that was leaving at 23:00.

We were up, had enjoyed a quick breakfast, and were talking to the hotel staff about other things to see and how long it would take to get to the airport when they told us we wouldn't be able to get a taxi to the airport because there was a strike on. What?

Oh, a late flight should be no problem but not during the day because there are no taxis now. And what about the taxi that we arranged the day before? "He might show up if you are lucky..." He didn't.

And this wasn't just a taxi strike, this was a nationwide general strike which meant that nobody worked at all. The streets that we couldn't walk down the day before due to masses of people, bikes, motorcycles, and cars were mostly empty, only a people and a few bikes. There were a few small stores open and some people selling veggies in the market, but the only other people working were the riot police that milled around at ever corner. The strike was called by the government to try and clam people over some killings that happened when they were trying to evict some squatters from a forest. Yeah, something like that, google it if you want to know more...
Now, I'll admit that I don't know much about running a country, but I'm guessing that telling people that they can't work one day and getting everyone to just wander around isn't the best way to prevent a riot from breaking out.

The airport was still working though, flights were going in and out, and to accommodate people there was a shuttle for tourists that went to the airport from the center of town. Getting to/from the center and your hotel was your own problem. We did see a lot of people struggling with suitcases, but lucky for us the strike only lasted until 19:00 so we would be able to get a taxi.
We were able to wander the sights we had seen on Friday when we got in, we missed some sights that we wanted to see. Tina lost a 300 rupee deposit on a shirt she was having made since the store was closed and we couldn't pick it up. Not the day that we were expecting.

Luckily the hotel still served food and beers, we sat in their courtyard playing scrabble, listening to our iPod and just enjoying the perfect weather. I suppose that it could have been worse.

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