We were whisked away in our air-conditioned luxury van with plenty of room to spread out and glimpses of distant snow-capped mountains trying to peak out of the muggy skies. The sun was hot that morning. With no school for the Tihar holiday, kids are everywhere. There’s excitement in every small and gradually larger village as we make our way out of the fertile southern plains back to the big cities of the Kathmandu valley. There’s a holiday market atmosphere with big veggie stalls and tons of decorations and people in their finery. We spent our time on the road bobbing and weaving past motorcycles and walkers through the small villages before Narayani.
We drove through crazy rocky landslide areas testing our individual suspension systems. If not for the dust from the unfished road, this could be almost alpine with fur forest and deep canyons with rivers at the bottom. We stopped and purchased some jerry – a small funnel cake soaked in honey. At twenty cents each it didn’t break the bank and was a tasty treat.
When we finally rejoined the good highway, we cruised along at a whopping 50kph (30mph) singing along to Eric Clapton plugged into the van’s speaker system from the guide’s Iphone with a headphone jack. Only in Nepal. “Baby, if I could…cha-a-a-ange…the world.”
Tourist van passes us. We pass a local bus. We both pass a couple on a small motorcycle. Holiday joyride mobs of motorcyclists looking like motocross squads with full face masks and leathers to protect from this insane road dust. Guy on a bike looks like he’s running away from home with a mattress on the back and a small bundle of clothes. He’s headed to Kathmandu so maybe he is – but it’s literally, and figuratively, uphill from here.
“ ’Cause I know I don’t belong. Here in Heaven.”
Lennon’s “Perhaps someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” is playing as we pass deeper into one of the last gorges before the overpass. Sign says, ‘Highway Heaven Guest House 1km ahead.’
A little Ravi Shankar in the playlist. Nothing like jazz guitar and sitar toward the end of a dusty journey on the other side of the world from home.
We chased snowcapped pics out the side and back windows as we jostled back and forth until we went through the pass and couldn’t see the 10,000+ foot peaks anymore. For sure it was Fishtail and Annapurna 2 – a solid four-hour drive from Pokhara.
Stairway to Heaven as we climbed higher and higher up the ridge crest. Rocking it out on the road to Kathmandu at a whopping 40 miles per hour.
We’re taking a small group to Nepal in October 2019. If you’re interested, please send us a note and we’ll send you some details.