Letter From Kathmandu

Nepal’s Two Boulders

Courtesy Reuters

The half-built road to Lamabagar, a Nepalese farming village near the border with Tibet, has the feel of an active war zone. Clouds of rock explode from the cliffs as construction workers blast a path north toward the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Porters lumber up the twisting Himalayan switchbacks with boxes of dynamite strapped to their heads. The road is meant to connect the district capital of Dolakha with a hydroelectric dam at the north end of the valley, though one day it may continue north, giving this Himalayan buffer state a vital new overland route to China. All the commotion is purposeful since Nepal is plagued by chronic electricity shortages, which the 456-megawatt plant, scheduled to open in 2014, is meant to address.

The Nepali crews that inch closer to China, bringing heavy trucks to a valley that has known only foot traffic, are at the forefront of a

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