After all these years of travelling, travelling the world, seings countries, meeting people… we both are agree in having Nepal as the most special place, which we love. Is not only the diversity of this small country that one can travel almost with in one breath, which takes you from the highest peaks in the world to the tropical plain passing through the Middle mountain which, by remote and inaccessible to motors hides corners, people and spaces as special as one can not even imagine, but… the best, its people.
We did not know this east part of the country and we were surprised by the developed comparing with the Nepal we both remembered and that we got to think, maybe it would have disappeared over the years.
Now in the shops and restaurants one can find one thing that before was imposible to get anywhere: variety. Food in Nepal has been always one Dal Bath(plain rice with a cup of lentils soup and a small portion of cooked green vegetables) that was all, not more. They eat that twice a day, every day of their life and if you know them a little you discover surprised that they do not need or want anything else. Even more, if you step into a restaurant and ask for “food” they´ll serve you Dal Bath, so call it: Khana (food), I think that says it all.
We were told about this new wealth, that there are many young people that already for years they migrate to countries such as Dubai, Qatar, Malaysia… and sent money to the families, that is how they have increased the purchasing power and the offer on the market is therefore somewhat higher. Moreover, when young people come back to Nepal they set new bussineses that before there wasn´t tha is why in small villages today you can find wifi cafes or shops with foreign products and new things. This we found on the East side of the Teray (the Teray is the tropical plain that spands from East to West across the southern part of the country).
In Kathmandu, the capital, we would get the the Indian visa and join another course of meditation, this time one which was our target for long time and finally came the time to do it. The plan consisted of, once this is done, restart and to cross the country before the heat arrives, everything seemed to be synchronized but Life had a raw and unexpected surprise that would change all our plans.
An up-road of 50kms that would make us to ascend from 200m of height up to 2.500m was the next challenge after the Eastern plain of Teray.
After a break to be fresh to face the ascent, we started happily with a smile. It took two days to reach the summit which was something like a door to a new stage and, as beginning we had a surprise: the first views of the Nepalese himalayas.
After that some of the wonderful midle mountain which always inspires us and brings us the desire to visit it one day walking; an area with bucolic towns that bring the feeling one’s have been plunged into a fairy tale.
These mountain people´s souls remain living in harmony with nature, respecting it and taking from it but not destroying it, the balance is maintained and continues. Peace, quiet, friendly, smiling people who really seem to be happy. They live in calm to the rhythm of the sun and animals, the cycles of the nature marked their lifes. Among them easily one feels like at home, relaxed and at peace.
Rafa said that most surprised him of traveling pedaling is the amount of things that happen all the time, every day, meetings, events, stories. This and the access to some places pedalling made him to start thinking about travelling in another countries, on future trips. Really, travel by bicycle, the freedom, the possibility to make your own way… creates adiction.
The day we returned from the meditation course willing to restart to the West, we had a scare surprise. Rafa opened us the door of his room and the image we found was shocking: he had lost many kgs up to look like a terminal sick, moving very slow, without any power, breathing with serious problems, and almost unable to speak. Luck was on our side and through a great friend we accessed Vanessa, a neumologist who has been through the internet to our side on a virtual mode but continuously and she has helped us to understand, make, continue, and decide in this whole process of the disease of Rafa that took us 25 days in the hospital.
It turned out to be a pneumonia that had complicated and became something even more dangerous, with a name of those unknown and unpronounceable but that sounds very bad. At the time of admission we were told that we should be ready for the worse, at any time would enter in the ICU due to its advanced state of infection. Oxygen mask even for sleeping, punctures, medicines, pills…25 days of 24 hours shifings the two of us. We just hadn´t to stay in the hospital but also we had bring him every meal because they don´t have food service. He only had the room and the doctors and cleaning service but we had pay a lot of bills every day, go to buy every medicine, every necessary thing for testing the blood or wathever they had to test, even we had to take the test to the lab. and wait to gave it back to the doctors.
