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Below is an email I sent right after our evacuation. It was late September or early October 2004.


I have been promising an update for awhile. This is sort of heavy on the time before the evacuation as I wrote it right after the fact. However, I realized if I kept waiting to write something complete, I would never get around to it.


Laura had her flight to Switzerland today (September 4th). She was supposed to fly into Kathmandu yesterday and then out today, but due to the rioting and subsequent curfew in ktm the planes haven’t been flying. So, yesterday morning when we found out the planes still weren’t going we booked a taxi for Kathmandu. We were hoping to make it to just outside Kathmandu yesterday and then slip in during the curfew break in the morning – they had been allowing people out to buy food between 6 and 9 AM. We were making okay time when about 60k from Birgunj we came to bridge that was out. There were two Tata trucks stuck in the river that had tried to drive across. One was tipped partially over in what was probably 8 feet of water. I started looking up and downstream hoping there might be a shallower area where you could walk across. A couple guys tried downstream, but, no luck Then I saw a guy a couple hundred yards upstream trying and he made it across. I headed up to try and cross and see if I could arrange a jeep on the other side. The river was about 50 yards across and the first time I tried I chose poorly and was almost swept away. I lost both my teva’s; the current was strong and literally ripped them off my feet. I tried again following a different guy and made it across. I arranged a taxi, went back across and got Laura and all our stuff. We paid a couple of guys to help us carry stuff across and went back across (mind you I still have no shoes and we have to walk through the woods on both sides). Luckily, by the time we had crossed with our stuff the river had already gone done around 6 inches. We found out later that 2 hours before we got to that bridge buses and trucks had been easily driving across. It seems we caught a mini flash flood. When we arrived at where our jeep should have been, he must have found other passengers because he was gone. As it was twilight and no more vehicles seemed to be coming we got in, or should I say on, the only bus left. There was no room inside but luckily a guy gave Laura his seat and came up top with me. The top of the bus was very crowded but until it started raining was kind of nice. Even the rain wasn’t too bad since someone had a blanket and 15 of us huddled under it keeping partially dry. We got to Birgunj and went to Clarissa’s house. She worked for a good 4 hours to arrange us a jeep to Kathmandu. The problem was that the good road was out and no-one was sure about the bad road. On a good day it takes 6-7 hours to get to Kathmandu and Laura’s flight was at 1:00. We wanted to leave immediately but due to curfews certain towns on the way were closed. We tried to plan to leave at 3:00AM so we would arrive at Hetauda as the curfew lifted at 4:00 but no driver was willing to leave that early regardless of the money (probably due to maobadi fears). She finally got us a driver who agreed to leave at 4:00 and we actually left Birgunj before 4:30. By 6:00 we were stuck in another creek. After about 40 minutes of pushing and moving rocks, still no shoes, a TATA truck showed up and pulled us out. The rest went smoothly and Laura made her flight today. As for my feet, they hurt – a lot.

I hid out in a hotel in Kathmandu for another two days until the curfew ended. During one of the breaks I ran out and bought a pair of really ugly Adidas sandals which proceeded to give me a small blister (this was Wednesday). Being Nepal, it got infected. On Friday (the same day Laura came back), I took the GMAT at the American Center, it was bombed, and I ended up in the hospital. Luckily, it was bombed 4 hours after I left and I was in the hospital for the infected foot. It swelled up to twice its size and I had a serious staff infection. I was on constant IV drip for 3 days. Sunday the hospital had an ambulance take me to take my statistics exam and then I was back in until Monday morning when I convinced them to release me. I went straight to a meeting at Peace Corps where they announced the suspension of the program. They were going to move us all to a central hotel on Tuesday and we would start flying out Friday. We were not to be allowed back to our site. Laura and I talked it over and decided it was worth the risk. We couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to Urmela Didi and her family. We booked a flight for Tuesday, 7:00AM with a return on Tuesday, 1:00PM. As flights are cancelled regularly and Peace Corps were picking people up from the airport that were arriving from there site it was a higher risk proposition then it sounds. Our flight left nearly on time and when we arrived in Biratnagar at 8:00 we managed to change our return flight to 10:30AM. We then raced into town, visited with Urmela Didi and her family, went to our house and grabbed our stuff, paid for the next 2 years of boarding school for Sangita, and said our goodbyes. It was very hard but for a nice change my Nepali didn’t fail me and I was able to say what I wanted to say. We piled into a jeep and raced back to catch our flight. We made it back and managed to slip past the Peace Corps jeeps and get back to our hotel where our friend Venu had managed to convince PC staff that we were in our room and there was no need to worry. We spent the next Wednesday and Thursday filling out paperwork, and settling bills. Friday we flew to Bangkok. Thursday we were done with Peace Corps and out on the street.

We spent a nice week in Bangkok and then came down to Phuket. Luckily we have had the chance during those last days in Nepal and in Thailand and to spend some time with our friends from Peace Corps who we have become very close with. We are currently staying in the same place where we got married. It has been nice but a little stressful as we try to figure out what we are going to do and apply for MBA programs. Today we bought tickets home and will land in San Francisco on the 25th. We both look forward to seeing everybody and hope you are all well.