First week in Nepal, Part 2

Given that the waterfall regularly closes down the road (there are basically only two highways in Nepal, one going NE of Kathmandu, one SE) so we realized that if we managed to cross, then the road was closed again, we could very likely miss the beginning of our program, so decided to return to Kathmandu.

Only a few mini-buses were going there, and the nightime and stuck-in-a-jam rates were exorbitant, plus we had been advised, in person and Lonely Planet, that driving at night here is particularly hazardous, so we decided to try and stay the night there, and return the next day.

Turns out we were not the only ones looking to get a room, and the entire village was booked up.  Legs getting shaky, we went to find some food before taking another shot at finding a ride, and a young guy approached us to say that he and his friends had a room they could share with us.  “We no sleep, we will have fun.”

We were somewhat dubious about this, but at least it was off the street, but he soon disappeared and we were back to square one.

The universe and the people in it are amazing though, and we soon met a Nepali gentleman who lives in the UK after serving a career in the British military.  (Check out the history of the Gorkha legion sometime.)  He was returning to his village for the first time in 12 years, bringing his two university-age children along, who had only seen it when they were small.

He had his parents with him as well, and the five of them had a small room with four beds reserved, but he offered to let us share.  They had contracted their own minivan for the trip, and if the roads cleared were going to continue, so we sat until a little after midnight, talking to this family.

They said Grandma didn’t speak any English, but I caught her laughing at things I said.  Grandpa curled up and fell asleep, looking perfectly comfortable, even though the “beds” were actually wood tables with a blanket laid on top.

After midnight they heard that the road was open, and departed, leaving K and I living like kings in the room.  We considered looking for others needing a room, but most of the people had departed the town, so we had the Grand Hall to ourselves.  Well, us and the bed bugs.  And mosquitoes and truly impressive variety of stains and phenomena on the blanket, walls, floor, table etc.  The squat toilet in the bathroom brimmed with a liquid stew.

We voted on which bed looked the least filthy, segregated it from the rest, each wadded up a shirt to use as a pillow, K put on her waterproof jacket to try and serve as a further protective layer, and we lay down to see if we would sleep.

We actually did pretty well, given that our original prospective hosts were in the room next door, drinking and gambling, and occasionally coming to peer in the windows of our room at us (the tattered cloths hung in front of the window were not wide enough to cover it, and I felt reassured by the bars cemented into place.)

Remind me to write a letter to the manufacturers of my pants, asking why they anchor the belt loops with metal rivets.  This design clearly did not take into account sleeping on a wood table with a thin bug infested blanket as cushioning.

All in all it was another one of those interesting travel experiences that are part of why I love it.

Discomfort and adjustments are good for a person, but the enduring worry is the bed bugs.

We are moving in with our first of two host families tomorrow, and we do not want to bring extra guests with us.  As far as we could tell we escaped okay, but last night I looked up to find a big juicy bed bug walking up the wall.  I think it was another one on the other wall, but it fell off as I approached…right onto our bags.  We were unable to find it.

The good news is that the little brown turd-looking thing was just lint, so at least there’s no rats in there.