I want to let you know about the most unreal part of the journey so far.
The stretch between Nyalam and just after the Nepali border was crazy. In the morning I cycled past frozen waterfalls and slipped over an icy road… the same day in the afternoon I passed palm trees and butterflies! How strange is that!
Before the border Chinese were working on the road again, this time it annoyed me a little ’cause the road is already good and they build the new one on the other side of the river in some places, which kinda destroys the beautiful Gorge I cycled in. I needed to carry my bike across unfinished bridges and push through ice/water/mud, but made it to the border just when it closed for lunch… again.
But the landscape changed dramatically, and it was warm! I took of my down jacket, then my other jacket, then my windstopper, hat, gloves, I was cycling in my t-shirt! And everywhere green, waterfalls, noises, people. Birds I don’t know with long tails and strange sounds… I was so busy looking around trying to take it all in that I completely missed the Nepalese border. Only about 15km later I thought; ‘hey… shouldn’t anybody look at my passport?… shouldn’t I get a visa or something…?” But I really didn’t feel like cycling back up (I’ve been going down all day) So I left my bike with some friendly Nepali and took a bus back up.
At the border I got what i came for and now I’m legally allowed to stay here for 60days, which I most definitely will do… at least.
Getting back to my bike was a rather thrilling experience. I saw a bus so got in. It was pretty full so I sat myself on a couple of boxes with electronic rice-cookers and my upper body stuck out of the window. Then, with about 30people on the roof and the bus completely stuffed full with women, men, children, animals and A LOT of luggage, 15 more showed up and stuffed themself in as well. In Nepal they drive on the left side of the road, and this road was small… and right next to it an about 80meter drop straight down in the gorge where the river was flowing… Unlucky I’ve chosen this side of the bus to hang out of, a few times I thought we were going straight down and all die when I couldn’t see the road underneath me. Just that drop.
But I survived, and after 15km I could get out and safely continue my way cycling.
The people on the way are so nice, quiet, gentle they greet you and smile, or wave in a friendly way. Except a few little kids who seem to have mistaken me with someone called ‘money’ … “Hello, MONEY!” “Bye, bye, MONEY!”
And one big difference with Tibet is that they all seem to be washing continuously, washing themselves. Washing their clothes. Washing the dishes. Men, woman and children… all clean.
The end of the day I slept in a small village where I ran into my 6 friends from Nyalam who, by hitchhiking have gone at the same speed as me cycling. But they pushed on to Kathmandu the same day.
In the morning the world was foggy and a little bit chilly which surprised me… maybe it shouldn’t in december in the Himalayas.
I knew that it wasn’t gonna be all the way down to Kathmandu but I didn’t realise there were some serious hills to be climbed. It took me a good while but I kept amazing myself of the many things to see. I felt like I should be walking here ’cause cycling is too fast to take it all in. This is exactly what I’m gonna do in the next few weeks but this later.
When the sun came through and the mist disappeared I was struck by the view! Cycling up I could see green forest hills for kilometers and kilometers where there are ‘platforms’ all the way up for farming, and houses. Even on top of the highest hills people still live, and behind it, far far away I could see the white snowy tops of the Himalayas coming out of the clouds.
After the last pass going down I could suddenly feel something in my eye. Auch. I stopped to get it out but didn’t succeed. Then I took my small mirror and couldn’t see anything in my eye. So I continued cycling but it got a bit sore. I put my sunglasses on but the glass was really dirty. But when I took it off I still couldn’t see properly, my right eye had gone ‘cloudy’. It felt like there was a little piece of glass stuck behind my eyelid, very uncomfortable indeed. The only way it was kinda ok is when I kept my eye shut with my hand. So with one hand and one eye I cycled into Kathmandu. That, I can tell you, is not easy…. So lucky a friendly Nepalese guy on a bicycle asked me where I was going and cycled with me to the guesthouse where my 6 friends are staying.
A shame the guesthouse was full. I wasn’t gonna leave ’cause at this stage I couldn’t open my eye at all. It made everything a little more difficult. I was already thinking the worse, “Ah! I’m going blind!” But after some help washing it out and a night sleep (on the balcony in my sleeping bag, nobody seemed to mind… I even ordered breakfast this morning and it got delivered to the balcony… breakfast in bed! 😀 ) it seems to be back to normal.
So I’m in Kathmandu! Time to wash clothes, wash myself and have a party 😀 Because yes, tomorrow I will be 28. I already met many people so it promises to be good. And after I go for a walk.
Together with Carla I’m gonna walk the Anapurna trek. So again, I’ll be gone for about 3 weeks and hope to be back in civilisation before new years.
So I wish you all already a great x-mas!