Travellers in Nepal: 'There were rocks and tear gas flying at us'

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The Independent Online

"There were rocks flying and tear gas coming at us and demonstrators running towards us, but we weren't worried. They weren't trying to hurt us. After all, we're tourists," said one young Australian backpacker who had come unscathed through Monday's riots in Kathmandu.

"There were rocks flying and tear gas coming at us and demonstrators running towards us, but we weren't worried. They weren't trying to hurt us. After all, we're tourists," said one young Australian backpacker who had come unscathed through Monday's riots in Kathmandu.

Nepal has always attracted the more intrepid type of holidaymaker, and now it's just giving them some different challenges: the new trek in from the airport, for example, given the complete absence of taxis. And the challenge of getting out of the place.

One Briton, Benjamin Ray, a 24-year-old mechanical engineer, had spent 10 months on the road, cycling from Britain to Nepal. He had been planning to continue on to China until he heard that his mother had been taken ill. But his flight to London was cancelled. "I want to go back to my hotel. How do I go? How is the situation in the city?" he asked.

A young Uruguayan man called José, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: "I came to visit pyramids ­ leave me alone", said: "Two hundred of us came here on a study tour to see the culture of Nepal.

"We arrived on Saturday; on the first day we went to see a temple. I think it's just a question of time before a leader appears from the crowd, in a few days you'll have a revolution ... We're trying to leave as fast as possible," he said.

Anton Kuartango, a Basque who is working in a restaurant in Edinburgh, "trying to teach the Scottish people how to eat," said, "I've been trekking one month in the Annapurnas. I've seen that the villages are very happy with the Maoist rebels. They want to come to Kathmandu to change things. So maybe it is a good time for change now," he said.

"I was in the middle of a big battle yesterday, and my impression was that both the army and the police had no idea what to do about it."

The British Embassy in Kathmandu has warned tourists trapped in the country to take great care and to stay indoors as much as possible.

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