I’ve arrived in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal; a small country landlocked between the two giants that are China and India. It’s a congested city, with black smoke fogging the narrow streets oozing out of car exhausts. People sell coconuts by the roadside, goats sit on top of buses and cows roam around the few pavements within this polluted city. Motorbikes and tiny taxis constantly honk, dodging pedestrians as they walk along the litter strewn streets.
Amongst the rundown houses sits one tall building, looking out of place against the backdrop of the Himalayas. People greet you with ‘Namaste,’ and wear colourful saris and drink tea – I feel like I am in India…
I awake to a flurry of activity outside my window, people scrambling through the rubbish pile that dogs had guarded the night before. It is barely dawn and within minutes the crowd has dispersed leaving barely a trace. Crows heckle in the morning mist. I can hear the deep moans of the Nepali people as they pray. It’s a haunting but comforting sound; a deep cry that echoes from the corners of this enthralling city.
But in this chaotic place, I feel a sense of calm, a sense of place that this is where I need to be…
How I miss English transport. At least we have health and safety in our country and don’t play ‘how many people can you squeeze onto a microbus?’ with people hitting their heads on the ceiling and falling into others.
There are no scheduled times to depart and buses wait until they are full to the brim before leaving. I’ve even witnessed a fight breaking out and people just stare instead of wading in!
Apparently one man wanted to bring his goats on and the driver refused! Thank god as I really didn’t fancy having one of those sat on my lap.
But I can’t really complain for 20p for an hour journey.
Nepal's Crazy Transport
It was on the six-hour bus ride to Pokhara when we got stuck in traffic. In a hot sweaty bus, we came to a standstill.
As we passed the scene of the accident two hours later, two buses had collided as one had tried to overtake and gone headfirst into another coming in the other direction. Luckily for both buses they had stopped inches from the edge of the cliff face. I shuddered at the thought.
Miles down the road we passed one that hadn’t been so lucky; a bus on it’s side down a revene and then another and another. During the eight hour journey, we passed four accidents.
And only last week it made international news that a bus in Kathmandu crashed killing everyone on board. But none of this seemed to deter our bus driver who tried to overtake at each opportunity around windy cliff paths with numerous blind spots, honking as he overtook.
It makes taking the bus a scary experience and I wonder if the drivers will ever learn?
Some people have the knack of making anything look good. They can just throw on a pair of Indian trousers and a vest top and hey presto, they are transformed into a hippy yet stylish traveller.
I for one do not have the magic touch and have spent the last 11 weeks looking much like a poor traveller in my scruffy, old clothes. So with only one week left I have decided to lighten my load and travel with a smaller capsule wardrobe.
It's goodbye to my jeans with a broken zip, my combats without the elastic, my holey leggings, faded tops and the infamous brown t-shirt (which has appeared in numerous photos and is threatening to have a blog of it's own).
As I donate them to a more deserving home – to the disadvantaged women of Nepal. But as I part with my second skin I wonder ‘should I really keep the brown t-shirt?'
p.s It's gone.
You've Come a Long Way Baby
After 11 flights, 6 different countries and countless experiences (not to mention several challenges) I am finally on my way home.
My journey through the Himalayan countries has finally drawn to a close. I am adventured out, exhausted and heavier than I was when I embarked on my trip three months ago. The past 12 weeks have been a blur of exciting and scary moments.
I have discovered a love for Bollywood movies, chicken momos and masala tea and rediscovered my lust for Buddhism, motorbikes and places off the beaten track, and realised that the world is full of incredible places and people. But most importantly I have learnt to take everyday as it comes, to not sweat the small stuff and to make the most of every situation whether good or bad.
‘If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.'
Until my next adventure on 18th August where I'm running around Iceland's capital, Reykjavik for charity. See you soon…
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