Saturday, February 27, 2010

Holi War, Nepal

I feel like we're in the middle of a war zone. Dressed in our "war uniforms" of raincoats we must constantly look up, right, left, and behind ourselves as we navigate our way through Thamel, Kathmandu in search of food. We begin each journey by peering out from behind the building walls to the street in front of us to see if our "enemies" are there. And then we must walk as fast as possible to the next alley way to hide if we can't make it to our final destination in time. No, the Maoists have not gone crazy constructing roadblocks again. And no, India and China have not decided to battle it out for Nepal - no, no, it's just Holi. Holi is a day - or weekend really - when boys of any age (far beyond an age when it would be considered cute) fill plastic bags ("balloons") with water, paint, and god knows what else and then proceed to throw these balloons at any passerbys - especially girls. Unfortunately for our sake Kathmandu is a city built on tiny streets and alleyways with rooftops and balconies hovering over you. There is no where to hide. You are guaranteed to get hit from every direction with the greeting of "Happy Holi."

As Kelly mentioned in the last blog, electricity here is comical. Nepal is entirely dependent on hydroelectricity and since it is the dry season, the river beds are low so electricity is more or less nonexistent. But somehow the Nepali boys have found more than enough water to fill these balloons with (to mix the paint in) -- not only wasting water but also adding to the ever-present trash that covers the streets, definitely putting Kathmandu ahead in the running for world's most polluted city. I'm still trying to figure out how this HOLI-day began and what exactly they're celebrating. For now I'm safe in the guesthouse's generator-run internet cafe. But as soon as we get hungry again, we'll have to face our brightly-covered friends in the 'zone. Wish us luck.

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