LOG ENTRY 42
Sadly leaving Pokhara, one of the friendliest city so far in the trip and heading towards Kathmandu where again difficult decision to be made about the course of the trip.
|Rider's Log....... Lifelong journey around the world||
After an early morning start we headed to the Tibetan village before leaving Pokhara. Nyima must knew that we will stop as he was wearing our trip T-shirts what we gave him a day before. Not just wearing it but also had a gifts lining up for us, small Tibetan things of all sort was waiting to be given to us. One scarf was especially precious for me as it came from the area where Alexander Csome de Koros, my childhood inspiration lived and worked in Tibet. Later on I donated that scarf for my elementary school which was named after him too.
The road from Pokhara to Kathmandu was not as great as the earlier mountain passes to Pokhara. It was wide with fairly heavy traffic and potholes almost as frequently as in India. Also less and less military presence here, definitely no rebels in this area and only a few check points set up and maybe one with a tank barrel looking down on us. Th last stage of the day's ride went through the mountains which surrounded Kathmandu. It was nothing like the earlier ranges before Pokhara but still exciting for someone who grew up on the flatland's of Europe. Unfortunately the heavy traffic killed the fun and we ended up slaloming between trucks all along. It wasn't bad, it actually brought back some memories from Pakistan. The road before we arrived to Queta was almost like this, except that the goats are sitting on the top of the buses here unlike their poorer colleagues in Pakistan where they have to use their little, hairy and skinny legs to cross the mountains.
Kathmandu is so far the lightest and breeziest capitol city in Asia. Traffic is moderate, nothing like in India or Pakistan and every traffic police spoke English so it took us minutes to find the Indian embassy. Although I realize the size difference between Kathmandu and even a mid sized Indian city but somehow it felt and looked more organized here. The embassy unfortunately was closed so we spent the rest of the day wandering around the tiny allies of Kathmandu's backpacker area where all the fake North Face and other climbing and trekking brands are sold. Next day we headed back to the embassy to get our transit visa back to India. The original plan was to head south towards Calcutta and then continue to Bangladesh and to Thailand but the recent typhoon and flooding would make it almost impossible to cross Bangladesh and then still Burma where getting the right visa and paperwork for the bikes is very difficult. Plan B was to ride down to Calcutta and ship the bikes from there to Bangkok through Singapore or maybe find a smaller vessel heading to the eastern side of Thailand. After consulting with people from the Bangladeshi embassy we decided that Plan B is the way forward as we are already stretched out our budget with the extra hassle in India earlier. At the embassy we had two options, apply for a tourist visa which would take over a week and cost more or get a transit visa for less and they promised that we can get that right away. The only problem is that the transit visas are only good for actual transit through an airport, not transiting through half of the country with motorcycles. We continuously asked them to clarify this at the embassy and every time they said that the visa will be good but we need a flight ticket to get it. As things got messier here we decided to get some reliable information from the local Hungarian consul who is one of the richest person in Nepal. As there is no Hungarian embassy or consulate in Nepal, a rich local businessman bidden for the position which landed him an EU passport as well. He lived in a huge hotel complex which was also his just outside of Kathmandu. Surprisingly no appointment needed and he seen us without making us wait. This was really rare but according to him he hardly every see Hungarians coming to his house for help. We explained him our situation and all the confusing visa information we got from the Indian embassy. He also said that the transit visa, unlike they said in the embassy, is only good for an actual airport transit and not for riding. He told us that Bangladesh will be extremely complicated to cross during the flood as it covers half of the country and we will most likely be stranded somewhere for a long time. He then asked us why don't we just fly directly from Kathmandu to Bangkok with the bikes. This option never even crossed our head but really, why don't we? He said the tickets will be similar to what we would pay for the shipping in Calcutta, plus the extra fuel cost, possible troubles in Bangladesh and the extra week we would have to spend in Nepal until we get the Indian visa, adding all this up flight seemed superbly cheaper, giving us some chance to catch up with our schedule and budget as well. He promised to hook us up with some shipping company which can get us discounted prices for the flight. Now we just have to think this over and decide. We spent the rest of the day with discussing the options, visited a great Japanese restaurant, which to be honest was the tipping point for me, I am ready for Southeast Asia, really had enough of South Asia.