October 10, 2016.
This week in Nepal: Dashain! (Pronounced "dah-sai")
Dashain is one of the most important festivals in Nepal, in which people focus on spending time with their families. For Kathmandu, Nepal's largest city, this translates to a rapid emptying as many migrants from other parts of the country return home to their villages and families. And by "many" I mean: Kathmandu's usual population of 3 million shrinks to 1 million during this time.
Most stores are closed, the streets nearly empty, and those few left in the city spend their days playing cards with family and friends (alternatively: wandering the streets drunk on festival cheer). Goats are slaughtered, and it's very difficult to find a bus.
For me the festival means:
- No work!
- It's rather more difficult to feed myself with most of the shops and restaurants closed.
- I have to walk almost everywhere, or try to barter for a reasonable fare with one of the few taxis left running.
Fun fact: this is first time I've felt able to breathe properly in Kathmandu.