Friday, August 6, 2010

Prime Ministers, Toaster Ovens, and Shipping Products from the U.S.

Politics & Prime Ministers
So the Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned five weeks ago. Does Nepal have a new Prime minister yet after three different votes? Nope. Most of it seems like politics as usual in Nepal to me. There was an interesting take on it in an opinion article in Republica today. The article basically makes the case that the coalition that formed to force the Maoists out of power needs to hold or there will be a People's Republic of Nepal. The article struck me as a little alarmist, and though I certainly am not a fan of the Maoists, I don't see any of the other political parties riding to the rescue any time soon. The Maoists actually seem organised and have a plan that they are following through on, to ends that I'm sure will not be good for Nepal. The other parties, instead of offering a real alternative seem to exist mostly to legitimize the government bureaucracy that fleeces the people here of more of their money then it seems to provide in meaningful services and often stands in the way more then helps development in the country. That's my take for what it's worth. The article in Republica by Kanak Mani Dixit can be read HERE if you are interested.

Toaster Ovens
The other day I broke down and got a toaster oven, as I hadn't baked anything in about seven months. Having gone so long, I was immediately quite excited with all the opportunities that opened up. Chicken and eggplant parmigiana? Check. American Style Nachos (full chili and vegies)? Check. Bruschetta? Yes again. To those of you sitting comfortably in the first world none of this sounds like much to you I'm sure. Try going without an oven for half a year and your perspective will change, I promise.

The only problem is that due to some damage at one of the hydro power plants we are back up to eight hours of dreaded load shedding again. They seem to pick the worst times to cut the power too. Today I was about to make some lunch in my new favorite appliance and the power got cut....and didn't come back on for four hours. Sigh. When I plugged the oven into one of my outlets powered by my battery the inverter started beeping, which I took to be a bad sign and quickly unplugged it. They also seem to like to cut the power right around when I make dinner, and although I normally can find the "Power Assassination Schedule" on lline, I haven't seen the latest one, so cooking is a bit of a gamble at the moment.

Shipping Products from the U.S.
After a lot of work, and quite a bit of bureaucratic hassle, Harilo is finally ready to take orders. I am no longer directly involved in this, as I am concentrating more on writing and trekking, but Kim and Akshay have put together a fantastic website and the shipping rates are far better than I ever thought we would be able to get. 

So if you are in Nepal and are dreaming of the many items that are for sale in the largest retail market on the planet, please check, the pricing is very competitive and they have a first rate system in place to track and deliver your goods from the U.S. to Kathmandu. I Have no doubt that I will be using the service for books that I can't get on Kindle, new customized laptop (mine is dead) and new hiking shoes (my old ones are falling apart). I'm probably going to get Frank's Red Hot sauce too, as it is sad to live in a place that doesn't know the glory that is good hot sauce. Anyway if you live in Kathmandu, check the website out and if you've never really shopped online before have fun discovering why this is increasingly how the rest of the world shops!

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