You have to be a fan of Fawlty Towers to understand this reference. I am, and I could hear O’Reilly’s voice this week as we drove around Kathmandu. Everywhere you look there was fresh paint on walls (and dripped over sidewalks) as the city starts to smarten up its a act in preparation for hosting the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) conference next month. The organization has eight member countries (Nepal, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Pakistan) and basically all the new paint is about impressing the neighbours when they come to visit. The press has promised a government sprucing up of main arteries that foreign dignitaries are likely to travel. The budget seems to be for paint and flowers…not much else.
Work is well underway in our neighbourhood, with mixed results. I am noticing how much cleaner and fresher the city is, but at the same time, they are also painting over impressive artist murals, and slapping the stuff around over old brick walls that looked better with an old patina than a badly applied coat of paint. At least the paint companies are happy! Here are a few photos from the efforts around town near us. It should be noted that all the photos were taken within a five minute period…there are that many people all painting at the same time:
This community water source looked pretty good in old brick. Now it has sloppy white paint all over it. This one’s a fail.