Keys Keys Keys

by Annalise on October 8, 2009

Kathmandu is a bustle with a full range of goods and services sold from street-side kiosks, full stores, department stores, shopping centres, office complexes and home delivery vendors.  We’re told there is no official census of the Kathmandu Valley but it is estimated that the urban centre holds approximately 4 million people.  It is a relatively small economy and there are spots of great prosperity, many middle class communities as well as very evident poverty.  This mix, in a very densely populated metropolis, as you can imagine, makes the security of homes and belongings an important aspect of daily life.

When we arrived at our apartment suite in a locked, gated yard we received no less than 10 large keys on a ring, no two of them the same.  In addition, there are keys and 2 latch locks for each of our 4 external doors on the 3rd floor – we have balconies off of the kitchen and Robin’s room as well as a deck on our level and then the roof-top deck.  Also,every opening window has two latch locks  inside both the glass and screen panels and all windows have a security grate of decorative ornamental iron.  There are individual door keys and latch locks on the doors for each room inside the apartment and a locking cabinet with inner locking compartment in our master bedroom.

All of these keys give a very tentative sense of security – mostly they leave us with a very clear impression of the lack of systematic security requiring such extraordinary individual efforts towards the same.   Having said that, this approach does seem to work for the most part although it makes leaving your place a lengthy process and as we’ve found, is thankfully augmented by neighbors who look out for one another’s property and wellbeing.

We came home the other night by taxi, from a lovely dinner at the home of Tatwa Timsina, the Director of ICA Associates, only to find that our front door key was not working on the main door of our home.  After trying a few times, I called across the fence to our neighbors who we’d not yet met and they invited me in to their home use their phone.  From there we called our landlord and they came immediately to assist.  (This is a new house and we are the first tenants in the building .  Our landlord family has been wonderfully responsive and a great source of knowledge for services in the area.)  We all stood as they tried to work out what had gone wrong with this main lock on the door and after a few minutes of discussion, the ladies invited us to come to their house only a short walk away to be comfortable while they resolved the problem.  So Robin and I joined them and enjoyed a visit with the family as interpretted by their daughter who is a commerce student planning on studying next year in the US.  In the meantime, David watched on as the landlord, his son and son-in-law decided they had no choice but to break into the house to open it from the inside.  This effort took about 40 minutes and they had to destroy a door to do it but they got in and the next day they started immediately on the work to replace the door and install a new lock on the front door.

All things are back in order and our huge ring of keys in current once again.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shirley Robertson October 10, 2009 at 9:47 am

Hi Annalise,

Glad you are back on line. I really, really am enjoying your Blog. Your writing is so descriptive I could almost hear the sounds and see the sights, All the while thinking that before long I will get to experience it myself. I am so glad that you will be well” seasoned” by the time I get there.(Before long we will need to start discussing details like how do I get to your place from the airport etc.)

Just read Robin’s Blog and I am very impressed with his writing too.

Looking forward to the next installment.


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