We miss you already, Nepal!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2005
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Trip End Jul 2005


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Friday, May 20, 2005

We were feeling great when we got back to Kathmandu on the friday. We had momentum, we had purpose, we were finally leaving Nepal and heading to... Tibet! The tension as we approached the travel agent was palpable. We could smell our impending freedom from the comfortable little rut we had worked for ourselves here. Alas, it was not to be. At least it was a comfortable rut, cause we were going to be in it for a while yet.
Our Indian visas had come through, but the Chinese embassy had closed without warning for a week, and so it would take another week until we could leave. We decided to think about it... which of course we didn't. Instead, we got drunk every night and hung around in cafes every day. When the weekend finished, we looked at each other and realised that we had to get out of Thamel. We headed to another agent and booked the tuesday night bus to the Indian border. Our visas ran out on the wednesday, but the Maoists, being the inconsiderate bums that they are, decided to ignore this very important little fact, and called a strike.
A road blockade had been set up on the way to Sanauli, so we waited... it's all you can do. Road convoys weren't even trying to get through, even with tank escorts. We waited... all of tuesday and all of wednesday. Each morning we would pack our bags, take them to the travel agent, kill time in an internet cafe or restaurant, then return that evening only to be told we should head back to our hotel and book in for another night. Another 2 days and we might as well have waited for Tibet!
Finally, on wednesday night we were told that there was a chance that a very early morning bus might make it. Our mission- from 6am, a bus journey for 10 hours to the border
after crossing which, a 3 hour bus trip through India to Gorakhpur to catch the last train to Delhi at 10:45pm. Easy, right?
The 10-hour bus ride took 14 greulling hours through the heat, passing the occasional burnt-out truck (Commies do love leaving a trail). Then the border crossing took an hour. It was fair to say that when we finally trudged across the border we were fairly pissed off. It didn't help that the owner of the bus to Gorakhpur made us pay the fare twice. We argued, we yelled, we even pushed him around, but he had us over a barrel. Prick. Welcome to India... and same to you.
We had developed a sort of zen acceptance about the whole thing as we sped through the night towards a train station we were sure our train had left hours before. At least we got to ride on the roof of the bus. It's kind of comfortable after you find a way to wedge yourself onto the roof rack so you don't fall off the side every time
the bus takes a corner.
Well, the story ends on a good note. We had forgotten to take into account 'India time'- Mussolini would have had a heart attack trying to sort out the trains here. Not only had the train not yet departed, but it was another hour after we got there before it showed, and 90 minutes after that before it left. 15 hours of speeding over un-ending plains and, 36 hours after leaving Kathmandu, we were in Delhi. And that, as they say, is another entry.
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