Sunday, September 28, 2014

Exodus: It's Dashain Time Again

Yeah, that'll be us.
Well, it's time to cue up Bob Marley in preparation for sitting for hours behind trucks and buses painted with Bob Marley's smiling visage as we join the exodus of almost everyone from Kathmandu to almost everywhere else in Nepal that isn't Kathmandu.

It's Dashain again. The biggest holiday of the year. The time of the year to worship the goddess Durga and celebrate her victory over evil by going home to see mom, dad, and all your friends and relatives who have also gone home to mom and dad. Which means ... well, I'll quote Thursday's Himalayan Times:

"Some 1.3 million people have exited from the Valley since September 11, the day when the booking for bus tickets was opened. An additional 1.2 million people are expected to leave the Valley in the coming nine days. Some 3,000 buses are said to leave Kathmandu daily for various destinations. An additional 500 buses have been pressed into service this time on the existing fleet of buses."

Over 70 percent of the estimated 4 million people of the Kathmandu Valley come from outside the Valley, and most go back during Dashain. Like, well, us. An estimated 85,000 people are leaving each day -- at the moment. Which is still the good time to go, to beat the crowds.

We'll be going at the bad time, just before the main days of  the festival. So we'll be on the exact same two-lane road as a good chunk of Kathmandu. In fact, we'll all be in the exact same LANE, because all roads may lead to Rome but only one road, basically, leads to Kathmandu, and no one goes in to Kathmandu during Dashain -- if you're in a Kathmandu family you're already here -- so that'll be, what? A hundred thousand people in a single lane?

Here now, for your Dashain pleasure, is my proposed Road Appropriate Dashain Song. With appropriate scenery and apologies to Bob Marley.

Two trucks bump. All traffic stops, for miles and hours.
Because, well, this is the road. All of it. So whaddaya do?
Exodus, movement of  Nepali people
Exodus, movement of Nepali people

Men and people will fight you down
If you try to get a ticket late
Let me tell you, if you can sit in the bus aisle
Everything is all right

We're the patient nation 
Trod through many tribulation
So we gonna ride, alright
Up and down, up and down on the highway
Then we gonna walk, alright
Up and down, up and down on the mountain 

Exodus, movement of Nepali people
Exodus, movement of Nepali people
Seriously? You want to name your truck
after a famous disaster?

We know where we're going
We know where we're from
We're leaving Kathmandu
We're going to our fatherland
Send us another Durga
Gonna part this traffic jam, alright

Exodus, movement of Nepali people

Exodus, movement of Nepali people

Move Move Move Move Move MOVE, you darn traffic!

But it's worth it, right?
Because you get to see your family!

  दुर्गा पूजा २०७१ को उपलक्ष्य मा हार्दिक शुभकामना !

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