After 3 days in the rush and dirt of Kathmandu, I was finally ready to leave the capital city and head towards some more rural areas. Hopefully with less smog and a smaller chance of being run over.
As I sat at the back of our overlanding truck, bouncing each time we hit one of kathmandu’s giant potholes and watching as the small shacks and stores that we drove past, It finally hit me that I am here. After almost a year of planning, I am sat in Nepal with some of the people I will spend the next 3 months with, how amazing is that? This adventure that I feel like I have waited my whole life for has just begun.
Suddenly Ant, one of the guys who will be doing the whole circuit with me, jumps out of his seat at the front of the bus and starts to open the door as we pull over to the side of the road. Amongst the commotion it was hard to work out what was going on, but quickly everyone started to flee from the truck and stand on the ‘pavement’ outside- ok the bit of dirt that the cars weren’t driving along! As I started heading towards the front of the truck I could feel the thick stench of smoke hitting my senses, as climbed down the steps to the outside our guides started to fix the problem.
At the front of the truck we have a fridge, where you can store some food or drinks while we are travelling. Some how some of the wire behind the fridge had started to overheat and melt it’s plastic casing which had caused the fire- so no flames but the space was quickly filled with the smoke. After some quick fixing from our guides and opening all the windows to air out the truck, we were all ready to go on our way again. What a start to the holiday. Well they do say in overlanding you should expect the unexpected.
It wasn’t long before the sharp turns, bumpy roads and terrible drivers became a bit more normal. I expected the car behind us to overtake on wrong side of the road moments before a big truck came along, and I definitely expected the pot holes. Once we were out of Kathmandu the roads seemed a bit easier. The roads no one had every tried to Tarmac were smother apart from the rocks we would sometimes find. Turning round tight corners and going round hills gave some amazing views of the countryside. Until…..,
Looking around at my fellow travellers we tried to work out what had happened as the guide once again jumped out their seats to take a look at the truck.
“We’ve got a puncture!” Ali our guide told us as she hopped back into the truck, so we all climbed off again and waited until a new tire could be fitted. It was actually a lovely place to stop, there were a couple of small metal shack houses, a tea shop and a rickety old bridge the passed from one mountain to the next. I grabbed my camera and started snapping some pictures of the area- that is one of the special things about an overlanding trip- even when everything is going wrong, it’s just another adventure, another opportunity to interact while the local community or see something you would have flown past normally.
A couple of the group members helped fit the new tire and about 30 minutes later after a good explore of the area we were ready to get back on the road and carry on our journey to Nawakot.
2 bad things in 1 day this trip is starting well.
As we got closer to the village where we would be staying the roads twisted and turned around the mountains, the dirt road didn’t leave much room for us and over drivers so we prayed and beeped our horn hoping not to run into any other cars or buses. They are currently still trying to widen to road and restore a number of things that were affected when the earthquake hit so there are piles of rocks and workers along some of the road. As we tried to get around one of the corners the tires kept slipping on the dirt and we couldn’t get the traction to keep going.
The people working on the road lay empty sandbags in front of the tires as we all got again to make it load a bit (lot) lighter. After having a run up James, who was driving managed to get us up the hill where we could all get back on the continue the journey.
I can tell you we finally made it to the small farm in one piece and pretty un-scathed, and it was a bloody good adventure. Although I am not sure I want everyday of the trip to be this much of an adventure.