Too excited for our trek, we barely got 3hrs of sleep before waking up in a daze at 530am. Our porter met us at our hotel, and a short taxi ride got us to the bus station which was already jammed pack with people. As the Dasain festival continues, workers in Kathmandu begin the journey back home.
The bus station was hustling and bustling, and it felt like we were at the heart of it all, weaving between locals yelling for tickets and carts selling bananas. So far we’ve seen two fruits available for sale, bananas and apples. We were glad we had a porter to guide us through this as all the signage was in Nepalese, if there were any at all. The buses don’t have any specific numbers, or signs telling you where they’re going, but people hopped on and off, paying the bus attendants whenever they were asked.
Bus attendants have earned our respect. Hopping around in flip flops, he’d climb to the roof of the bus to pack people’s baggage, and the bus would just drive along at a slow speed. He’d climb down the ladder and hop onto the ground continue calling for more people to get onto the bus (no tickets required). Once full, and we don’t mean all the seats were full kind of full, but that every nook and cranny was filled from end to end and people were literally standing at the doorway, before the bus would start moving. The bus would reverse out into the nightmarish traffic while the attendant helped leading the way with rhythmic pounding on the sides of the bus. And once the car starts moving forward, the attendant would hop onto the moving bus and stand at the doorway, with his body being outside of the bus. All of this was done in a natural, fluid motion like a dance of sorts. Hop off, run around yelling for passengers, and catch the forward moving bus if nobody would come.
The bus was cramped, but with a window seat at least we had some fresh air. It was also nice not to have anybody smoking in the bus unlike in China. Body odour (not of our own) was rampant and the window proved to be a life saver. The bus ride wasn’t without its dangers though…. As I was dozing off in the morning, I vaguely remember the person fiddling with the luggage compartment above my head, and then all I remembered was hearing a small metal object fall onto the ground before feeling some serious pain on my forehead…. It hurt, but I was too tired and grumpy to give a shit so I toughed it through and went back to sleep. In the afternoon, I was much more lucky… as the bus drove through some rocky terrain, I felt a gentle breeze brush against the side of my head before hearing the person behind me swear. I turn around, and a wrench weighing about 2kg landed on her lap. W T F? Who puts that stuff in the overhead luggage compartment?? Guess I was sort of lucky…. as it was pretty close to landing on my head, and the nearest hospital is about 10hrs away…on foot! Lucky!
Arriving Bulbhule, we entered into the Annapurna Conservation Region and plenty of trekkers were here. Some went all out with an expedition-style trek with guides, cooks and tents ready for them, while others came in solo with nothing but a backpack and flip-flops. And unlike in Mount Kailash, this trek is more of a teahouse trek with villages spaced every hour or two for you to dine or even rest for the day if you feel tired. So no more hungry trekking like in Mount Kailash!!
Tomorrow we’ll actually start hiking, while we rest up early tonight in a guesthouse. Dinner was chicken curry on a verandah overlooking a river. Hopefully this is only a sign of things to come!