I see Lenin! Soviet Socialist Iconography in Nepal’s Maoist Protests Posters

Socialism, with Nepali characteristics

First, the upper half of the poster is framed by imagery of missing Maoist members, reinforcing the message of sacrifice and martyrdom for a greater cause. Flags showing different manual labour tools frame the lower half. I am not sure if these represent different unions, but they’re a direct copy of Soviet posters that use the flags of all the Soviet states.

Upper half poster imagery

Next the upper portion of the poster contains a Soviet and a socialism reference. In the upper left, the hammer and star flag over the world is a direct descendant of earlier USSR flags over the world produce by the Soviet Union.

Read More

On the Worship and Value of Red Bricks in Kathmandu, Nepal

To worship at the red brick altar

Bricks are of great value in Nepal. You know this even before you arrive, as brick kilns sprout like grass across the Kathmandu valley, conspicuous in their number as you approach KTM airport. They populate the countryside – more than houses or roads – producing millions of red bricks.

Do not be fooled into thinking that this means red bricks are common. No, even though you see them piled everywhere from street corners to back yards, they are very valuable.

Read More

Look Ma, Mount Everest is right there!

Pointing out Mt. Everest

At dawn this morning, Bryan Berry, Tony Anderson and I climbed aboard Buddha Air Flight 102 from Kathmandu (KTM) to Mt. Everest. It was a little twin-engine turbo prop with just one seat on each side of the aircraft, so everyone had a window and isle seat.

And here’s why that mattered: we flew along the Himalayan range from Borile Lakpa to Makalu, including Mount Everest herself.

Read More

Kathmandu Traffic Jam Taxicab Driving

My preferred conveyance

Nepalese learn how to drive on small country roads that have no defined lanes, shoulders, or rules. And when they get to Kathmandu’s mix of narrow side roads and few four-lane boulevards, they continue their lawless driving with great flair.

Here’s a video of my taxi ride from Patan to Kathmandu, through one of the many epic Maoist-inspired traffic snarls:

Read More

How to Mix and Pour Concrete Floors by Hand in Nepal

Back-breaking concrete mixing

How do you pour concrete to build a new second floor on a house in Kathmandu, Nepal? By hand. Yes, every single ounce of cement is mixed, moved, and set by hand.

First, the concrete ingredients are put into the mixing hopper. Gravel, sand, water and cement mix are all shoveled in with hand labour – not even wheelbarrows are used! Gravel is shoveled by two people (one working the shovel, the other using rope to help) into a basket strapped to the body of a third laborer who walks it to the hopper.

Read More