My Mojos. My krama. My headphones.
They're all going with me when I fly to Nepal this Sunday (finally) to start a long-term observation mission for the April 10 constituent assembly election in Nepal. I was supposed to go last October when the election was supposed to be held in November, but it was postponed (for the second time) when the Communist party withdrew from the government. All's well for now, and barring any other major roadblocks along the way, the election, which will determine who will write Nepal's constitution as it moves away from a monarchical system, will (hopefully) push through as scheduled.
I've been invited to join the observation team of the Asian Network For Free Elections (Anfrel), as the only long-term observer from the Philippines. I have joined Anfrel before, in 2001, as a short-term observer for the Sri Lankan parliamentary elections. I met them again in 2004 during the Indonesian presidential elections (when I was with The Carter Center), and last year when their observers visited us at the Namfrel national tabulation center in La Salle Greenhills.
I'm really excited to go on this trip, not only because it's quite an important mission for a very significant event in Nepal's history, but also because, hey, it's Nepal. The Himalayas! Mt. Everest! Snow! (he he). I'll try my best to get on one of those planes that offer the spectacular Everest Experience tour through the mountain ranges. It will be the closest I'll ever get to the top of the world, people.
I'm also aware that Nepal is one of the world's top destinations for adventure travel. The tragedy is, I'm not into the outdoors. I'd rather get stuck in a museum or in an ancient temple, or immerse myself in the local culture, than hit the rapids or, heavens, trek and get dirty. I don't even own training shoes, but for this trip, I know I have to buy a pair. I can't even imagine traveling with only a backpack. A big backpack and a giant suitcase is more like it. I am also incapable of traveling light. I have to have at least two weeks' worth of clothes, outdoor and indoor, without repeating. Ok that's a bit exaggerated (a bit), but you get the picture. And since Nepal is a cold country (well, for me who's from the Philippines), I have to bring more stuff like thick jackets and other winter stuff. Check out the difference in temperature at the bottom of this page.
I won't be able to regularly update my Multiply site but I'll try my best to let you in on my journey, and also the observation mission, though as an international observer I'm not really allowed to divulge any of our findings until the organization has officially released them to the press. But keep coming back to this site for updates. I'll be blogging my way through the Himalayas.