Ah…Christmas Day, and Akke Antje and I have a 6.30 start to get the bus to Butwal. To quote Van Morrison…‘no guru, no method, no teacher…’, and no real plan beyond ‘lets try and get to Gorkha’, with Butwal being on the way. Here’s what the Lonely Planet says…
“Its wide streets are dominated by a cacophony of bell-ringing rickshaws and an atmosphere of bustling activity. An important trade and transport hub, Butwal offers no sights of interest for visitors…”
That’ll do then…
Bus rides are always interesting in Nepal. Inevitably the buses are overcrowded, with people (and goats) frequently on the roof. The 22km or so from Rupandehi is pretty much like every other bus ride I’ve experienced…longer than anticipated, frequently uncomfortable, and if you’re really lucky the bus radio playing Nepali or Indian songs at a volume which sometimes verges on the uncomfortable. And I’ve been in the front row of a Motorhead gig. (Play LOUD!!!) Maybe because its Christmas Day, there’s one added treat- the guy sitting behind us has decided that its perfectly OK to dry his underpants in the bus by draping them over the railing which in theory is supposed to prevent you from getting/falling out of the window!! This is clearly a market which Kalvin Klein hasn’t as yet broken into….
Butwal proves to be an interesting place to wander around. Its pretty chaotic as you might expect, but as a counterpoint to the festive season its pretty much perfect.
Boxing Day, and another early start, with Gorkha being the destination this time. Still no real ‘plan’ beyond getting there and doing some walking. If the weather remains fine, we’ll have plenty of opportunity to see the Himalayas, and there a number of old portering routes which are ripe for exploration. There’s something quite liberating about making things up as you go, particularly as we have no real idea where we will be staying, or even in truth if there will be any vacancies. But first, another two bus rides…and hopefully the last for a few more days…providing our karma is good!!! Nothing too uneventful… you’ve got the picture by now. No random displays of underwear, no goats, standing room only and a particularly agile bus boy who climbs off the roof and in through the window to collect our fare, as its impossible for him to walk between the seats because the us is so crowded.
‘Action by inaction’ is a core tenet of Taoism…go with the flow, and eventually things will work out. The river flows, and sometimes there are boulders in the way. One option is to remove the boulder, so that the river flows more easily. Alternatively the river flows around, under or sometimes over the boulder, and eventually the way is restored….
‘Go with the flow’ became something of a guiding principle for the next few days, and offered up some surprising outcomes…the first of which was finding the accommodation that became our base whilst in Gorka. Turning left as opposed to right out of the bus park brought us to a small guest house run by a Gurung family….
As the late, great Vivien Stanshall once said…
”Now read on……”