Monday, 16 May 2016


Someone once lived here
An increasingly common sight as we move around Kathmandu at the minute is gaps. They are hard to spot initially due to the haphazard layout of streets and the fact that most buildings are squeezed into whatever available space there is between existing buildings in the streets of Kathmandu.

But wander around some back streets or keep your eyes open as you travel around and you will soon see them. The gaps between houses where a house once stood. Not obvious by their presence, but their absence. There is one just a minutes’ walk from our house. About 3 weeks ago they started pulling it down, brick by brick and now where the house once stood there is a pile of rubble.

Reconstruction in the back streets

This was once someone’s home, and while we can’t be sure about each individual house (this wasn’t an uncommon sight in years past) the large number at the minute is no doubt due to earthquake damage. Houses that were too damaged to live in, but not dangerous enough to pull down straight away are now coming down. Many of these were old, but more traditional style Nepali houses, rather than the bland concrete slab – admittedly more likely to be earthquake resistant – houses that have become the norm in the Valley. Real estate prices in Kathmandu have been soaring up for several years and so there is no way that these plots of land will be left empty for long. Once the bricks are removed someone will rebuild. Our hope and prayer is that there won’t be scrimping on quality of products and good quality earthquake resistant houses will be appearing in their place.

Under Construction and Open
On the subject of building, one interesting new construction has popped up about 1km from our house in the past few months. A new mall, with a cinema (our nearest one to this before is about 3-4km away in the centre of the city), and new shops. It’s still under construction, sort of, but they’ve opened it, sort of. 

Stopping for coffee,  while they are welding the building
We walked past over the weekend and decided to nip in and explore. It’s a bit of a culture shock as the design of the mall and some of the shops are taken straight out of the west (including ones we’ve never seen before in Nepal such as Clarks and French Connection). But you can’t forget you’re in Nepal as you try to squeeze past the man on the ladder drilling a hole in the wall to get up the escalator (rare in themselves in Nepal) or step over the very dangerous looking wires trailing across the corridor or watch the man hanging on a rope ladder to paint the outside of the building.

Nepal is changing, Nepal is rebuilding, Nepal is still Nepal.

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