Chitwan to Kathmandu Nepal
Monday 16th January 2006.
This morning we were woken at 5:30am for a 6am departure. We didnâ€™t have breakfast at the hotel but the staff packed a food box for each of us. It contained a cheese sandwich, a jam sandwich, two mandarins, two bananas and a fruit juice box.
We were not looking forward to being tossed about in the short wheel base Land Rover we were in yesterday. Five or more hours in that would have been very testing. We were delighted instead to have a Toyota Hi Lux mini bus which was far more comfortable. And it was heated, much to Jadeâ€™s delight on a cold, foggy morning.
We set off at 6:30am at first light, not that there was much of that due to the very heavy fog. It was fairly certain that there would be no flights to Bharatpur today. It didnâ€™t matter because we had no tickets anyway so we were destined to drive all the way the Kathmandu. Progress in the fog was slow for the first hour or so. The first few kilometres was dirt and terribly pot-holed. Added to those obstacles the driver had to dodge pedestrians, cyclists, motor bikes, carts, tractors, chickens, goats, ducks and numerous dogs. It was amazing just how much â€˜trafficâ€™ there was at such an early hour.
White Knuckle Driving
The first check point was unmanned. On the â€˜main roadâ€™ to Kathmandu the going was smoother and the road was much wider â€“ and sealed â€“ with many pot holes. Now the driver had to contend with many slow moving trucks and buses, cars, motor bikes weaving all over the road and crazy wobbling cyclists with their bikes loaded up with grass, sometimes two metres high and two metres wide. Oh, I forgot about the pedestrians everywhere. Overtaking is hazardous here at the best of times and done with blaring horns and millimetres to spare. In thick fog it is downright suicidal. Often, oncoming vehicles just pull off the shoulder of the road to avoid collisions. And all of this is done at 60-80kph. I do not think that I had a true appreciation of the need for prayer when travelling until undertaking this journey!