Thursday, October 22, 2015

Deja-vu in Kathmandu & Team List

We're happy to announce that we are some of the fortunate to have the trust of our customers to
Kathmandu's fuel dependancy today
continue with our climbing objectives in the Himalayas post earth quake, thus allowing us to help bring a small number of people back to work, but not without heartache witnessing a country that has just taken a 24 year economic turn back.

We first came here in 1991 when there was no traffic on the streets and in particular in Thamel. Bikes weren't readily available, only the odd one for rent for a tourist. We remember renting one for a young man we befriended, we asked him to take us for ride around his city. We soon learned this was a bad and dangerous idea as he struggled to stay balanced resulting in a hurdle into a roadside bush of wild hemp. Fortunately vehicular traffic was not a concern back in the day and the bush was forgiving. Walking was the way of life here. Even goods were carried to the shops by cargo porters instead of trucks, their loads were huge and they were exceptionally skilled at the art of weight and balance. Then came the films on Everest, the stories of adventures like no other;  the crowds - the money- cars- and motorcycles for everyone and the thirst for fuel followed but with  consequences. We know we contributed to this but we also know that we contributed to education, families affording sending their children to private schools and universities around the world. Our wages paid out built homes and hung big screen TV's on walls - Nepal rightfully began to evolve.

As I walked Thamel, Kathmandu's tourist district tonight I experienced a great sense of deja-vu. It's
Durbar Square in the 90's 
the Dashian festival. The the lucky ones will have found a way to go home to their villages, but there are also many not so lucky. Due to the fuel crisis at the India/Nepal border, bus prices have tripled and no seat is guaranteed. Hundreds resorted to riding on the roof-tops of anything with wheels and a smitten of fuel in the tank. Fuel is $5US a litre, private vehicles are only allowed a litre or two after a 6 hour wait. There is black market fuel circulating at $16US a litre. Taxi's from the airport to the city used to be $5US now $30US. It's a long story how this all came about, it's said that ethnic groups are standing their ground since the release of the new constitution after 8 years of not having one and living  in peace. The uprising agains the constitution has brought on violence at the border where fuel trucks from India cross. Research Madhesi and Maoist and landlocked Nepal online if you want to learn more of the complexity of the situation.  This situation today is being referenced as Transit Warefare launched on Nepal.  China watches closely. 

Tonight we looked everywhere to find a restaurant to have a meal. Signs were up on our favourite restaurants stating "closed due to no fuel and no food" or "closed for earth quake reconstruction. "  We've been here before. We recall going into an inviting little establishment for a bite to eat in the 90's. The waiter handed us a menu with just 3 items on it. It took forever to receive what we ordered because the establishment didn't have food. The owner/waiter had to find it at the market but not until he was able to establish some form of credit till we paid our bill. We remember the sweat dripping from his forehead giving everything he had to make this sale happen. It is some of these people that are the owners of some of our favoured restaurants on our "must eat at" list.  Sadly due to the the current problems in Nepal they are closed.

Aviation fuel seems to be making it in when needed. We have taken note that a large shipment arrived today. Because of that we are headed up to the Khumbu tomorrow to do a recognizance of Lobuche and other mountains in the area post quake. Our team members are some of my long-time customers from my heli-ski guiding days in Canada joined with some new friends. I'm looking very forward to getting back and checking in my friends in the Khumbu and learn more on how the two disasters have affected them.

Our team!

1. Tim Rippel- Expedition leader/Guide
2. Ang Karsung Sherpa- Base Manager
3. Desh Kumar - Cook
4. Nima Sherpa- Guide
5. Paul Pargeter- USA
6. Greg Pickel- USA
7. Scott Dricoll-USA
8. Herman Hull- USA
9. Jason Snell- Australia
10. Will Goodon- Canada
11. Rob Seeley- Canada
12. Patricia Harris Seeley- Canada

Tim & Becky Rippel

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