Have you noticed that all our vehicle trips are defined as LONG?Please trust me that this is no exaggeration.
We left Pokhara this morning at 8 am on the dot – a very punctual departure. We arrived in Kathmandu at about 5:15, and not at the designated bus stop. The bus driver finally gave up on the traffic and stopped the bus saying “This is the final stop.” Thank goodness for the accuracy of Pocket Earth. We hopped off the bus, did a quick confirm of our location (where I thought we were as it turned out), told the hovering and ever hopeful taxi driver we didn’t need his services and walked less than 10 minutes into Thamel and to our hotel. There were several tourists somewhat stranded by this sudden departure from the anticipated arrival place. No doubt delighted taxi drivers will have sorted them out!
So here we are back at the Hotel Florid. Rooms acquired in very short order. A young man sent to get our stored bags who got himself locked into the storage room…. but was rescued. A cold beer ordered and consumed, a second beer met a similar fate. Dinner shared with our trip organizer Binod Mahat of HikeNepal.com. Good conversation and a recap of the highlights and hilarious moments of the trek. He seemed somewhat relieved that we survived the ordeal!
And now turned in for our last night in Nepal. For me this moment is always charged with mixed emotions. I love being here most of the time, but some things such as the dreadful traffic that held us up for hours today is frustrating and not much fun. The scenery on the treks is extraordinarily beautiful but sometimes the accommodations are less than comfortable. The lack of indoor heat when it’s cold outside is challenging. Nothing is simple here. Everything requires a bit of added effort and forethought.
Going to the loo for example.
At home we get the urge and we go into a nice private room or cubical equipped with toilet, a functional seat on toilet and loo paper. We do our deed, wipe, flush, wash our hands in running water with soap and dry. So easy.
Here it goes more like this….
One needs a “go bag” in which there is a supply of tissues and hand sanitizer of some sort.
One might also need a head lamp as not all facilities come with a light that works and some have no windows either.
There is almost never anywhere remotely clean to put anything down on so one does one’s deed – usually over a squat toilet while clinging to clothing to keep it out of the way and off the floor and gripping the go bag and anything else such as backpack, camera or shopping bags. Being of course very careful not to let anything touch the ground or worse fall into the hole.
The flushing is usually a scoop of water from a bucket. One should always check availability of water before using the facility.
Paper needs to be left in a basket or box or bucket if there is one. If there isn’t – well fold it up and bring it along to the next place where this a rubbish bin. No I’m not kidding about that. Paper can’t be flushed.
Last is the sanitizing or, if one is lucky, hand washing at a near-by tap generally using a well used bit of Dettol soap.
The entire process is always something of an ordeal.
Most toilets are reasonably clean, but not all. There are some which emit odours which are truly horrendous. So one can add breath holding to the antics of relieving one’s self!
On this note – good night from Kathmandu.