As my alarm went off at 4:45am, I immediately thought, “nope not going to work today,” I was happy I actually didn’t have to, but I still had to drag my butt out of bed. Today was border crossing day. We were leaving India and crossing into Nepal and we were looking forward to a change in scenery, people and food!
We drove to the station before Varanasi as it was the start of the line and less hectic to get on and settle down. If I wasn’t a fan of the first train we caught, I was wasn’t having a bar of this one. I was lucky that I was sat in a two-seater next to Amanda. Ria was on a three seater with a 4 arse family! I was against the window and I was hot. There was no air and it was humid and stuffy. My seat was broken and on a slope. Oh no 6 hours of this. I feel like I can’t breath! Ah shit I am having a mild panic attack. Amanda helped me through, I can’t remember what she was telling me but it was working. I closed my eyes and I decided not to fight the tears rolling down my cheeks. This made me feel better, not only releasing the tension but my tears cooled my face. After some breathing I calmed down. We swapped seats so I could get up and down and had a sense of space around me. The people in front of me got off so I sat on my own and curled up to get some sleep. I woke and the group were getting cranky. Apparently we had been stopped for nearly an hour, 1.5 km from our station. Aj said due to corruption, they were letting all of the local trains through first before ours which was from another town. We ended up staying in that spot for an additional 2 hours!
We finally exited the train and Amanda joined me in some train porter service. I was amazed as this guy balanced her large suitcase on his head….with my 20kg backpack on top of it! Between us, It was the best $4 spent!
We got into our transport bus that we were taking to the border, only another 3 hours after our 8 hour train trip! We nicknamed it the love bus as it looked like something out of the 60’s. Good old Carol took it upon herself to turn the air con off as it was blowing directly into her face. Yeah love, don’t worry about the rest of us in the back you selfish cow! I am writing this 2.5 weeks later and yes I still have resentment!
We stopped at a little shop for a quick bite to eat. Finger Chips and Coke were my go to. I was enjoying them, don’t know what or how they were cooked because they tasted like egg. Got to the last couple and found a massive hair wrapped around one. There were two upsides, I didn’t get sick and I didn’t have to pay for them.
Back on the love bus, we continued to the border. We started passing a queue of Indian trucks that were crossing the border. I got excited thinking we were there. This line went for an astonishing 10km! They were basically camping there for days as the Nepalese border do an absolute full inspection and take maybe only 20 or so trucks a day!
We took all our things off the bus and loaded our bags onto bicycle rickshaws so we didn’t have to carry them. Aj collected all of passports and took them into a small open office to get our Indian departure stamps. I saw off to the back of the building a foreigner had set up a tent. Looks like someone was having some immigration problems and was staying in the border town.
Once we got our stamps, then had about a 5 minute walk to the Nepalese border. There we had to fill in application forms for our visa, arrival forms, give a passport photo and USD25. Within in 20 minutes we were all cleared to enter. We headed over to our new Purple People Eater, although she was more mauve than purple. But she was air-conditioned and we could spread out a bit. Our bags were already loaded and we were off. On the way to the hotel we stopped at an ATM to load up some Nepalese cash. First went Ryno and then myself. The two of use had emptied the ATM! No cash for the others!
We arrived at our hotel which had a lovely outdoor pool which we were cranky we were two hours late and couldn’t really use it as we were all hungry and tired. After a quick shower we headed to the hotel restaurant where we feasted on cold Everest beer and our first taste of Momos. Momos are just like Chinese dumplings but the filling is of a curry taste. They were really good.
With a fully tummy and cold beer under my belt, It was sweet dreams.