Here’s some video clips from my time in India…some while riding, others not.
My last night in India, I stayed less than a mile from the border to Nepal, and when I arrived in the morning to get my passport and carnet stamped out, I was told that the official that does that wouldn’t show up for about an hour. Nothing to do but wait, I guess…but after a few minutes talking with the agent, he called up the guy I was waiting on and told him to hurry up. Once he arrived, we got to work on my carnet. It seems like it should only take a couple minutes, but this is India…I answered various questions and filled out various pages of paperwork (most of them as repetitive as the paperwork need to enter), and after about 45 minutes, I was free to go.
I was welcomed to Nepal with a much more streamlined process…I had my visa, passport stamped, and carnet stamped within 15 minutes. While I was inside the immigration office doing paperwork, 4 police officers formed a perimeter around my bike, to keep people away…maybe a bit excessive, but good to know it wouldn’t get messed with, at least.
It didn’t take much riding to notice a big difference from India…the further I got from the border, the less honking I heard, and the more tame and roomy the traffic became. It also didn’t take long to feel like I entered some uninhabited countryside, which I think is all but nonexistent in India. The calmness felt amazing.
The amazement continued once I started getting into the mountains…the scenery was astounding, and the roads were nice and twisty.
As I continued the seemingly endless climb up this beautiful pass, a light rain started, and before long, my fingers started getting really cold, despite my heated grips being on high. About the time I noticed how cold I was, I also noticed that the rain was turning to snow.
By the time I reached the top of the pass, it was snowing pretty hard, but the bigger issue was that I probably only had about 30km worth of fuel left. I stopped in a tiny village to check how far it was to the next gas station…I guess I just wanted to end the suspense and figure out whether or not I was screwed. Surprisingly, the guy I asked (standing in front of a tiny roadside stand) said they had fuel. There was no fuel pump in sight, and all I saw in his shop was chips, candybars, bottled water, and bottles of some bright orange drink. He asked how much I needed, and I figured 4 liters would get me to Kathmandu (I didn’t want to overdo it, as I need to drain my tank in a couple days to make my flight out of Kathmandu). So he grabs 4 bottles of this orange drink looking stuff and comes over to my bike.
Turns out they were just old water bottles that had been refilled with fuel…hopefully they at least let the water dry out before filling them!
With that taken care of, I was looking forward to heading down the north side of the pass and getting out of the snow, then taking a blazing hot shower at my hotel in Kathmandu.
First, the snow turned back to rain, then the rain stopped, and then I got into Kathmandu…the roads were impossibly wide, and the traffic was really relaxed. All I needed was that hot shower, the antidote to the cold, and everything would be good.
I arrived at my hotel, which required navigating zero alleys, but when I went to check in, I found out (the dark lobby was a clue) that the power was out, which meant they also had no hot water…damn it. So I got a little more shivering practice in.
Hahaha, the orange gasoline it’s weird xD To protect fingers from cold I’ve found that the only thing that works reliably are heated glove liners, or good heated gloves.
Wow – how strikingly different in such “minor” ways – trains that are obviously filled to capacity, but for every passenger who disembarks, 9 more get on…Barefoot construction workers – no OSHA out there!…And what’s up with those cows’ ears!?…And traffic patterns – how organic and strangely efficient (if loud) – Shoot the gap!…There were even some weird gravelly patches that looked strikingly similar to roads – but no, couldn’t be!
Glad you’re still safe and having fun – it’s hard to believe you haven’t had to tangle with a semi, yet. Stay safe!
Hopefully now that I’m out of India, the close calls with semis with be a lot less often!