Together with mum, dad, Hans, Ali and Sally (my new best friend for two weeks) I set of on a rafting adventure down the Seti river. A fairly calm and low-grade trip and we were assured nothing could go wrong..
Funny that we went into the first rapid with seven, but came out with six men on board. We’ve lost Ali, who came drifting down behind us, slightly bruised but mainly unscattered. From then on we all held on tightly at every minor rapid and we came through with no further accidents.
We camped on a beach, sang songs around a fire, having a good time as the villagers came down to sing and dance with us..
And then on to Chitwan with high expectations ’cause of my previous experience. (see: ‘too lazy to backpack’ )
But in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the tigers were asleep. As were the rhino’s. The crocodiles. The birds, deer and boar. We did enjoy the pool at our fancy resort, and riding plus bathing the elephants was great fun.
And to be fair, I did see two ants, a cockroach, a lizard, a dragonfly and a leaf falling of a tree.
I couldn’t help the feeling that the locals we saw on our safari’s, burning down the forest, might have had something to do with the lack of wildlife.
I traveled back to Kathmandu in style, on top of the bus. With my mp-3 player blasting, waving at surprised faces on other buses and singing out loud. I would have danced if I could, but the drive-style in combination with the road conditions stopped me from trying.
Back in Kathmandu I said ‘good bye’ and ‘see you next year’ (wherever that may be) to my parents.
Sally and me shared a room in the Tibet peace guest house, where we did things girls do. Like painting my toenails bright pink and swapping clothes. (Thanks Sally, Love them trousers!)
One night I woke up from a big thump on the roof, I looked over to see Sally bolt upright looking around. As my first thought was a cat jumped on the roof, she reckoned it to be a vampire
And then, after 5 months, finally time to try my bicycle again…
My chain needs a bit of adjusting, but it also works if I kick it with my right foot while peddling with my left. Almost always.
Except the one time I was going a bit too slow uphill and ‘forgot’ my left foot was strapped in. So I slowly fell straight into one of them real deep gutters they got around here…
Slightly embarrassed I looked around, lucky no one had seen it. But a bus was coming my way so I nonchalant pretended just to stop for a sip of water. With my bike up side down in the gutter.. :-s
As I pulled it out the saddle came off. Lucky there’s nothing duck tape wont fix.
I almost forgot how different it is when you’re cycling. I love the way people react. Smiling and waving, the bus-boys hanging out of doors and windows to give me the thumbs-up
And when you stop at places you wouldn’t normally, people show a natural and generous interest.
I discovered my camping gear still works as I tried it in a massive storm at the river side. Only got a little wet. But it’s hot so it dries in no time.
Rainy season is on the doorstep. Every day now it starts pissing down in the afternoon. It won’t be long before monsoon’s here. I’ll be in India.
It’s that ‘planning-thing’… or the lack of it to be precise.
Summer in Iran, winter in Tibet and monsoon in India…Ah well, it be boring if I did it the easy way
I planned to be in Pokhara in two days time. But nothing ever goes as planned. On the 2nd day I stopped 34km before Pokhara at Devendra’s roadside restaurant & hotel. A bicycle-enthusiast who’s got a Giant himself. He told me to stay there so I pitched my tent in the garden and sat inside as another wall of rain swept past.
In the evening a ‘important’ police men (he told me himself and it was confirmed a few times through the evening that he was, indeed, very important..) invited me to have lunch with him and his wife. So I left the next morning, not having paid for either accommodation, the food or drinks;”You are my friend! It is complimentary, come tomorrow for lunch!”
So I cycled the 5km to the Important-police-men’s house and got told how to eat dhal bhat (local dish of lentil soup, rice, vegetables and sometimes chicken that people eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. EVERY day) properly. Kneading it with you right hand and scoop it in your mouth, it’s a bit of an art, I need some practice. Half the meal ended on my face and the floor.
I got the chance to practice again at Devendra’s place the next day when I took down my darling bullet.
It’s not easy-going back to a bicycle ones you’ve had an engine.
He also decided to take me on a side-seeing trip to a waterfall that appears in a video clip his brother made. To Bandipur, a traditional Mewari village. And a ‘concert’ in some town where women and men in traditional dress where singing traditional songs while others danced the traditional dances. Or just drank beer. When we walked in everybody looked and even the people on stage ‘Namaste-ed’ me.
Now I am, it might not come as a surprise, in Pokhara. I put my tent up on a roof and so far it seems waterproof-ish. But I have got a plan. Since China is no option, and neither is Burma.
I’ll cycle to Varanasi, on to Calcutta and cross to Thailand.
Or something like that.