Roger L. Simon

"And the wildest dreams of Kew...

…are the facts of Kathmandu,” Kipling famously wrote in 1895, but I suspect even the great adventure writer would have been disenchanted by the new facts on the ground in Nepal. According to The Guardian “Maoists tightened their grip on Kathmandu yesterday when two powerful bombs were detonated and a policeman seriously wounded by suspected guerrillas who have blockaded Nepal’s capital for a third day.”

Maoists in 2004, who’d have thought it? But who’d have thought our election would be revolving around Vietnam? All the world’s a flashback.

I visited Kathmandu in 1989 on the way to go trekking in the Himalayas with some friends, but I found the city itself relatively uninteresting compared to the mountains and the Sherpa/Tibetan Buddhist culture of the high country (and I do mean high). Kathmandu itself suffered from a retro sixties feel (still does in another way, obviously) with a neighborhood of backpackers dealing hash. I won’t say whether I indulged, but if I did, I promise you I inhaled (but did not bogart). I did have a great trip and always wanted to go back with my family, have Sheryl and Madeleine see Annapurna, just as I wanted them to see Luxor and Abu Simbel, the nubian villages of the Sudan, all places I got to visit. I wonder now if that is meant to be? What’s happening to the world?

But one place we know not to ask for help is the UN.