Monday, February 15, 2010

Do they Burn the Bus on Losar?

So Tibetan New Year, Losar, was celebrated yesterday. It is actually celebrated for 15 days, and yesterday may have been the second day of it, but I can't keep track of what is going on. They did have fireworks on Saturday over in the direction of Boudhanath so I have a feeling we were there for day 2 of celebrations. Anyway, we walked over and found that you could get into the square for free (saved us 400 NRS!) and there were tons of people, including a whole lot of Buddhist monks, all going clockwise around that giant stupa. When we got to the far side where the monastery is there was a large crowd and they were preparing for the celebration. Some friendly Nepali police stopped by in riot gear and there was a little pushing and shoving....not sure what that was all about, but they had to move the picture of the Dalai Lama while they were there. After that the crowd gathered, sang some songs and at the end we threw some flour (I think) up in the air. It was all very confusing to me, but it was fun to watch. I've uploaded some pictures from below.

After a short snack overlooking the whole square we decided we should catch a taxi back. Problem was there were no taxis for some reason. Odd. So we start making our way back in the dark, with my biggest concern being the possible stepping in something I would greatly regret (the streets here can be rather filthy). Kim has a little trouble with depth perception, especially in the dark, and was more afraid of ruining an ankle and not being able to go hiking. So we keep going and no taxi's, but lots of police in riot gear. This entails shields, bamboo sticks for whackin, helmets and a few guns that can launch tear gas and other crowd dispersers. They are moving some people around, but as tourists they just ignore us.

So after passing through a market and picking up a candle for Kim we come to a bridge with all kinds of people on it looking at something. The guy we got the candle from had said something about an accident, and as we get to the bridge there is lots of broken glass on the ground, and down by the Bagmati River is a bus that is on fire. It is clear immediately that the bus being on fire is not an accident. Kim wanted to take a picture but with police blowing whistles and moving toward the crowd on the bridge I advised against it. So anyway we continue on back to the house, passing more police and eventually getting home. Once the power came on I was able to get on line and find out that apparently a bus had hit and killed a street vendor, and injured a few other people. As this is the third time this has happened in six months (!) people went about attacking that companies buses and burning them. Apparently there were four, we only saw the one. So here is a link to the article on MyRepublica.

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