LOG ENTRY 39
A beautiful riding day, probably the most scenic so far with endless curves, beautiful jungle with steep peaks and an unexpected encounter with the Maoist rebels.
|Rider's Log....... Lifelong journey around the world||
Beautiful Monday morning woke us up after our first night in Nepal. The lower temperature is a real big refresher after the month's of suffocating tropical heat and humidity. The morning breeze from the Himalayas smelt like melting snow even thought we are in the middle of the summer. After the great experience riding here yesterday, we decided to make our way to Kathmandu on the mountain road instead of using the southern road close to the Indian border.
Heading up North we quickly realized that the road ahead is the most curving road we ever experienced. It was nothing like the mountain pass up to Dharamsala, it was much more extreme. The smallest distance our odometer can show is 100 meters, I spent great deal of time observing the odometer and see whether it can change between two curves, it never happened. What was more common is that within 100 meters we went into two or three sometimes even four curves with great altitude difference. Whether we have died already and riding in the heaven for bikers or this road is just this great was the main thought in my head all morning. Apart from the curves, the giant peaks towering on the sides provided just as much viewing pleasures as the road itself.
The only straight stretches were the ones through some villages, here you had the opportunity to overtake the few trucks on the road. Luckily we had enough torque not to worry about overtaking but I can imagine how frustrating could be stacking behind one of these old Mercedes trucks with a car. Occasionally we crossed creeks and small rivers where kids enjoyed the cold water.
Around 10 in the morning, just after our breakfast we had one of the longest section ahead us without any village. At about 30 minutes in the ride we spotted a guy standing on the road and waving at us to slow down. As we slowed down around 30-40 people armed with AK-47's and rifles jumped out of the jungle. They wore military training uniform with red collars and unlike the troops we met earlier they had no helmet on. Quickly I realized that they must not belong to the government forces and probably are Maoist rebels. We have been warned earlier that this region is the stronghold of the rebels and we should avoid it. As we slowed down and eventually stopped one of the rebel came over to us with broken English and introduced himself. He was in fact the leader of that group and he went into explaining the brief story of the rebellion and that they are in need of money. Quickly it came down to me that we will get robed here, probably they will even take our bikes as well. Luckily the guy didn't wait to long to state their demands. He said that the road we are riding is one of the main rebel road and we have to pay road tax for using it. The surprising thing just came now, he said we have to pay 5 dollars each, not more not less. I couldn't believe it, I asked him again for clarification but I heard it right, five dollars. Dad got the money out, 10 dollars for the two of us, we paid but still unable to go. They told us that we have to wait a little bit before we can go any further. Again, the worst comes in mind, what will happen now. What really happened is the soldiers brought a little invoice book, filled it out with our names and passport numbers, put the amount in there too, showing tat we paid the 5 dollars and they told us that in case we meet another rebel group later we just have to show the slip to them and we wont get charged again. I have to admit, this was probably the most pleasant fine in my life and the tipping point when my like turned love towards this country.
In the next LOG ENTRY you can read about how we met a Tibetan refuge and ended up staying a few days in their village.