Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Dodging cars in Kathmandu

I’ve seen my fair share of insane traffic in my time: Beijing, Nairobi and Antananarivo amongst other places, and now Kathmandu. It’s probably not as congested here as in other cities in the world, but it is insane nevertheless. Scooters, tuc tucs, cars, buses, bicycles, cows, trucks, rickshaws, cars and other vehicles (I even saw someone on a skateboard today) all vying for their bit of the road: a wild, noisy, gyrating dance of humanity through the city.

Hooting (yes, that’s what we call honking of horns outside of North America) is a constant and standard method of communication. Not so much the aggressive hooting one finds in first-world contexts, but more of an “I’m just letting you know I’m here, and I may overtake you into oncoming traffic, so may need to veer in front of you suddenly so as not to be killed. Hoot hoot. Just saying.”

The sheer number of motorbikes and scooters is quite astounding too. These use any road, path or alleyway wide enough for them, which gets interesting when walking in the old parts of the city.

Very different here, compared to Antananarivo though, is the road users’ courtesy towards each other. Traffic actually moves around circles (albeit slowly) and people do give way for each other. But crossing the city’s main arteries is, as you can imagine, a dice with danger for pedestrians.

What this mass of vehicles (and the fact that Kathmandu is in a valley) translates to is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Without fail, my friends would wish me well when they heard I was flying here. “Enjoy the clean mountain air,” they would say. It’s anything but. One of these days I will venture out masked up, to try to capture images of the haziness of it all.

In the meantime, pray for rain.

Colourful Rickshaw

Colourful Rickshaw

Two motorbikes passing each other

Two motorbikes passing each other

Typical traffic (who said anything about rush hour?)

Typical traffic (who said anything about rush hour?)

Classic couple

Classic couple

Bike parking spot

Bike parking spot

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4 comments on “Dodging cars in Kathmandu

  1. derekmidgley
    July 15, 2015

    Funny, in my minds eye there were no cars in the Himalayas 🙂 Learn new stuff everyday. Take care!

  2. derekmidgley
    July 15, 2015

    Afraid I can’t go back in to my comment and insert the missing ‘ into mind’s eye .. aah, too bad… great pics btw!

  3. Mabel Saul
    July 17, 2015

    Whaw too risky

  4. There_Lot
    July 20, 2015

    The two motorbikes passing each other..wow

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This entry was posted on July 15, 2015 by in Nepal, Travel and tagged , , , , .
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