I am happy to report that Kathmandu has a bunch of new wireless options. Of course, they are not without their special regional brand of complications.
In descending order of completeness:
1-Hotel Annapurna, a 5-star on Durbar Marg, has the best all-round wireless service in their Coffee Shop. The service is FREE for all customers. Translation: You can buy a 100NRs pot of tea and sit there in the AC being waited on hand and foot for hours, using the wireless. There is never a problem with the connection and there are plenty of places to plug in. Plus, one of the cleanest bathrooms in the Eastern Hemisphere. Open till 11pm ish. They do tack on a service charge to the bill, so no need to tip - but the service is excellent.
2-Cafe Galleria is a new spot on Thamel JP Marg. AC, clean and mod, not much to eat but overpriced teas and coffees - but the wireless is free, and again, never a problem with the connection. Open till 10pm ish.
3-The Roadhouse Cafe, just across the street from Galleria in Thamel (not the one in Patan) now has wireless at 30NRs/hour; however, in their zeal to go mod, they neglected to install any extra plug points. Therefore, the entire place is wireless...but there are only 3 or 4 plug points and most are hidden behind heavy tables. Great planning, guys. Nice ambience, relaxing, open till 10pm. They switch of the wireless unless requested to "on" it. Last week it wasn't working at all.
4-Himalayan Java on Tridevi Marg still has their wireless, now at 40Rs an hour, but the waiters have a crappy attitude and about 15% of the time the service is down. Great coffee drinks, though. They say they close at 10 but actually kick you out at 9 and are not nice about it. They do have a few more plug points available than Roadhouse. Traffic from Tridevi Marg gets very loud and stinky around rush hour.
5-New Orleans Cafe: their "Free" wireless, which their flyers tout as available from opening time till 7pm, is not so "free" when you get your bill. They charge you for plugging in to "current" - regardless of the amount of time spent! As Asian travellers know, it costs about 50NRs a MONTH to plug in a laptop, of course. Some regulars have worked it out where they just don't pay it. Great food, nice ambience, waiters have crappy attitude. Sometimes problem with connection - and often verrrry slow.
The New Orleans branch at Boudha also claims to have wireless now. I haven't checked it out. It is by far the nicest ambience in Boudha but they do close verrry early- 8pm or even earlier.
6-the famous Kathmandu Guest House has overpriced wireless (about 50 NRs per hour) in the terrace. Great surroundings, decent food, indifferent service and the last time I bought the password, I couldn't get it to work. And, they wouldn't give the money back.
7-I am listing DREAMS GARDEN (on Tridevi up the road from Himalayan Java) last only because I have not tried it out first-hand. This beautiful former Raja's private garden, aka "Kaiser Mahal," has been restored and now charges tourists 180NRs entrance, but it is a real class act of restoration inside with Versailles-type folly gardens, fountains and flowers. The wireless in the restaurant is 30NRs an hour. Open till about 8pm unless there is a special event. In order to get your rupees' worth on the entrance you need to go early.
8-Also, the Yak & Yeti, Kathmandu's original five-star on Durbar Marg, has wireless, but I haven't checked it out.
I should add that when I read of the conditions "on the outside" - that is, in Greater Nepal - I feel bad complaining about wireless. District officers kidnapped, beat up and held hostage by Maoists, witch hunts against helpless rural women, all kinds of medieval stuff. Puts things in perspective. We don't have it so bad here in town.
Or, even compared to Delhi... where 3 out of 3 places I went for wireless were "not possible today meddem." And India fancies itself as a tech capital.
You're OFF the Air!
The Mao-Baddies are busy working toward the Constituent Assembly November deadline. Their latest contribution to democracy: helping shut down an independent FM radio station yesterday afternoon.
Read the full story here.
Oh, did I say the Maoists did it? No....it was the "labour union" (which they orchestrated and formed) or maybe, the Young Communist League... but NOT the Maoists themselves. Let's split our hairs correctly.
The MEEZ Generation
Just for fun, check out my 3D ID at Meez.com. And, if you want to get your own (prepare to want one) for free, just enter my "code," sirensongs.
The Big Rot Candy Mountain
Last year at this time, I posted a blog with the identical subtitle. Not much has changed. Every couple weeks there is a garbage strike - usually people locking up the dumping /disposal area until they get paid or bribed to reopen it.
The result: accumulated mounds of filth rotting in the sun and, alternately, monsoon downpour. Dogs dig through it, crows pick at it and amazingly, poor people still rifle through it looking for stuff. Outbreaks of cholera have followed in some areas of the city.
It's yet another use for my handy dupatta scarf (covering my face from the REEK and STENCH of the de facto dump). Don't leave home without it!