Its Bhanda season here in Lovely Nepal, what that means is that The Maoist close all the roads and make it impossible for any commerce or travel to happen. My exit from Meghauli wasn't all that smooth. I had to ride a bicycle to the town of Narangot. A painful 28 km. ride carrying all my kit on the Lords bumpiest road. Celebrated St. Pattys in true form (censored) then off to big Kathmandu. its usually only a 4 hour drive from Narangot. On Sat. 6am I started out on a rickshaw. to the bus park. Hopped in van at 7am. 20 mins. later stopped at military checkpoint. waited til 2pm for a Military escort. What that means- everyone lays about, sleeping, eating then all of the sudden shouting, -Here it comes! engines rev. had to "dukes of hazard" into the window of the van to fit in. The Military Convoy careens around a corner and we all take off, everyone at once(all 150 vehicles)- complete mayhem. The Game is "follow the Armored car" at 50 MPH up the steep mountain roads, then slam on brakes, every one halts, then all over again, and again. occasionally waiting for the mine sweeper guy to check a bag on the side of road, then off again. On the rig, mere kids ride behind large banana belted guns. Not knowing where to look. The Nepalis make the best of the situation, laughing and carrying on. 150 vans, trucks, cars racing like no tomorrow, all vying for first place.Throw up everywhere.lots of nears misses, and hilarious situations.
I was in an over crowed van and my pictures do no justice. the ticket boys ride on top, egging the drivers on by beating on the roof- Go! Go! They throw bananas at each other- keeping the excitement going. at one point I looked over and saw a taxi passing us. 4 Nepalis crammed in the front seats, and in the back seat one goat standing up eating grass, oblivious to the absurdity of the situation. made it into Kathmandu at 8pm. I have a few more Grey hairs but loads of stories. My last weeks passed by fast. My Untouchables project was sidelined cause the political situation is deteriorating rapidly, and my friends simply said, not now. We have to keep a low profile- Something Big is about to happen. So I walk away with many great images, fond memories, and deeper understanding. Will be Stateside by end of week.