Life goes on, with or without easy access to fuel. Gas generators -- life-blood in a city without grid electricity for 14 hours each day -- are harder to feed, but businesses carry on. Cars and motorcycles are harder to fill and taxis are asking exorbitant rates. Minibuses (read: public transport) are correspondingly more crowded. For those in real need, there is fuel available, but getting access is a chore. Earlier this week I captured this scene of the petrol pump on Pulchowk, near where we live.
From one direction, the cars and taxis lined up, snaking their way toward the pump slowly but surely. But not too surely: many cars sat empty as their drivers abandoned them to socialize and pass time during the wait. One taxi driver told us that he waited for eight hours in line the other day.
From the other direction, motocycles and scooters queued.
They converged on the pump after waiting their turn.
A conspicuous Nepal Oil Corporation tanker made an appearance but didn't get very far in lightening the mood.
If there is one thing that has lightened, it is traffic in the city. You see fewer vehicles on the road, and of those vehicles that you do see, some are simply sidelined as they wait for fuel. I wouldn't say that the streets are clear or calm, but it's an improvement. So, the fuel shortage, with its inconveniences and frustrations, has left at least one camp in Kathmandu happy. Just ask this traffic director why she's smiling under that mask.