April 7th, 2016. Free smiles.
We left the bus around 4 pm. We started by reaching the Indian office of the Immigration. We wrote on some papers and finally we obtained the right to leave the country, so we walked 50 meters further to cross through the frontier. Here we were, after controlling our passports we walked through an arch which embodies the frontier between India and Nepal. There, we were controlled by military men who shew us the Immigration office of Nepal, just 500m further. But only after 100m we had to come back to sign something. Done. We were leaving the Office and some young fellas already smiled and discussed with us.
We finally arrived at the Nepalese office but everything was closed and nobody was in there. The neighbour explained to us that this was closed and that we would have to come back tomorrow at 10 am. -Are you kidding? We are going to stay stuck in two countries?- Fortunately, her daughter called in Nepalese and two men received us. We folded some papers and gave them our passports. We had our visas but they were not used to it because most of the time people take it at the frontier. Thus just in case, they called the big brother who called someone else… We waited 35 minutes. Finally, everything was ok we could continue our route and reached the military control with a warm atmosphere and with smiling people.
April 7th, 2016, it was 5 pm and we were in Nepal.
In Nepal, everything is totally different. The scenery is more with landscapes, there are fields everywhere. The inhabitants were smiling, they did not seem annoyed by our presence. We definitely felt better, relaxed, this is even like a new real breath.
While we were walking towards the city, Nepalgunj we met a carousel. One of the girls greeted us. We answered politely and the carousel stopped proposing us to go in it. Not fussy, we agreed. We were 8 persons on a 2 wheels carousel. Poor horse isn’t it? They dropped us in Nepalgunj. As I was used to the Indian tradition, I reached out Rps20, but they refused. I let it to them for the symbol and to thank them.
We entered the city, some of them were looking at us as we were extraterrestrial but they were still smiling, saying a Nepalese hello: ‘Namaste’. Then we were looking for a cash dispenser. In the city, there were policemen at every street so it was quite handy to get information and to feel safe. After that, we needed to find a way to reach Kohalpur, another city in the north. Policemen shew us a place to take a bus and we got it just in time.
During the driving, we met Dris, a 26-year-old Nepalese man. I took the opportunity and I asked him a place where we can sleep. We were lucky because his sister was working is one of the only hotels in the city. We decided to follow him to the Pop Life Hotel. The prices were over our budget but it was late and we did not really want to look for something else. We had a great dinner, a warm shower and we slept in really good mattresses.
After a great night, we felt fantastic, we ate a good breakfast and we left to go the Bardia National Park and the city Thakurdwara. We started by walk while observing landscapes. After an hour, we began to hitchhike. 80 km is ambitious! A jeep took us. We met R.N Sharma and the driver who dropped us 20 km further. At this moment, it was a little bit more complicated. A biker stopped and asked us our direction. He explained to us that it was going to be hard to find someone so he decided to pay us the bus. Luckily, we were leaving to reach the city by bus.
After more than 4 hours we arrived at Thakurdwara. On our guidebook, we had found a homestay (to sleep at someone’s house) further more. So, we walked. Suddenly a jeep with a hotel crew in it suggested to us to see their hotel. We agreed, at least, we were not walking. Their bedroom was really nice but we wanted to see our first choice. We walked again through fields, there, there were only some people, bikes, and no car. this was lovely to hear the wind passing through the trees. We listened to the birds and walked in silence, lost in our thoughts.
Finally, we arrived near a canal along the road. Buffaloes were in the water while children were playing near the water. I recognized a child who was on the bus so I asked him if he knows where our homestay was. Suddenly, a little girl exclaimed in English: ‘This is my house!’. She shew us the way. She opened a room. She was really nice and she called her father to tell him because he was absent. The mom was not there neither, she was in her own country, and we did not see her.
An hour later, Budhi arrived.
To be continued… Don’t forget, all the photos of India are here.
Ludo and Léo.