Nepal April 2005




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Two-Wheel Heaven

The narrow, crowded streets of Kathmandu make motorcycles king! At an intersection, the motorcycles ride to the front, making a sea of motorcycles. Larger cars, like our own, waded without concern for all the smaller traffic. Size matters, in Kathmandu!

There is a 6-lane highway that circles Kathmandu, called "the ring." Built by the Chinese, the ring makes getting across town possible. The interesting thing about the ring is it allows ALL forms of locution. There are people walking and bicycling on the highway. There are cows SLEEPING on the highway, as well as over 20 forms of motorized traffic, from scooters, jitneys, cars, to huge trucks.

The cows are sacred, so WATCH OUT FOR THE COWS! And pedestrians crossing the 6-lane highway are advised to walk slowly, to appear stationary and so easily avoided by those travelling faster. Another suggestion for pedestrians: don't make eye contact with the drivers of approaching vehicles! If the drivers know that you know they are there, the drivers will expect you to move out of the way.

Oh, and another rule of the 6-lane highway: any lane can be used for any direction! I have seen times when 6 vehicles going one way in each of the 6 lanes are heading at 50 mph towards 6 oncoming vehicles. Somehow, at the last minute, everyone moves aside according to some unkown-to-me rules. One rule: if you are smaller, you move out of the way.

Travelling on the ring is the closest I've gotten to knowing what it must be like to be a packet on the Internet!