Wednesday, January 30, 2013

it's not the destination that counts...

We journeyed by bus to Bandipur, a five hour ride from Bhaktapur. Our departure was set for 6am, Nepali time. Meaning, we sat in a cold empty bus and watched other passengers slowly file in, as darkness turned to light. My toes went numb from the chill by the time the bus engine was finally turned on.

Our first rest stop came a few hours in. It was a needed bathroom break for most on the bus, along with the subsequent buses in the makeshift lot. My mom and I lined up with the rest of the women in front of a tent that was placed at the edge of a ravine, leading to a river below. Each time a woman went in, she would come out with the exact scrunched up face of disgust as the woman prior.

"Oh my gosh, that was awful!" my mother told me as she walked out of the tent opening.

I handed her a baby wipe for her hands. "Well, a hole in the ground is a hole in the ground."

"It's not even that!" she spat.

I pushed the plastic door aside and walked in. The tent was long and narrow. A shallow ditch, like a gutter, lined the back wall. That was where bodily excrements were to be relieved. Instead feces dotted the muddy ground. I praised myself for having rolled up my jeans beforehand, and then walked to the furthest corner.

The entire way the roads were packed. Mostly with bright, multi-colored trucks, with words like "See You" or "God Loves You" written across them and a portrait or landscape design painted on the back.

The ride was too bumpy and the landscape too beautiful to read a book. So most of the travel was spent staring out the window. One set of  windows provided front-seat, cliff-side views, since the roads are built on the mountain instead of the valley below. The opposite windows, beyond the roadside stands on the remaining bit of flat earth, gave way to views of rushing clear blue waters towered over by lush mountains -considered mere molehills in the land of the Himalayas. Suspension bridges stretched across the valley, providing roadside stand workers easy access to their villages located on the opposite hill.

Bandipur is a small village high on a hilltop. It was also a location the bus did not go. Instead, the last forty minutes of our journey was by utility vehicle. We were first motioned over to a small flatbed truck. In the back were two metal benches, one of which was broken. The driver, upon seeing five of us, called another man over. The man ran to the truck with a welding torch and began fixing the broken bench. But that was soon abandoned when another SUV was found.  The inside was nearly gutted and the flooring had holes, (every car could use extra ventilation or quick trash removal), but the seats were intact and it made the journey up the switchbacks, into Bandipur, without a hitch.

1 comment:

Patti said...

Definitely not in Kansas anymore, but what a view!