I'm sure most of you will have seen one of the countless repeats of "The Good Life" on BBC2 in recent years, that's if you can't remember the original broadcasts. Tom and Barbara would not be considered so strange here in Nepal.
Most of the country is relatively self sufficient and even here in the Kathmandu valley this lifestyle is in evidence. This time of the year is planting season for rice and most of Nepal is planting the crops that will sustain them for the next year. Two weeks ago our reprographics man at school took the week off to plant and this appears to be a common action for many people who have jobs in Kathmandu.
Many people that live in Kathmandu still have family who live out in the villages somewhere. The photocopier guy at school travels in everyday from his village on the rim of the valley, but many more people come from all over Nepal for work. My Barber who has a shop at the top of our street has a wife and eighteen-month old son who live in a village down in the Southern Flat area of Nepal, an area known as the Terai. Every now and then the shop is closed for a week or so at at time as he goes to visit them.
Our "Didi" (maid) who does a little cleaning and cooking for us lives with her husband in Kathmandu, but they have two children (nearly of adult age) who live back in their village several hours drive from Kathmandu. She heads back there regularly to visit them and other members of their family.
One of the shops at the end of our road, where we purchase most of our vegetables, is run by a young couple who have recently had a baby. Their shop is open everyday from early in the morning to late at night. Like Tescos 24 hour stores this is to enable them to make as much money as possible, but for very different reasons. The baby has a basket just behind the counter and both the husband and wife are nearly always there.
Doing what is needed to earn enough money or grow enough food to survive is the first priority for the vast majority of Nepalis. Most shops are open 365 days, the average person doesn't appear to take holidays, except to plant crops or visit family far away. Describing it as "The Good Life" though seems incredibly inaccurate.