Aitor and me we met every morning while we were shifting, share a breakfast and exchange the news. One went to rest and the other one to the hospital to “work”.
To spend a month in Kathmandu has been hard for being somewhat chaotic city, due to all the pollution and lack of contact with nature. There have been ups and downs but we wanted to turn it over and to handle it as best as possible. The strolls very early in the morning when one of us was on his way to the hospital took us to beautifull and magic corners of this city,
the access to restaurants with all kinds of food and to be able to have a real coffe from time to time, were like a wind pushing us. Also the talks with the family and feeling the support of Vanessa, have helped us a lot. Thank you, thank all of you.
Rafa flew back to Spain and we went back to the normal life, to the nature and to enjoy freedom again. We recovered the fitness that we had lost in last month while speed up because this unexpected delay has made us to be in the hottest month of the year.
After having a rest in a beautifull lake we went soooooooooooooooo scared to the plains of Nepal again. At 200 meters high from the sea level now is sooooooooooo hot. It is boiling and seems like one has go down to the hell.
Pedaling West has been to face the heat. Heat which hurts when the sun heats you, hard, uncomfortable and tiring.
We couldn´t sleep at night due to be sweating even in the cooler hours… despair. With the mosquitoes we couldn´t sleep just out on the floor and to go into the tent two people at these temperatures is an agony. To put the mosquito net in the forest, in these forests, means to have the visit of ants, termites and countless beings which wonder in the “fresh” night hours looking for sustenance. So many days we were in small hotels looking for the fan and the continuous showers at night. The problem is that although Nepal is a country rich in energy that even sells electricity to India, his Government takes the money in their pockets while the population is suffering with continuous cuts of light that last for hours and happen every day all across the country.
to cycle without stopping, to advance as much as possible before eleven o’clock when, not only the heat of the sun but the heat of the asphalt is so strong that it put your body to the limit and emergency lights start lighting. It doesn´t matter if you are going from whel to whel wetting yourself, in ten minutes you are dry again and your body tells you that it could burst. Then… stop and rest… the air is so hot that even under a tree we couldn´t feel cool and in the road restaurants the roof is a metal sheet that even is hotter than under the sun.
Endure, wait patiently, try to sleep if you can, wait… and if that day there have been enough hours of continuous electricity, drink something cool, thing that here is a luxury.
The first days we waited long hours to restart the cyling but then we realized that really the heat didn´t dimish´t until the night so we decided to keep cycling even in the hottest hours without thinking twice.
Stop now here a little, push on little longer, now stop there, again soak ourselves in another well … rest a little under the shadow… and keep going again.
We decided to ride at least 100 kms a day in order to cross quick the lowlands and to start climbing up the mountains of India. To challenge ourself was a great reason to fight this heat, to hit the road again and again with these temperatures, having the 100kms a day as horizon has given us strength to continue and don´t think too much.
The western part of the country brought us to the Nepal we remembered, nothing to do with he development that we have seen in the rest of the country, the West has not changed, still lives in austerity, much less inhabited and rather more forested.
Already desperate because of the heat, we just camped with the mosquito net in the forest. But we had been bited for ants and many insects excep for the mosquito. In the forest we discovered that even in the night the heat kept being so high and, something else: the monkeys urine from the trees just after waking up and of course, they don’t look at where it falls!!!. We were lucky.
Even so, we’ve been celebrating not only for living and traveling between these wonderful people and this cute place, but, for going again through “Bardia National Park” place where years ago we met each other and, almost as a game we join together to end Aitor´s trip in another 8 months which would take us to arrive to Spain. Already have passed without realizing it more than 6 years and still we continue cycling the world.
What began as an adventure with a beginning and end, was transformed, enlarged and has led us to places that we never imagined we would visit. Still this way of travell makes us to get up excited, eager and with something clear: we will continue pedaling while we keep being happy doing it.