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Since the Maoist rebels joined the Nepalese government the country has been relatively peaceful and safe, but check the latest situation prior to arrival and exercise caution. Avoid public demonstrations, which can turn ugly. Frequent strikes are an inconvenience rather than a risk, since all transportation often stops, and shops and restaurants close. Blackouts are part of daily life throughout the dry season. Due to a lack of streetlights, be wary of opportunistic crime in the dark, and watch out for potholes. Always keep an eye on belongings. Violent crime is rare, but pickpockets are not, especially in crowded area. Keep valuables about your person in a money belt, or store them in a hotel safety deposit box.