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February 16, 2009 Kathmandu, Nepal

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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It's 3:30 p.m., and I'm just settling in for a late lunch. We took the motorcycle out to Kalankistan and it feels like I've been to a different country. Kalanki is up on a hill, and is mostly newer buildings, so it feels really open and you can see the sky and the mountains. Laxmi's younger brother gave me a return ride and we took all the back streets. Too bad that I'll never find the same route again, there was a huge old tree that had been made into a temple that I would've liked to see up close.

I met with both Choeden and Kathak yesterday. Kathak always gives me a succinct summary of the current political situation in Nepal. In the last week, it's taken a bad turn for the worse. One of the founding members of the Maoist Party of Nepal has just left the party, he said that he's disgusted with it and all of the corruption and graft within , and that he's going to blow the whistle. He wants to lead the country into (in his words) "the third and final revolution". The U.S. Ambassador to Nepal said that we will still give aid to the Nepalese people, but he made it clear that the support was for Nepal and her citizens, not for the support of the Maoist government presently in power. Kathak compares the situation to balancing on the blade of a knife. Nepal desperately needs foreign investment for infrastructure, such as hydro-electric plants to end these 16 hour long black outs, but no investors want to throw money into such an unstable situation.

Food's here, gotta go --- I thought that I'd had my fill of Indian food, but here I am tucking into a Nepalese thali, or set lunch, which is sort of similar to an Indian thali. It's rice, beans, 2 kinds of curried vegetables, dhal or lentils, plus pickle, papad and tea.