OMG what else could possibly run amuck on this trip? Please no one go there – the potential for further calamity it simply too great! This is actually beginning to seem like some sort of never ending farce!
Yesterday we had a fun busy day in Kathmandu power shopping for gifts and mementos. After shopping in Thamel we took a taxi to Boudenath Stupa. Of the seven UNESCO heritage sites in Kathmandu that were damaged by the 2015 earthquakes, this is the only one to have been repaired. This happened with no government assistance. It is heartening to see this beautiful monument restored to its gory! We went to the temple and got all our prayer flags and ourselves blessed. The usual chanting, rice tossing, smoke wafting, water tossing. I love the ceremony and the delightful conversations with the monks afterwards. We took Tendi out for dinner at Thamel House. This is a long standing favourite restaurant of mine. I used to take evening sanctuary there after teaching before returning to the hostel where I stayed. They have some serious renovations going on so my table is no longer in existence. Never the less we had a lovely evening and it is always nice to touch base with my Kathmandu friends.
Now let’s get to today’s adventures. Not so enjoyable.
We were going to Chitwan for our much desired R&R. Dream on Kim and Marianne. Dream on.
We were advised to leave Kathmandu by 6am due to planned road closures. The road to Chitwan is being widened and so is closed for all traffic from 10am to about 2pm daily.
We left almost on time. We weren’t ensconced in a jeep as we expected, but in a small Toyota Corolla. Our driver was the most cautious driver in the country. SLOW. Regardless of our glacial road speed we did arrive at, and pass, the constitution area in good time. Things were looking really good! I was dreaming of the Chitwan bliss an hour or so away!
Barely 40 kms from Chitwan all traffic stopped. A long line of buses, trucks, tourist vans and our mini Kathmandu taxi. What’s going on? Our driver got out and went to investigate. Turned out there had been a land slide which killed five people sometime yesterday. Perhaps a second landslide this morning. Accurate details are sketchy. Many people had spent the night in their vehicles. The engineers were working on reopening the road but a time-line was really vague. What to do?
I talked to Binod on the phone several times, he talked to the traffic police involved in the incident. It looked like the road might reopen with in the next two to three Nepali hours which could actually mean anything. We made the hard decision to abandon our dreamed of vacation in Chitwan. We retraced our journey to the junction with the road to Pokhara and turned west. Here we are – over nine hours after leaving Kathmandu we pulled into a very pleasant hotel – Lake View Resort. I’ve stayed here before. It is upscale. Our room is really nice. Hot water, towels, bath tub, did I mention bath tub. We’ve had a delicious dinner. We’re in the process of re-establishing our equilibrium with a coupe of stiff drinks. Then there is the hot water and the bath tub….
Oh, just to add interest to this otherwise mundane day – there has been more torrential rain off and on (mostly on) all afternoon and evening with amazingly huge thunder! Earth shaking thunder. The weather gods must be upset about something! Of course this means further possibility of more landslides.
Tomorrow will be another day.