Avenging Rachie

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Nov 23, 2010

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Monday, October 11, 2010

I rented another motorcycle, THE AVENGER, a better one this time, and rode it from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur (a UNESCO World Heritage site) to stay the night in Nagarkot. In the morning I would wake up to see the sunrise over the Himalayas and scoot down to a small village Sankhu where they have a temple called Bajra Yogini which is devoted to this ferocious Hindu goddess named Kali who eats people.

Here are the highlights:

1. So it took me 2 hours to get from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur (12 km away) for a few reasons: 1.) the traffic is so congested and so aggressive I let everyone pass me and just came up the rear - I wasn't 5 minutes on the road when a man whizzed by me on his bike and literally rode over a man on a bicycle. I thought to myself - holy toledo what am I thinking but kept going. The main "highway" to Bhaktapur was completely under construction and required me to ride on compressed dirt. The tires and rubbish burning while coming out of the city, the dust, the bus and truck exhaust all layered me in a film of dirt. I felt like I was in the terminator.

2. Bhaktapur - amazing, beautiful city. I stopped and got some lunch. The nice young waiter watched my helmet and bag for me while I looked at a city. Even saw a Bollywood dance scene being shot (perhaps Ta-Ki was here too?) I went into the art museum and saw a bunch of Hindu things I couldn't take pictures of. Beautiful, beautiful place.

3. Nagarkot - Got back on the road - a windy, paved mountain road that took me to Nagarkot, Found my hotel which was adorable. Went across the street to eat and sat drinking tea with a bunch of young men playing cards - Marez it was called. They used 3 decks of cards and it was essentially 21-card gin. I quickly caught on but realized they were gambling so couldn't play. We chatted though and that was how I spent my night.

4. Sunrise - Woke up at 5 am to see the sunrise. Not sure my camera can pick up the nuances of color but I tried. It was glorious. I went back to my restaurant, drank Nescafe (yuck) ate some breakfast and went back to sleep for an hour. Woke up sat on my balcony watching the kites fly (they are like hawks) and listened to some music to fortify myself for the trip back.

5. Road to Sankhu and Rajan - I start down what is essentially a mountain biking path that the crazy local buses use and promptly fall - poof - on to the left. I was going - at tops - 5 mph so I held myself up against the mountain wall. The public bus was right behind me, several young men came bounding out to make sure I was ok - which I was. I was about to turn back and scratch the whole Sankhu thing in order to stay on a paved road when this man, Rajan, offered to ride the bike down for me. I figured what the hell, hopped on the back and Rajan helped me. I NEVER would have been able to do it. I was able to snap some photos along the way (not sure how good they are). I bought him lunch then he rode me up to the Bajra Yogini temple and told me some stuff about his faith. I dropped him off and went on my way - we had a lovely afternoon.

6. I wasn't 5 minutes out of Sankhu when another motorcycle cut me off sending me into a huge pothole and sprawling onto the ground. Yes, I truly dumped the bike. I was doing maybe 20-30 mph and fell. Amazingly, I wasn't hurt - just shaken up. I didn't hit my head, no broken bones, no blood - I skinned my knees and bruised my legs - the left one is swollen in places to be honest. I was 10K from Kathmandu, had to get back on the bike and ride it home - which I did. No crying in motorcycling. If I ever get an eagle tat, I get one with one wing down...

7. I rode to Budhanilkanta to see the Sleeping Vishnu, which I did for 30 seconds before a monk kindly asked me to leave. I got some killer momos in a little roadside place and went back to the city.

That wraps up 10/11-12th. A harrowing, invigorating, empowering, humbling experience that I will never ever undertake again in Nepal. I have no business riding a motorcycle in a 3rd world country - my skill base requires a 1st world infrastructure.
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