Entering Forbidden Lands
Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
360Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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Where I stayed
It was another three, bumpy but scenic hours to the border. The last couple of miles took ages due to traffic and hundreds of people wandering around in the road
The process was incredibly lengthy and it was easy to see why it would be impossible when not part of a group. The queues were enormous and our guide explained that lots of Nepalese cross the border regularly to buy Chinese goods as they are cheaper than those which have been imported to Nepal. Women porters in the queue were carrying huges loads back and forth - for example, 8 enormous boxes of borbon biscuits or hundreds of loo rolls
Arriving at our new jeeps and meeting our new guide, it became clear that they did not have roof racks as we had been promised and that our luggage would be a problem. Not only that, but there were not enough seats for 9 passengers and they were expecting 4 of us to sit across one backseat and one to go in the boot. Predictably our new guide said we would have to pay for a separate taxi ourselves. After kicking up a massive stink, (backed up by other passengers) we ended up getting all the bikes in and the guide sitting in the boot. Luckily Richard and his girlfriend are small like me and Mikey and it’s not too squashed in the back. Had we all been large they would have been in serious trouble.
After all of the fuss it was a lovely surprise when we stopped for the night half an hour later in the first town we came to. The guide said that heavy snow meant that the lodge we were supposed to go to was shut so although it means a longer drive tomorrow we were all happy to stop. It also means that we are climbing more slowly and hopefully our bodies can have a bit of time to adjust to the altitude
With Mikey ill, its lovely to be part of a group and we all went out together and found somewhere fun to eat, although it was a bit of a lottery ordering. I went for the safe option of egg fried rice, but other people’s Yak meat and noodle soup looked pretty good. Yak butter tea was less popular and no one could stomach a whole glass. We were surrounded by groups of men enjoying Saturday off work playing cars, smoking heavily and drinking tea filled with bizarre looking fruits and grasses. They all suddenly left at 6 – I think called home by their wives for supper.
Wandering back through what had been a deserted town we saw some children out and about giving us shy smiles. Overhead the mountains looked enormous and I’m looking forward to getting up there tomorrow and hopefully seeing Mount Everest.