Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Jiri

We are back in Kathmadu again!

The trip to Jiri is 8 hours long, but the scenes outside the window make it totally worth it. Getting on a bus at 6.30 am at Ratna Bus Park, Sorella and I are asleep when the bus moves out of the city. Soon we are climbing hills, mountains and we wake up to sights of mountains, green paddy fields and clouds floating in between. Life outside is on as usual, military police manning checkposts, women collecting corn from their fields, men busy with cattle, goats and field work. We spot a rainbow and then the bus climbs...we actually are somewhere over the rainbow! After a couple of chai stops, we are in Jiri. Jiri is the last town connected by road to so called 'civilization'. Its also the town from where Edmund Hillary started out his expedition to Mt. Everest. We however are less ambitious, settling in only for nearby Bhandar or Shivalaya.

We settle in at a lodge, and go out for a walk in the countryside. After taking in the scenes, lots of pictures later, we find ourselves sitting down for some chai. Sorella suddenly notices that my foot was dripping with blood...a juga (leech) bite!

Soon we discover that i've been bitten in 5 places, and she in 2. We laugh about it, and find three jugas prancing about. We let them out back into the street. Dawa, the lodge manager is puzzled.... 'why don't you kill it?' he asks!

After some rest, we wake up lazily at 11am. The next door Canadian trekker probably has reached halfway to Everest, but we are not 'trekkers'. We get going, armed with umbrellas, a daybag and our cameras. The trek provides some great views of the hills, step farming and life going by at a slow pace.

We stop after an hour at a chai shop for some lemon tea. Beautiful children ask for chocolates but seemed very content with a pencil that i give them. The rain keeps us at the shop for a little longer and we are in the company of some more beautiful children, a sherpa and a wood cutter with a huge kukuri. They have some county liquor called 'Roxy' & 'Chang' to pass away the time.
We are taking in the sights, stopping to look at butterflies, flowers and more and soon its 6.30. W e stop by a home in a place called Mali. The household has allowed us to stop over for the night, and we are provided comfortable beds in the store filled with potatoes and corn. Our dinner is dal bhat....simple and delicious. Mamita, the wife is my age and she is fascinated by the pictures in out camera. she makes us take pictures of us together before we are again asleep with the smoky smells of tea, and some delicacies that she sells to passerbys...

We wake up to the sounds of goats bleating, and we are soon in Shivalaya. Shivalaya is a small town by a river. We walk around, skipping all the commercial lodges and make friends with the locals. Sorella gets a Nepali blouse called a choli stitched. We walk to the river and back, and it's already ready. After some more dal bhat, and some discussions with an English teacher, a shop owner and an old man that just knows to say 'don't mind'.

We leave back for Jiri, wishing we could take another route back, but its not bad as we still find it interesting. Rain comes and goes, and its no problem. We've both slipped more than a couple of times, much to the amusement of the many Sherpas and Nepalis that overtake us along the way.

Going back, we see something on a ridge that looks like a gompha. We go there and look at the mountains in the distance when an old woman herding her cattle appears. She tells us in a mix of Nepali and sign language that this is actually graves of two of her little children that died. There's a lot of silence after that.

It does not take us so long to get back to Jiri. We are there a day ahead. Fortunately for us, we also find out that there are no night buses to Kathmandu, so arriving a day early was good. After yet another Dal Bhat, we play dice and cards over some 'Nepali' Tuborg Beer. The night has some unpleasant experiences, but its not too bad.

Early in the morning, we collect our backpacks and are in a cramped bus to Kathmandu. After a tyre puncture, we realize that we have some people stalking us. We are't too afraid, and we term them 'Robin and Backman'. Robin & Backman have an accident on their bike along the way, but they still manage to follow our bus that makes a lot of stops.

Finally, a landslide causes our bus to stop. We manage to loose the dynamic duo in the mess of people and traffic at the landslide spot. Realizing that our bus is stranded and there's no earthmovers coming to clear the landslide, we ditch our bus, and join the crowd that's crossing over to the other side. The buses there are crowded, so we climb atop a mini bus and get a birds eye view of the valleys passing by. Another tyre puncture does not deter us. its fun to be ontop of a bus and we make friend with the locals.

Bus prices are flexible. I pay 80, Sorella manages 60 and the locals pay just 40! By 7pm we are in Kathmandu again and our sweet new found friend Changu helps us find a microvan to Lainchaur where we walk 'home' to Chinans place.

Until next...

Clinton..

3 comments:

Rodney jr. said...

yo clinto. post me some snaps. and yess of ur co-passanger tooo!

shrinivas said...

HEY !!!!!

so you DID finally get into nepal Eh !! AWSOME ....

i've just got back frm my cycling expedition. Leh ... was FANTASTIC ...
tried getting in touch with ya ...could'nt though :) ...now i know why ....!

i'll be writing bout the trip ..have exposed bout 20 odd rolls ..n im looking around for sum money to develop them now !!!

hey do post sum pic's n keep in touch ...

have'nt met her but a
a big " Hiiiii " ...sorella too !


cheers

Shrini

cuncolkar said...

Hello Clint for long you have not update your blog.
the Charlie wedding thing was interesting piece.
ru still in Sweden or back in goa.
bye !!!!