Sunday, 3 May 2015

Nepal Earthquake, April 25th 2015

My Earthquake Diary, Nepal, April 2015

Saturday April 25th Kathmandu 6am-7am: Stupa Guesthouse to Kantipath, just a 10 minute hike part of which involves negotiating concrete slabs and rubble as this narrow road in Thamel is getting some serious maintenance - yes, time to close the nostrils as the subterranean sewerage system is revealed!

Abut 30 tourist buses are lined up along Kantipath as usual, ready for the 7am exodus to those parts of Nepal with tourist appeal - Lumbini, Chitwan and my destination, Pokhara. Time to grab some tea, chapatti and dal for breakfast.

7am- 9.35am: 7am on the dot, no waiting for late passengers as the bus heads away down Kantipath. A few pickups around town and soon we're on what's called the Prithivi Highway to Pokhara. A picturesque scene - picturesque enough to take ones mind off the fact that around here they overtake on corners and think nothing of trucks approaching head on, normal for Nepal! Picturesque enough until the first food, water and toilet stop at 9.35. 

10am - 12.30pm: On the road again, just about 1/3 of the journey completed without incident thankfully. Let's hope I get to lunch in one piece! If that happens then the rest of the journey should be straight forward. The bus stops suddenly, a few puzzled looks since there appears no obstruction. There's a vibration, a kind of fast oscillation for around a minute. A landslide close by probably, not uncommon around here, combined with fuel sloshing around in the tanks underneath is probably the reason. No one seems unduly concerned at 11.55am as the bus continues towards lunch and stop number 2. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Lorong Buangkok, The Last Village, Singapore April 2015

Not exactly a secret, but not widely publicized either - Lorong Buangkok, situated off Gerald Drive and is Singapore's last village. As urban development creeps ever closer the pressure for these villagers to sell up and move on must be enormous, so this is possibly the last chance anyone will get to see a slice of rural Singapore as it was way back when. A rustic environment where houses of wooden construction had roofs of tin nestled between banana plants and mango trees.

The houses are real, the people are real even the plants are real - this is definitely not a tourist set up which may explain the lack of Chinese tour groups around here! So, in the shadows of hi-rise mass housing blocks here are a few, and possibly the last, view of Singapore's only remaining village.