On March 6-8 the city of Kathmandu went on strike, shutting down nearly the entire city. Shops closed, the streets were empty of taxis and motorbikes, and public buses stopped running. It had something to do with petrol and India, but I had a hard time getting a clear explanation. The city was actually really lovely during this time, without the pollution and noise. I happened to meet a really fun group of travelers during this time that were either staying at or near my hostel. We represented the US, Poland, New Zealand, England, Bosnia, Germany, Czech, Japan, and there are probably other countries I am leaving out (one guy was even from Philly and we talked about the Eagles - hoping this season will be better than the last - small world!). Anyway, we lounged the day away at a little hideaway in Thamel called the Garden of Dreams. If you are going to spend any time in Kathmandu I recommend this oasis in the middle of the madness. In the evening, when the bars all opened we went out, bar hopping from one place to the next. One place would shut down, allowing us to only stay long enough to finish our beers as long as we kept quiet (otherwise the Nepali police might shut them down), then we would move to the next. The last place we went to looked more like a night club in NYC than anywhere in Nepal. By the time we got back to our hotel they had shut the gate for the night, so what did we do....we climbed the wall of the garden and sat talking and drinking and even singing for the next few hours until someone let us into our hotel shortly before sunrise. Such a great night with amazing people.