Mistery solved, Van Parked & Nepal Reunions

Trip Start Feb 05, 2009
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Trip End Dec 16, 2010


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

My last weeks in India are a bit busy with new meetings, old reunions and saying goodbye to my van for the next 8 months! Leaving a place were it feels good it not my strongest quality, but the knowledge that you can always return makes it a bit easier and the perspective of meeting friends again and new adventures ahead… As I will be traveling to Nepal and Holland without van, he will have a nice rest at Bhooi & Rachels home. To continue my travels by jeep, train and local bus… nice to let someone else do the driving again, not too happy about the delays. Back tracking my way via Rishikesh, Delhi and Agra towards Kathmandu, Nepal. Home sweet temporary home again with Sini and rest of the bunch!

Loooong again I was still in North India…and somebody in Vaishist wants me to stay as I am faced with a flat battery and an unwilling to open bonnet on the morning of departure…Shiva power? But no after some help Parvati wins and we are back on the road, slowly making my way down to Dun again. Halfway I decide to stop for chai pio with my mystery guest and his friend. After a few weeks of sms contact we finally meet in person. Messages change into a live conversation. Photos turn into a person. That evening we have candlelight dinner in my van…and they are the cooks…with great rock music over the speakers! The day after I find out that Mandi hills are amazing, especially from the back of a motorbike! Would loved to stay longer, but pushing time as it is, I really have to get going again…only 2 more weeks in India…

In Dun I meet up with Mr Patel again, finalizing some paperwork for a possible work visa, then quickly continue to Rishikesh for some business-shopping for Roman and a reunion with Mukesh. In his little shop at the Ganges I completely unwind listening to his meditative music, enjoying the view and just being in the moment! That night we talk and talk….and decide to go to an (what turns out to be) incredible sunrise viewpoint the next morning (Kunja Puri). Again on the back of a motorbike in the night (well 04.30AM)… there is just something special about these night rides in India, when roads are empty and the moon is showing us the way! Too soon I have to leave this holy place again. But not after drinking liters of Kombucha (healthy non-alcoholic drink) and taking some for Rachel as well!

It's time to park up the van for some time as I will be traveling to Nepal and Europe without my-house-on-wheels. Bhooi and Rachel are amazing people in many ways. One of the things is that they let me park the van on their property for the whole period. The fact that it will be there for half a year or longer is not a problem at all. How lucky am I! To find it in good order again upon my return I cannot just park it and lock the doors…So the few days that I have here are mostly filled with packing things in metal boxes against rats, putting neem leaves between my cloths against insects, rat poison in the van, food securely packed or taken out, a tarp covering the van and the whole van jacked up, so the pressure is off the tires. Leaving them the keys to start it now and then, I hope Frits and me can be back on the road again later. In the midst of all this van stuff we find time to have interesting conversations and watch a dry humored movie, while chasing away the army of mozzies! Far too quickly I have to leave again, but know we will have more time together when I return. Thankx Rach and Bhooi, I owe you a big one. See you next year!

Before leaving India and returning to Nepal, I decide to stop in Delhi and Agra to meet some friends again! Bhooi has to go to Delhi as well, so we travel together in his jeep, this time me as a passenger with more time to enjoy the views. He explains me his theory about recognizing a muslim village: By a large population of palm trees…mostly along the access roads and railway tracks…Muslims go on a pilgrimage to Mecca and bring back dates as presents…these are eaten and the seeds thrown away after…the seeds turn into new palm trees. Truth or not, it is apparent that on our way to Delhi there are only palm trees (huge nrs) growing near Muslim communities!

In the middle of Delhi, yet viewed from above! Transferring from Bhooi’s jeep to Fawad’s car we drop my stuff at his place, buy drinks and go to my favorite spot in Delhi, on the top of an old building away from the crowds! The rest of the day we spend chilling and talking, good to be back, although its only for 1,5 days. The evening we make our way to Pahar Ganj and I cannot believe my eyes, the lovely narrow shopping road has been opened up, minimizing the shops and turning the street into an avenue, hope it will not loose its character due to this! Meeting up with Bob again, like as if we saw us yesterday! More drinks flow and a lot of catching up is done ;-o Next day also reunited with Lulu (and meeting her visiting mum)! We have only a few hours together this time as I have to jump on the train to Agra, my last social stop before making my way to the Nepali border.

