Nepal Notes चार
October 26, 1989
(am Seti, Nepal)
|The "Royal" plane, or "Kings favorite"|
Our flight (Royal Nepal Airlines) from Bangkok to Katmandu was delayed a day because the King of Nepal needed the plane.
Monday we took a bus ride from Katmandu east to Jiri (in 2015 it is still literally the end of the road). The bus was mostly of local folks. I think there were a few western trekkers on the roof. It was crowded; 10-15 people over capacity.
The ride was very slow due to overloading and many stops. We spent a lot of time in first gear in the middle of the road. Total ride time was 12 hours; total distance 184 kilometers (115 miles).
|Unexpected Bus Rest stop!|
I received a reminder that you can't always believe what's in the travel guides. Our guidebook stated that people in Nepal use their right hands for clean tasks such as eating. They use their left hands for unclean tasks (toilet paper is not commonly available). At one point when our bus was stalled along the road some of our fellow passengers got off to stretch. One guy had to answer a call of nature and didn't bother to go too far off the road. He totally shot down the "clean hand, unclean hand" concept. I don't know if handshaking will be part of my customary greeting for the rest of this trip!
The first day, Jiri to Bhandar, was a killer. Going up the second ridge (a 900 meter or 2950 foot climb from Shivalaya) was very slow. That night we thought about hiring a porter. We found out they wouldn't be easily available due to some regional festival.
|Jane envying the porters...|
The trail itself is good; basically a well worn footpath. There are lots of switchbacks to accomodate the elevation changes. Groups of porters are pretty common, generally a dozen or so men (some women) carrying large triangular wicker baskets that look pretty well loaded. Most carry a sort walking stick with a T-bar handle thus they can sit on it in a semi-standng position.
~ Mr. Foresterman