26 June - 2 July 2015 #764

All is well in Jhamel

Jhamel has escaped the ghost town vibe that inhabits tourist hot spots post quake.
Peregrine Frissell

Jhamsikhel aka Jhamel may not be as popular with foreign tourists as Thamel, but it is precisely why it has escaped the ghost town vibe that inhabits the tourist hot spot post quake.

As evening sets in and children make their way home from school, people and cars start crowding this bustling area. ‘Restaurant Row’, as the street with several higher-end restaurants, bars, and grocers has been unofficially dubbed, slowly starts filling up with people looking for a fun night out in town.

The popular Moksh Bar fills up every night of the week, with its calm backyard patio seating packed with Nepalis and foreigners from around the neighbourhood and far.
The Backyard Grill Joint and Pub is a pleasant stop too. Though it doesn’t consistently overfill as Moksh, the prices are more wallet-friendly and the ambience is more casual and easy-going.

One of the biggest complaints of the local patrons these days is the unreliable closing times. If a bar has no customers, they often close earlier than stated. While this is a common phenomenon in Kathmandu in general, it is becoming more frequent since the earthquake. Due to the steady stream of their loyal clientele, places in Jhamel are less likely to abruptly close compared to restaurants in other parts of the valley.

The popular Italian eatery Vesper Café and Restaurant had to shut down due to damages to its building. But within days, they started serving their delectable cuisine just next door at the Vesper House.

Suraj Missra, a chef at Bakers bakery, said the frequency of local office goers for lunch has gone down since the quake. They are still selling many cakes, but mostly to locals.

Though the heart of Jhamel beats with more gusto than much of the city, many of the residents’ experiences since the quake add to the somber echo chamber that has infiltrated daily life for Nepalis.

Peregrine Frissell

The Vesper House, Anjana Rajbhandary

An opportunity for all: Nepal is open to visitors

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