Pokhara to Kathmandu
After the chaos and cacophony of India, Nepal is like a warm-bath dream. The people are warm and friendly with a never-ending Namasté on their lips. We were constantly approached by strangers hoping to try out their english and were asked thousands of versions of the simple questions with the same simple answers… Canada, (destination), Sterling. With that in mind, Nepali culture is extremely western-friendly and was some of the easiest and most care-free travelling we’ve done – apart from the twisting roads, of course.
We wanted to maximize our time so we spent a whopping $30 on visa extensions and rented a sweet little motorbike to explore the local foothills. Then it was off to Kathmandu, the largest city in Nepal and home to most of its people. The scale of the city is a little daunting after weeks of village life, but we did some serious walking (now that we’re all trained up…) and covered most of the city, even managing to take in a movie (Hunger Games – in English!) and relax with a full beer each (served in the bottle, not a teapot!). To find some spirituality, we visited a monastery high above the city and performed a ritual walkabout at the Boudinath Stupa before finishing with a noisy electrical storm. The next day is a 12 hour bus ride and goodbye to Nepal.
We arrived at the Indian customs office at around 8:30pm on the back of a donkey-cart. It seems cliché but the bureaucrat in the office is trying to deny us entry, despite the fact that our double entry visa is stamped “Permitted to enter the country within 2 months of the last visit”. He argues strongly that he doesn’t understand and can’t allow us in. OK – so how much did we bribe him? NPR 3000 or about $40 CAD. We feared that this was an appropriate entrance back into India but hoped that we were wrong.