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Nepal - Chitwan - Part Two
All around us we see conditions ever so much better than those in India. People are farming with oxen and buffalo, but their crops are good and their homes, though small, are tidy and freshly painted. Little kids call and wave to us--but they do not beg from us. Children in school uniforms file down the roadsides morning and evening. We saw a Tai Kwan Do class out for a run this evening, and kids playing soccer and cricket. To us, Nepal so far feels much more "normal" than India.
This evening we talked with the owner of the Sapana Village resort where we are staying. He is part of a Dutch program to bring entrepreneurship to Nepal, and has built quite a nice place here. His main problem is the cost of energy and the unreliability of local electric power. He has a generator, but cannot afford gas to run it 24/7. However, he is planning to install solar panels to get around those problems.
Nepal's electrical energy crisis is due to global warming. With the Himalayas to provide snow and ice runoff, it's no surprise that when the country developed electric power they chose hydroelectric. But the winter snows no longer fall. We are here in mid-winter, and there is only a light powdering of snow on the mountain tops. No snow, no runoff, no water in the rivers, no hydroelectric power six months of the year. Only during monsoon season and immediately after can the power plants work efficiently.
We were forewarned, so we brought flashlights, but there are candles and matches in our rooms. We are far out in the country, so it is very dark here at night. Also quiet. This is the only place we have stayed that doesn't have television, not that we care. Who needs television when we have elephants?
Our tour is winding down, and sadly, we are glad. It's been too hard on Lois, Eric, and me, and we are very tired. The tour was misrepresented to us, so our fellow travelers think we are either stupid to think we could handle a GAP tour at our age, or a bunch of old fogeys who gripe too much. That is not the kind of impression we are accustomed to giving.
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