Thursday, October 27, 2011
So with our full day back in Kathmandu, we decided it would be a great idea to rent some bicycles to get around to all the sites. Stay on street level, get some exercise, &c. &c. So after some touristing, we rent some bikes just before the shops closed (in order to use them the next day) and ride them back to our hotel before dark - through city traffic. It was one of the more difficult/harrowing bike-riding experiences I can recall, up there with biking "the World's Most Dangerous Road" in Bolivia. There were some creeping doubts that this may have been one of the stupidest decisions we had made in some time. Way worse than the decision a couple days previous.
And then, the next day, as if by magic, there was a one-day automobile strike. In some constitutional standoff, some opposition group had declared the general strike demanding that, as a demonstration of solidarity, nobody drive. This was occasionally enforced by citizen roadblocks, but they seemed only barely necessary because it was very widely observed. I don't know if we would have been able to catch taxis even if we had wanted to. So we cruised around the streets of one of the more chaotic and traffic-choked cities of the world, traffic free. It was fantastic.
We took advantage of the empty streets to make our way to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu region, about which, more tomorrow. Pictured above, someone else on a bicycle, for those not familiar with this foreign technology.