First time back on public transport and it shows me her best side by giving me hours delay to arrive in the middle of the night! And of course the enthusiastic chai wallahs are not there when you really fancy an India sweet tea! Missing my van already ;-) Thanks inventor for mobile phone connection so me and Sunil are on hotline and him and his friend Ajay are at the station to pick me up…little later then expected but reunited again! Back to his uncles hotel…improvements have been made over the last 8 months, still old vibe there though, nice to be back. Our short time (only 2 days) together is a bit hectic with a compulsory festival dinner and Sunil having to be there for his family. We have almost no 1-on-1 time together to catch up and I feel really disappointed in that. It’s nice to meet Ajay and we have a great time at the cinema, lovely to meet Manoj and wife again, but still unfair as it may be, I cannot shake the wish for more quality time with my friend. In all my frustration I even make tension with Ajay’s family when they invite us for dinner, never felt so embarrassed being disrespectful to their hospitality. I hope they can forgive me and accepted my sincere apology…and it did not ruin my friendship with Sunil. Silly me.

Ajay 'forgets’ about the incident and helps me get on the bus to the Nepali border…thankx…only a 24 hour ride….looooooong journey! Packed with Indian people, no aircon, no space to stretch my legs and me acted as the local ‘Goedele Liekens’ giving sexual information to my male student bus-friend on request until he tells me stop talking with a red flushed head…getting more info then he bargained for haha

The border crossing is easy peasy. One quick stop at immigration office, visa bought, stamps received, no problem whatsoever. I don’t want to go straight on a 10 hour bus ride (to Kathmandu) again, so decide to stay overnight and have a good night sleep first, however the bed bugs think otherwise and keep me up most of the night itching! Hummm My first Nepali evening is spend having dinner with friends of my Nepali friend Naba, changing from Hindi for Nepali again! Dere Raamro!

10 hours later, but optimistically told to be only 6, I am back in Kathmandu! No hassle with overcharging taxi drivers as Naba is there to pick me up! How nice to see him again! A toast to our reunion ;-) Then back to my home-away-from-home…with Sini, the kids and by now also Masse and a dog called Otto! Walking back in through the gate feels so normal! Truly feels like coming home. It is great to see them again and meet the new family members! That evening we all go out for a Russian dinner to celebrate! Yummi!

My time in Nepal, once again recovering from hectic India, is filled up with relaxing at home, reunion with friends, enrolling in the Vipassana (again) and making preps for a 3-week mountain trek by myself! And…the 3rd and for now last reunion with Nina again! Surviving hectic touristy Thamel by locking ourselves in the guesthouse room at times, just chilling, talking and watching a movie! It is so nice to meet up again, lots to talk about of course! Mama Mia movie last thing to do, feeling the child inside me again! Wonder where we will meet next time?

One week KTM (Kathmandu): Dutch reunion with Rene, Hedda & Willem, more time with Naba, birthday party, playing lots of UNO card games with the Olivia & Anttoni and watching all the Nepali people stress out for their biggest annual festival: Dashain, which lasts a fortnight with thousands of goats slaughtered on Durbar sq., social/working life coming to a stand still, it’s a family festival mostly, presents exchanging, a special Bhai Tika day, all in all bigger then our Xmas! One day I am invited to Naba’s house, where his wife Indu cooks a lovely typical Nepali meal.

I am back again, this time feeling more connected to the country and its people…a feeling that has become stronger during my 3 week trekking. More about this in my next story, to be put online soon as well!
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Comments

mara on

salud y alegria para la buena vida

Charon Duermeijer on

Lieve Angelique,

Het is altijd weer spectaculair om je verhalen te lezen; je schrijft heerlijk; het voelt alsof dit om de hoek gebeurt (I wish..). Je bent zo aan het genieten; echt bijzonder. Mooi dat je zoveel bijzondere en hele lieve mensen ontmoet waar je je ook echt thuis voelt. Goede reis en veel geluk!

Groeten,
Charon

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