Snapshots taken during the 2006 Nepal coup d’etat – Months earlier the King had sacked the government. Martial law had been declared, the borders were closed, curfews were in effect, all flights (internal and external) had been cancelled, Maoists were infesting the countryside, supply lines were thinning out, increasing masses of people were protesting in the urban pockets, and I had to wait an eternity for Abel and his flock of sheep to negotiate this bridge (obviously not by ‘twosies, twosies’).
The “silver lining” of this political crisis was the unseasonably empty tea houses on the Annapurna Trek. Well into the trek I remember shaking my head while passing an extremely fatigued and mildly-combative couple arguing over their accommodations. The wife / girlfriend was on the verge of tears. It was day number three… her day of reckoning. After yet another eight-hour day of climbing and descending, slight hysteria engulfed her upon realizing that once again a rustic tea hut and a tepid “shower” was the only alternative to shivering under the stars. Moments prior, that sense of impending doom that we’ve all experienced upon realizing the impossibility that JW Marriott had yet to make inroads throughout the Himalayas was just enough to nudge her from Denial to Anger.
Later, in Pokhara – Our bus running another makeshift roadblock:
Its never easy to gauge the merits of choking on the thick residue of burning tires vs. choking on diesel fumes spewing from an antiquated bus engine. Oh well, at least we had a supportive audience (note guys waving behind the shroud of smoke)
A warm greeting from the Nepalese.