5.03.2017

Nepal: A Trekking To Hakula, Solukhumbu 2. A Room Without a View

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Kathmandu
Tribhuvan International Airport is a world a part: you can't get in without a ticket, not even to greet a friend or to help with the luggage. I stand in the exit hall scrutinising the crowd by the other side of the road, colourful and noisy in the hot fading sun. Finally I see Lalit vehemently waving: he's been waiting one hour at least, while I was queuing for to get my visa. I feel a little guilty because I also spent some time in the toilet changing my travel clothes for a pretty girlish dress, but now he holds me tight and I think the dress is appropriate. The last time we have been together was more than three months ago!
The traffic in Kathmandu is chaotic and messy. Lalit lives in Kapan, relatively close to the airport, but it takes ages to get there, and while the taxi makes its way through that dusty jam of cars, vans, busses, tractors, motorbikes, bikes, rickshaw, more cars, scooters, pedestrians and some cows... I feel a dizziness of hate and love. 
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Kathmandu
But Kathmandu is moving ahead - slowly but steadily... like my taxy. Water is sprinkled on the roads to fight the dust, a 'no horn' policy' is now limiting the tooting in the Valley to reduce the acustic pollution, private burning of rubbish is actively discouraged and... well... they are working on a better paving - at least SOME paving - of the main roads. The tap water isn't drinkable at the moment but an aqueduct is under construction and although that means more digginig, more dust and more mess in the already messy Capital's viability... it's going to assure everybody healty water in a fair short time. 
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Kathmandu
Problems are there, out of the taxy windows. The old buildings damaged by the earthquake (2015) and the new buildings rising without a plann, too high, shabby and daggy. The 'temporary' camp for the earthquake survivors, made of tent, hut and metal sheet shelters. The precarious work conditions and too many children working instead of going to school. Politics is also messy and quarrelsome, still the social parameters are positive if compared to the dramatic situation before the revolution of 2008. Just to say, the absolute poverty has been almost halved, the school attendance has been increased, also in the mountain and rural areas, the gender equality is actively supported. It's a long way, and not an easy one. Just like mine from the airport to Kapan... but finally the taxi stops. There we are.
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Kathmandu
The most of the Nepali people are young, 20 years is the average age - just the 8% is over 60 - and young people often live in shared apartements. Lalit's room is at the ground floor of a three storey block, all painted pink, in a narrow street slightly uphill, not far from the market of Kapathen. The room is small, the window looks on the stairs and the door is always open during the day, because people come and go to use the gas cooker, two gas cyclinders just beside. Then there are a bed, a low small table with an old tv and a hanger full of clothes. Under the window there are two drums with water and two basin to soap and wash the dishes. That's all.
I'm going to sleep on the bed and Lalit on the floor. More or less. But before we go eating some momo in a snack bar down the street. Tomorrow it's going to be a long day of travel to reach the start of our trekking, in the Solo Khumbu, but far from the touristic area of Lukla...

...............................TO BE CONTINUED...........................

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