Saturday, December 24, 2011

Brand New Roads

When coming into Nepal, we were greeted by Anu, who was to stay in the car with us until we got to Kathmandu. Anu is about 24, with dark eyes and dark hair. He studied business, and knows a little Spanish, and speaks English with the accent that all people who speak Nepali or Hindi have. We need a language called Indian English, because at times you need a translator (or lots of people listening) to understand what these people are saying.

But past that.

The white van is spacious, with room for three people in the front, six people in the middle (there are three rows), and three more people in the back. Our backpacks are piled on the right end of the backest back seat, and on the left is where Anu sits. 

As we come down from the border crossing, through hills filled with green (I missed green in Tibet!), bumping up and down and sometimes sideways as we twist and turn.

Trucks go up to the border all the time, full of export from Nepal to go into China, or vice versa. At the border, men carry plastic-wrapped packages that are twice their width and half their height and about a foot thick. They carry them on their back, sometimes with a strap that goes around their forehead. They're bent down with their noses parallel to the ground. After unloading the goods from trucks at a checkpoint, they carry them to the other side, and load them into trucks at the other checkpoint. 

The trucks often force us to back up and let them pass, and at one point we were stuck on the road waiting for four or five trucks to pass us.

Anu tells us that during the monsoon season, this road is washed away, and they rebuild the road some time in September (I think).

As we're tossing and turning on this road that has more rocks than it does pebbles and more pebbles than gravel and more gravel than cement, with dust coming up as we're driving, and windows that open because of the bumping… I realize…

"So we're on a brand new road?" I ask.

"Yes." Says Anu, as Mom and Dad chuckle.

The scenery is fantastic, but this road is practically hacked out of the mountain every year after a huge amount of rain. To get to the border in the monsoon season, you have to take a land rover, because a van is just too slippery. If you fall over the edge, you're not going to get back up. It's a long drop down to the river, and between you and the river are rocks and outcroppings and trees.

I couldn't read throughout the entire trip because my face was practically glued to the window the whole time. Things were green, with trees, and clouds (I missed clouds), and rivers, and people walking by and washing clothes, and all in all it was just… a fantastic trip.

Even if we were on a brand new road.

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