Sitting on the highway by the Trishili River Bridge on our way back toward Kathmandu via Nuwakot. We expected to have a 4 hour drive to Nuwakot but have spent an hour here already.
Fortunately we have stopped in a scenic place.
We have just left Bandipur where we had a very wonderful stay with friends of Namaste Shrestha (our host). Bandipur is his ancestral home. We were fortunate to eat in the home built by his father. For 2 nights we were treated to wonderful meals prepared by his nephew’s wife. Namaste was born in the house. As we parted in the afternoon, they offered us Kathas and marked our foreheads.Update: It is now 6:05 and though we are moving, we are still connected to a long line of traffic. In one small town it was a competition to get to the head of a line. Everyone is a “loser” but everyone has the hope of moving faster than the next vehicle. Cars, trucks buses and motorbikes spread out on the wide, potholed and muddy side lots where shops and restaraunts sit. This traffic is the definition of gridlock. The 2 lane road was turned into a 6 lane river of gridlock with cars in jumble, pointing in multiple directions. In an attempt to get ahead, vehicles made paths around one another but when it was time to merge back into the narrow 2 lane roadway they came to a face off with one another (literally face…to…face. The hot sun and moist air wrapped the people sitting by the side of the road; some had taken a break, some were local observers, some jumped in and out of buses and minibuses. I saw children sleeping in their mothers arms, babies being changed. Some trucks had given up and were sitting by the side of the road, the drivers lounging in rear compartments.
It is a mass of people trying to move from east (Kathmandu) to west (Pokara) and west to east. Some are trying to get to connections to China and parts south, India and the Terrai.
End of the day.
We ended our day at 10:15pm in Nuwakot. The sun had set on us as we were released from the traffic snake. The cool air was refreshing and we kept our windows down. Finally we took time for the bathroom and an evening snack by the side of the road. It felt so good to be sitting still.
The last hour and a half of our long day was taken on the northern cutoff where the traffic promised to be less – toward China. While there was some traffic relief, we immediately came head on with a entourage of large trucks coming from China. The line of trucks wouldn’t have posed as much challenge on a US highway. But here the road was narrow (think Independence Pass) and rough (think Forest Service road to a trail head). Finally, we happened upon a dump truck going our way and moving fast. We stayed on his tail, tucking in behind when trucks approached. He became our protector. Ironically his tail gate said “Good Luck”. And he was.
Through it all, we got to our hotel (Hotel Satanchuli Nuwakot) safe
and sound and ready for a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately we arrived so late that the place was completely dark and locked up. After 20 or 30 minutes we raised a local to go and fetch the proprietor and he took us to our room. Not such a clean room but there is air-conditioning and a place to sleep. Ahhhh… I’m learning that Nepal is full of surprises. One should minimize expectations and take things one day, one minute at a time. It’s all good.