Heading out of Nepal

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From Nepal to Tibet by car

We woke at 5:45 a.m. and took the first of our Diamox tablets. Shortly we were down in the foyer ready to meet our driver who would take us to the Friendship Bridge from where we would enter Tibet.

Ramesh appeared, but no sign of a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Ramesh was making phone calls on his mobile phone. Eventually a vehicle, a guide and a driver arrived and we were introduced. Ramesh waved us all goodbye. The guide didn’t do much “guiding”. We presumed as a guide he would be pointing out places of interest on the journey but sadly that never happened. For the first half of the trip the guide and driver talked incessantly between themselves. For the second half of the journey the guide fell asleep. Three times he slid down way into his seat, to the extent that we couldn’t even see him. He then became the guide who couldn’t be seen or heard!

 

Breakfast at Hotel Ravine Sunrise, Thakuri Gaom, Dhulikhel

It was nearly 10 a.m. when our guide announced we would shortly be stopping for breakfast. This came as a great surprise. From what Ramesh had previously told us, we understood we wouldn’t be stopping for meals anywhere. That’s why we had organized to get 6 muffins from the hotel restaurant so we had some food in our stomachs for the journey. Another problem was that we had exchanged all but a few of our Nepali Rupees the night before. We told the guide we had hardly any rupees left on us. We asked if we would be able to pay in U.S. dollars and he thought we could. The idea of a decent breakfast was exciting because the muffins supplied by the hotel really were quite awful. They were tiny banana muffins and were quite solid and dry. We tried them before we left the hotel and they ended up being flung in the bin.

View from hotel Ravinde sunrise The view from the outdoor area at Hotel Ravine Sunrise
Jeremy and Ian Jeremy and Ian awaiting breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cafe was in an awkward spot close to the road. The car had to pull off the road and turn sharply back to the left. We hopped out of the car and followed our guide. We had our breath taken away when we saw the view from the cafe garden. It was fabulous – mountain and valley views that were somewhat clearer than what we had seen elsewhere. We sat down at an outdoor table and a while later we were each served omelettes, three small pieces of fried potato, a teaspoon of fried onion and the same quantity of green capsicum. There were six slices of toast and jam between us. No butter. We tried to pay for the breakfast but the gruff owner said “No”. We wondered if Birendra (via the guide) would be picking up the cost of the meal. Our guide spoke very little English so what was the point in querying the matter.

Before leaving the café we thought we had better buy another three bottles of water. I had the usual 60 Rs ready to pay for it. The gruff man said it was 65 Rs for them. I instantly thought how strange that was, seeing as 65 wasn’t divisible by three. I handed over some money and it was immediately obvious I wasn’t paying him enough. It turns out he wanted 165 Rs for the three bottles. What a rip off! They cost us 20 Rs. each everywhere else but he wanted us to pay 55 Rs. for each bottle. What else could we do but pay him.

 

Bungy jumping Bungy jumping

 

The journey continued onwards through quite tropical countryside. At times the roads were quite bumpy and rough. Four and a half hours later we arrived at the border.

 

Pandemonium at the Nepal side of the border

Our driver stopped the car just prior to the Nepali immigration office. We began climbing out of the car and the driver went around to the back of the vehicle to open up the back door.

At that very instant a horde of people descended upon the back of the vehicle. They were of all ages and both genders. They obviously all had the intention of doing something in the back of the vehicle. What on earth were they going to do? Were they trying to get into the vehicle?

No! They all wanted the job of carrying our luggage. The three successful contenders were an old and very frail looking man and two very young girls, one of whom had a little baby and a bag attached to the front of her.

Earning a living the hard way Young girl carrying heavy rucksack
Man carrying Jean's large blue batterred suitcase Carrying the big blue monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They all managed to haul our luggage up onto their backs. We were horrified at the weights they were carrying and wanted to help but then we realized this was their way of earning money. We had to let them be.

 

Next page - Entering Tibet

 

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