where i've been...

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

made it!

Well, after arriving at the jeep/taxi stand at 7am on Wednesday morning, we got in a jeep at around 8am (due to the elections in India many of the jeeps were not going that day, or the following two days). We then waited until almost 9am for it to be filled to the brim and headed down the hill from Gangtok to Siliguri. After passing an accident that had just happened, a dead dog, and getting and repairing a flat tire, we made it to Siliguri around 2pm. From there we took a one hour taxi ride to the border town of Panitanki, where (surprise, surprise) due to elections the border was blocked to cars. So we walked the 1k over the border into Kakurbita, Nepal. After obtaining our visas, we were lucky enough to just catch the 18 hour bus which left at 4pm, heading to Pokhara. It is usually a 12 hour ride, but was going to be 18 due to the strikes in Nepal which are somewhat ongoing and block the roads until the police and army come to allow safe passage to the buses again.

So around 7pm we stopped, with all the other buses, and people just calmly got out and waited, watching the sun set and the fireflies come out. (I had never seen fireflies before, and they are INCREDIBLE! I think my ability to be completely entertained by almost nothing really helps me cope with travel inconveniences!) Promptly at 8pm all of the electricity went out, which is apparently a daily thing here in Nepal. No electricity from 8pm until midnight. Then there is power from 12 to 4am. From 4-6am it is out again, and then returns for the day at 6am. You can set your clocks by it.

We finally left about 10pm, only to go down a road and get turned around by police about 3 hours later, which sent us backtracking who-knows-how-far. In any case, our 18 hour journey 21 hour ride. The last few kilometers were some of the bumpiest roads I have ever traveled, and they were exacerbated by sitting in the back of the bus. Literally we kept getting jostled and tossed about 2 feet up in the air, landing off our seats or on each other. Funny for the first few minutes, but then pretty annoying. :(

Pakhora is looking pretty amazing. We were warned off of Kathmandu a bit, and steered towards this popular trekking spot instead. Looks like we will do a six day trek starting on the 2nd. When we return I think I am going to do a 4 day white-water kayaking course while Rahima takes off on a 3 day mountain bike trek back into the mountains. Nepal is truly an outdoor paradise, with everything you can imagine...right down to the grungy/hippie/outdoorsy tourists. ;)

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