Travel Notes from Pokhara-Palpa (Tansen) Part 2
I crash my bed here at Horizons Homestay at around 9PM. Back home, i usually sleep just before sunrise. So, imagine how healthy i am now that my body clock has adjusted to the daily life in Nepal. If only i could limit my sugar intake with my favorite soda, then it would be good. Because of the lack of cigarette sellers here in Tansen, I finish a pack of Surya in 2-3 days which is excellent, I've been here in Nepal for 3 weeks now, and Terai region interests me a lot now. Apart from the string of beautiful Newari towns in the Kathmandu Valley, and the Everest/Annapurna trekking, not much has been said about Terai. To begin with, Terai boasts of Chitwan National Park -- the home of one-horned rhinos and a Unesco-World Heritage Site. Terai also has Lumbini -- the birth place of Buddha and again, a Unesco-World Heritage Site. Both of which, i am quite excited to go to in the coming weeks. But for now, let's start with the dramatic, cold-sweating, butt-breaking ride from Pokhara to Tansen via Bartung along Siddharta Highway.
I've passed by unbelievable roads cut through the mountains in Indonesia, Myanmar and some parts of Sri Lanka, but i was not prepared for Siddharta Highway. On my rough estimate, the bus i was riding may have passed across 5 huge mountains, zig-zagging along hundred feet deep gorges, snaking around the holy Gandaki river. I was not able to take photos or videos along the way, because i was constantly moving the whole time. For the effort, and keeping us all safe, the driver deserve a whopping applause from me. There were a couple of Puja stops along the way, but the last one prepared for the yet unbelievable ride approaching Tansen. We were speeding around 80km/hr on deep terrain that becomes witness to multitude of landslides during the rainy season. To top that, my rucksack was on the roof. Luckily, both I and my dirt proof rucksack survived the journey. When i arrived at Bartung Junction, i saw a jeep waiting for a couple more passengers. Off i paid the man 20 rupees for the 4 kilometers ride up to Tansen. The public bus fare only costs 320 rupees for the six-hour journey which was way more thrilling, than let's say, paragliding.
When i finally set foot on the bus park of Tansen, what welcomed me were the throng of young Maoist teenagers marching and rallying. Good thing, the amazing Gurkha soldiers were there to keep them sane. As anybody whose been to Nepal will tell you, "Stay away!". With 40 kilos in my back, i found a quiet side along the eateries who most of which close down along with the passing strike. The bank was half-closed, and some bystanders watch should there be any commotion. Thankfully, they all left peacefully, and i was already on my way to finding a place to stay. The road in Tansen is motorbike friendly, because most of the roads to and from the bus park were all on 90 degree incline. Going down was a breeze, but walking up is such a pain in the ass. I asked random people were Horizon Home Stay is, and most of the people would point me to the school. Later on, i found out that there's also a secondary school named New Horizon, where Abby, the son of David, the owner of Horizon Homestay, study.
On one of the garages, i met this young man named Suzit who helped me find the homestay. It was about 4 kilometer up from the bus park so imagine my delight that a motorcycle is giving me a ride. I successfully arrived at Horizon Homestay, voted number 1 on Trip Advisor. When i was about to pay him, he declined. He told me that i don't need to pay for it. And just like that, Tansen is surprising me with the unbelievable kindness of people. There are more stories coming up tomorrow after i walked around Tansen today. Here in this photo, i met my new found friends from Tansen. It's always a delight to know that Nepali people are the friendliest in the world.
I just ate a good serving of Mushroom Dahl Bat with the family, and i am super stuffed. We call it "ukus-mukus" in Nepali. Looked at the clock, it's almost 9PM. It's almost time to sleep.