Travels in Nepal # 68 Troubles in Nepal

Bombings in Kathmandu

When we returned to the hotel after our ox cart ride we found out that the political situation had worsened overnight. There had been several bombings in Kathmandu and elsewhere and some police or soldiers had been killed. At 1pm the manager drove us to Bharatpur Airport but told us there were no flights today due to the fog. He went there to arrange for a driver to take us to Kathmandu. We drove through several army checkpoints along the way. The people were getting a little tense about the situation and the manager, although calm, seemed to be very cautious.

Another night at Chitwan

On arrival at the airport there were no drivers willing to take us to Kathmandu because of the trouble. We found out that the normally four hour drive had now slowed down to become at least six hours with long waits at an army checkpoint near the capital. Kane spoke on the phone to a Peregrine official in Kathmandu who really gave us no choice. (Peregrine Adventures were our travel agents.) There were no flights that day and no reservations for us in the coming days. Kane and Jade needed to be in Kathmandu two days later to catch their flight to India. Added to that there were no drivers willing to take us to the capital. We had to return to the Royal Park Hotel for another night, at Peregrine’s expense I might add.

Concerns

This situation concerned me but I was not worried. It reinforced my decision not to try to get to Tansen as I had originally planned. Bhairawa airport had also been fogged in and had been closed for several days. The fog did not look like disappearing; it was so calm. It would also have been very risky trying to get to Tansen by road, not to mention expensive, if one could get a driver. Then there would have been the difficulty of returning in time for my flight home. My only other options were to wait until Sunday in Kathmandu, or try to arrange an earlier flight home.

Anything could happen

The manager had promised to take us to Bharatpur the next morning, leaving at 6am. If there were no drivers there willing to take us, he promised to personally drive us there. The downside of this was the vehicle, an old short wheel base Land Rover. The road was very bumpy and the seats barely cushioned. Going early may avoid much of the traffic but not the pot holes, twists and turns. All through the drive that afternoon I kept watching out the back window. I expected to see one of our bags bouncing around on the road. They were just put on the pack rack on top with nothing holding them in place. A potential positive about driving to Kathmandu is the fact that, being tourists, we may be given a quick passage through any checkpoints – theoretically. In the current political climate this was only a theory. Anything could happen.

 

One Response to “Travels in Nepal # 68 Troubles in Nepal”

  1. […] After my brief visit to Royal Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, we finally managed to get a ride back to Kathmandu. This was in a mini bus arranged by the manager of the hotel where we were staying. It was far more comfortable than the battered and cramped conditions of the small 4WD we had travelled in the previous day. […]

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