Like the universe’s expansion it would seem that climate change is accelerating too! For whilst Australia burns here in Nepal we are having a second monsoon. The average precipitation rates for the winter months are normally a 20-30 millimetres, the product of little more than fog and early morning dew. However for the last few weeks it has rained and rained and rained. Whilst I have not measured it, for I never expected it, I estimate that in excess of 50 millimetres perhaps nearer 70 has fallen here in Pokhara.
The net effect has been to give the local winter crop of mustard a boost, and like a Wordsworth poem the terraces here are awash of golden mustard flower. It has similarly had a second benefit for Nepali’s are not used to working in the rain and so the constant noise of excavators and concrete vibrators has for now been silenced. For Sedi and Gorgeous Village are no more. The last two winters I spent here were quite heavenly. I would awake early in the morning, open the door and return to bed from where I would be serenaded by choirs of song birds. Up and until the construction of the cable car begun it was tranquil enough to appear remote.
Pokhara whilst small in city terms, having a population of just 300, 000 is growing. Hemmed in by mountains there is little room for expansion. Sedi was close enough to lakeside to make it within walking distance but being half way up to Saronkot gave it the illusion of being remote.
However it’s peace was first disturbed by the sinking of a tube well. A boring rig grinding its way through lumps of rock all day and night shattered the peace until it found, 230m down, the 10,000 ltrs of water needed to flush the toilets of the planned cable car.
Then came the ground works: earth moved, steel erected and hundreds of thousand of tons of concrete poured. A massive honeycomb of beams and lintels and buried within, a giant floating concrete support. Perhaps as much as a thousand tons of concrete was used to build this support for the cable cars that will ferry tourists and locals up the mountain to watch the sun rise or set. A sun that will as a consequence set on Sedi.
It is though a white elephant, a cable car that goes to nowhere. There is no village, or at least not one yet, just a concrete viewing area. It is admittedly a beautiful view, one I should have by now had many pictures of. However as well as the rain we have been shrouded most days in fog. It burns off with the rising sun, but the dawn I have been meaning to capture has been constantly obscured. But I knew this when I saw the construction begin. I knew that I was seeing this beautiful little village disappear.
The land I looked at in 2018, the two terraces and the greenhouses are no more. They were fortunately silts and so not good land for growing anything but rice. Noewr both the largest terrace and the greenhouses have succumb to apartment blocks. The future residents will though have a fine, if crowded view of the lake, one I myself have enjoyed, but the birds and the butterflies have fled.
The days I spent chasing them with my camera are over. Much to my surprise, for I came hoping to capture more, to be like a child, running along precipitous edges thrilled and charmed by them. Instead I am an old man lamenting their demise.