Nepal is filled with ancient history and monuments. A bit on the run-down side compared to other famous treasures. But unlike many of the other famous temples and shines that we have experienced in our travels, these are used daily by the local people.
Nepal is also a very poor country ( of the 190 poorest, they are 173) and embroiled in political chaos (Maoist insurgents) so there is little money for preserving history. The good news is that several world heritage organizations are making a difference.
Unknown to us until 2 week before we departed, Nepal was closed to foreign visitors.
In June 2001 the entire Royal Family was massacred and ever since then the country has been in turmoil. It seems that the people loved their King and have suffered under the rule of the military dictatorship. Ripe for rebellion, Maoist insurgents have been waging small but steady skirmishes and have slowly won the loyalty of the people.
In the month prior to our arrival the Maoists and military came to an "arrangement" which basically puts the Maoists in charge.
We did experience some excitement during our journey from Kathmandu to the Chitwan National Park. The only road was blocked (a wall of burning tires) by protests in several locations along our route. They were protesting the arrest of a truck driver that was arrested following a traffic accident.
In all of the political upheaval, new laws governing liability for motor vehicle fatalities (and there are many) came into effect. It appears that if you kill someone with your vehicle you pay a simple fine. On the other hand, if you severely injure someone, you are responsible for that persons livelihood FOR LIFE. I believe it does not matter who is at fault, but rather who is still standing. So the moral here is to backup and make sure they are dead. The man arrested wishes he had.