Stamattina di nuovo sveglia alle 4.45, per prendere il bus delle 6 da Tansen. Un buonissimo tè al latte (è fatto proprio con latte bollente, niente acqua, a cui vanno aggiunti un po’ di foglioline di tè e un sacco di zucchero) in stazione, prima di partire. Purtroppo ancora non avevano cominciato a friggere le varie cose che offrono per colazione. Alle 6.45 ho cominciato a vedere le prime bancarelle con il cibo, ma eravamo sul bus e non ci siamo mai fermati per le prime 3 ore.
Bello vedere il paese svegliarsi. Già alle 5.30 c’era un bel po’ di gente in giro. Immagino che anche da noi ci sia chi va a lavorare così presto, ma è una sensazione diversa perché qui si vedeva la gente camminare per strada, mentre da noi son tutti in macchina.
Qui sotto una galleria di immagini prese durante il lungo viaggio, in gran parte dal tetto dell’autobus.
Scendendo verso la valle si vedeva la foschia del mattino sotto di noi e pensavo a San Martino. La poesia. Che in realtà mi ricordo solo grazie alla canzone di Fiorello.
Mi ero ripromessa che non sarei più salita sul tetto del bus, perché ho paura di restare senza capelli (ogni volta mi si forma una quantità spaventosa di nodi), ma da Naayangarh il nuovo bus che dovevo prendere era talmente pieno che mio malgrado son dovuta salire sul tetto. E pure lì stavamo stretti. Sono arrivata a Janakpur alle 7 di sera, stremata. Tanja è andata a Kathmandu invece, da cui prenderà un volo per Hong Kong.
Sono in un ristorantino musulmano vicino all’albergo. Ho ordinato riso con pollo e mi hanno portato Dal Bhat. Non proprio quello che mi aspettavo. Mi hanno anche offerto un bicchiere con acqua del rubinetto. Gialla. Mi tocca rifiutare stavolta.
12 ore in questa parte del Nepal (sud est) e già ho ricevuto due offerte di matrimonio. Mi trovano bella solo perché sono bianca. E che negli ultimi giorni mi sono abbronzata! Le creme per il viso hanno una protezione solare del 90+. Alcune sono addirittura sbiancanti.
Si vede che ci stiamo avvicinando all’India, è un po’ diverso. Il viaggio si prospetta interessante…
I wrote this post back in 2010 while I was backpacking in Nepal, I recently updated and translated it and added pictures.
A week ago I was crossing the border. It’s funny how in 5 minutes of walking we went back of two hours and 15 minutes (Nepal has this weird time, don’t ask me why. When in London it’s 6 pm, here it’s 10.45 pm).
It’s like traveling in time, not only in space. And an unusual passport check in Kadari. If you don’t bother walking to the counter, you might enter Nepal without stamp (but I don’t know what would happen at the moment of leaving the country as you need a visa to travel anyway).
First day in Nepal and the adventure starts. I’ll have to use the “we”, because I was with Lee and Hilde (with whom I toured Tibet). We knew there was a bus that goes from Kadari to Kathmandu (changing in Barbise). We were happy to wait for the bus for a couple of hours, so that the bus would cost us 2.5 euro for the whole trip instead of the 5 on a 4×4 (things you do to save 2 euro when you are traveling on a budget!).
One hour later we discovered that there was no bus coming because a recent landslide (that I found out being quite common in Nepal) had interrupted the road and the bus was unable to arrive. So we had to rent the jeep. And because of the new conditions (no bus was coming), the price rose to 8 euro per person. Ok. For once, if you have no choice, you can do it. Shortly after Barabise, just one hour and half after we left, with 4 more hours to go, another landslide blocked the road. We waited for a bit, we took advantage of the situation to eat our first nepalese curry, then the driver told us that due to a huge rock that the crane was unable to move, we had to take our backpacks, walk over the landslide and take another bus on the other side to Kathmandu.
Ok. A bit of excitement walking on the fresh landslide, with stones still moving, but everything went fine. The fun part comes when we see the bus, full of people (as expected, as there was a long queue of buses and jeeps before the landslide, in our same condition), so we are suggested to pop on top of the bus. We weren’t alone. Well, it was actually quite crowded. At the beginning it was scary. I thought we were going to die, that a jump on the thousand of holes that dot Nepalese roads or a sharp bend accentuated by the crazy driving, would have thrown us far away. But no, it was a beautiful experience. We had a full view of the green hills and the rice fields, we exchanged greetings with the people on the road that were looking after their business (almost everyone had a small shop or was selling something along the road), we talked to our new Nepalese friends. About whom I found out I can’t tell the age. A boy that I thought was 16 yo was actually 26. With wife and child somewere. I also learnt the numbers from 1 to 10 (but I currently only remember ek, dui, tin 1-2-3) and we got a lot of rain (the rain season hasn’t finished yet). Anyway, once the rain was over, we were dry in 5 minutes.
Four hours later, with our bottoms striped in white and blue (the rusted iron bars that are meant to carry the luggage weren’t very kind to our bottoms) we finally arrived in Kathmandu, at night (it was 6.30 pm but super dark and I was so tired it felt like it was 2 am – also because of the time change).
We found a guesthouse at 2,50 euro per night. But first of all Facebook. Finally, after almost a month in China where Facebook is banned, it was nice to be back online. And skype call with my parents (it was 2010, there wasn’t whatsapp yet).
Second day in Kathmandu. I spent the morning enjoying the luxury of having the wifi in my room trying to upload pictures of one month of traveling, with a connection so slow that proved that my patience has improved a lot.
This morning I woke up again at 4.45 to take the 6am bus from Tansen to Janakpur. A lovely chai tea (it’s made with boiling milk, no water, with some tea leaves and a lot of sugar, something we are not used at all in Italy) at the bus station, before we leave. Unfortunately they hadn’t started cooking their lovely things they fry for breakfast. At 6.45 I could see the first food stalls, but we were on the bus and we didn’t stop for 3 hours.
It was nice to see the country waiking up. At 5.30 there were quite a few people around. I believe in Italy too there are people who go to work this early, but it’s different because here you can see people walking on the street, while in Italy everyone drives.
Following is a gallery of images taken during the long trip, mainly from the top of the bus.
Driving towards the valley you could see the morning mist and I thought of San Martino, an Italian poem that I only know by heart because of a song by Fiorello.
I had promised myself I wouldn’t have gone up a bus anymore, because I might loose all my hair (every time I get off the bus it has a huge amount of knots), but from Naayangarh the bus that I had to take was so full that I had to go up. We were pretty squeezed there too. I arrived in Janakpur at 7pm, quite tired. Tanja went to Kathmandu, where she is taking a flight to Hong Kong.
I’m in a little muslim restaurant near my hotel. I order rice with chicken but instead I got Dal Bhat. They offered me a glass of tap water, yellow. I had to refuse.
12 hours in this part of Nepal (South East) and I have already received two marriage proposals. They find me attractive because I have fair skin. And I am actually quite tanned at the moment. Face creams have a solar protection of 90+. Some are whitening.
I can tell we are getting close to India, it’s not the Nepal I’ve known so far. The trip is getting more and more interesting.