Jim Phelps’ travel log: Full-scale revolt begins

Editor’s note: The following is a travel log submitted by Jim Phelps, owner of Phoenix Traders fair-trade store at 215 7th St. Phelps is traveling through India and Nepal, and will be sending updates about his different experiences along the way. This is the fifth entry in his travel log.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

“Big dark coming …”—Hunter S. Thompson

While I was out of the Happy Home, a lot of stuff has been going down. “Big Weird” is here, and she is upset. And the man was chasing her wearing a police uniform, he was mega-upset.

I got up on this beautiful Saturday morning to the worst fear. Yep, the 7 Party Alliance had declared war on his majesty’s government. Apparently, the fig leaf offering of the New Year was taken as the joke it was by the 7 Party Alliance and the Maoists.

One could almost read between the lines in the reporting. The King said something like: “Hey, guys, it’s like a New Year’s and all, and I know that I have been oppressing you for like, seven years. Why don’t we get together and talk about it? I’ll buy the tea this time. Oh, and can you check your ambitions for a new government without me at the door. Let’s meet, say, sometime this year. I have a vacation coming for a couple of months, and I’ll get back to you.”

I can almost hear the U.S. government officials and families running for the C5A Galaxy that usually does resupply here on Mondays. Being a betting man, I’ll bet it will be a full flight. Kind of like Air America in reverse. No gun drops, but we will be glad to pick up as many corn-fed Americans as we can as we bug out. I got a good view from my rooftop restaurant. I’ll listen for the jet engines as they scream under the heavy load. I would imagine the load capacity will be exceeded on that run.

Today, the Big Weird happened. The local government has a full-scale revolt underway. The outlying cities have major protests with thousands of people attending.

It was hard to protest in Kathmandu. The ring of death that prevented the tourist from leaving Thamel, and the protesters from getting in, went down on New Years.

Fifth columnists, rebel rousers and generally extremely upset freedom fighters have come into the tourist district of Thamel. Not good.

Imagine the Green Zone in Baghdad. Except the Fedayeen Saddam and al-Qaeda decided to put down stakes in the relative comfort of the Green Zone. So, now the protests are being staged out of Thamel.

While I was out meeting with sellers, apparently a group of protesters were chased into the Happy Home as the police hunted them down. My gracious hostess stopped a full-on beating by telling the police they were all staff.

Nice lady, my hostess. She is a Gurkha: Strong and powerful lady, with a propensity to smile. Very muscular and mean, if provoked.

No wonder the British inducted thousands of Gurkhas into their Army. Imagine a female version of Yoda. I’ve always wondered if she kept one of those big Gurkha knives under the counter. One well-placed swing of the knife would separate your head from your body.

So, I guess I will pass the day again on the rooftop. No worries there.

I will sleep well this night. My lovely Gurkha hostess watches over her charges like Mama.

Word to the wise: Don’t piss off Mama.

Jim Phelps is owner of Phoenix Traders fair-trade store at 215 7th St.

From the April 26-May 2, 2006, issue

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