My first attempt to travel as a backpacker started with a flight from Zurich to Kathmandu. The story includes the beginning days since my arrival in Nepal, which was unique.
I took a plane from Zurich over Doha to Kathmandu for my first flight to Nepal. It was the first time I went on travel outside of Europe. I handed in my overloaded ninety-liter backpack at the Bag-Drop and felt nervous. I had chosen Nepal as my first destination because I knew a Swiss girl who had a boyfriend in Charikot, where they lived together in an apartment. She was thirty-year-old and preferred high-situated areas. Loved the simple life, nature, mountains, and cloudy weather with cold temperatures. Unfortunately, her skin was susceptible to strong sunbeams; she immediately got sunburns, which were dangerous for her health. She had a sister and was grown up in Switzerland but was never confident. Through her mother’s surroundings and education, she got chubby, often stayed at home, lived alone, passed the time in front of her computer, and never had a successful relationship over a long time. However, her boyfriend in Nepal accepted her the way she was, and she has been happy for two years.
Before my takeoff, I had a small conversation with her, and she promised me she would be in Kathmandu at the airport on my arrival at local time. I packed way too many clothes for this trip for the next two months and other stuff I will never use. Her advice to take with me warm clothes was the only thing which would pay off. I had a comfortable flight to Doha, and I discovered the vast airport after the plane had landed. The waiting rooms were very abandoned, and everywhere were displayed new expensive cars, including an Aston Martin. An airport where millionaires would feel great. Before midnight I went to the gate to wait for the connecting flight to Kathmandu.
At 00:30 AM was the boarding, and at 10:30 AM, I arrived in Kathmandu eventually. Before I left the airport, I went to the toilet, which was very dirty. I saw hundreds of people waiting for relatives or friends from the flight at the exit. I spotted Leila and her boyfriend in a mess, who was waiting for me impatiently. We greeted each other, and Nabin, her boyfriend, welcomed me to Nepal. I was the first visitor from Switzerland for them. They were very excited to show me their lifestyle. First, I asked for an ATM to get some cash for our trip to Charikot, but Nabin told me that he had arranged everything for today, and we were a bit hurried. Therefore it was more important to catch the bus to the village as soon as possible. We left the crowd with a taxi to the central bus station, where most buses depart at noon for longer routes.
At 11:30 AM, we ate lunch in a small restaurant for local workers. We ordered delicious rice with chicken. At the table, Nabin explained to me that tomorrow at their apartment, we could organize a program for the upcoming ten days what we want to visit. With Nabin, I always communicated in English. He got English education. He was an honest, aidful, and ambitious individual. He had plans and goals for the future, and probably with some assistance from Leila, he will reach them. He traveled much in Nepal before he had met Leila and earned money through it. The main aim was to open accommodation for low-budget travelers or a small restaurant. How and where was not discussed yet. They needed to solve Leila’s requests that she becomes a Nepalese citizen. The money she had was enough for their simple life, at least for a couple of years. At 11:55 AM, Nabin paid for the food with Nepalese rupees and we headed to the bus.
My huge bag we attached with ropes on top of the vehicle. Leila informed me about the upcoming bus ride. Usually, we should arrive before sunset; if not, we stop on the way and rest one night in a small accommodation. The bus we got was compared to Switzerland, in bad condition. It had space to carry around sixty persons. We took place at the bottom of the bus. With a fearless driver, we started the race into the mountains. The streets were narrow, and many bends broke. I listened to Nepalese folk music for the first time, and it was a blast. The speed maniac had always used the horn before driving into the curve. Sometimes he crossed with an oncoming vehicle. Safety First! After a couple of hours, the bus stopped, and we must wait over an hour. The driver put on the hand brake and inspected the right back tire. After a while, somebody brought out of nowhere a new one. They did change it, and we continued.
At 06:00 PM, we were still on the bus and decided to choose plan B and get off at the next small village. Nabin had a friend there who got two free rooms available. The rooms included a small bathroom, two beds, a window, and an old TV. Our rooms were situated on the first floor, and the community area was on the ground floor. We had conversations together and shared stories. I also bought cigarettes in Switzerland which Leila asked me to take one package to Nepal. Eventually, at 10:00 PM, I went back to my room and fell asleep.
I woke up already at 07:00 AM. My friends were still sleeping, and I took a seat on the balcony and listened to the river and birds. From this small village, which included only a few buildings and shops, the town of Charikot was two hours away. We were over 1500 altitude, but everywhere were green forests up to three thousand meters around us. Because the locations were in the mountains, the local workers built pylons to transport electricity from village to village. The lines hung from building to building, and the installations were made without standardizations—the same image as in South European countries. At 10:00 AM, I went to the kitchen, and a local woman prepared lunch for us. We ordered three milk coffees and a huge meal. The first course was small-backed fish with chili, raw carrots, and cucumbers. The main course for each of us was a plate with cooked rice, chicken, soup, and fresh bread. The soup was spicy. I got tears of it.
At 11:30 AM, a bus arrived; we took our bags and got in. At 11:57 AM, we still were on the bus. Suddenly the driver made an emergency stop…
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