Travel Notes from Ramkot to Bandipur, Nepal
Writing this post is a bit sad. The weather here in Pokhara is awful, and i miss Bandipur with all my heart. It has not been easy leaving a place after almost 2 weeks. I've never stayed any place i've traveled in the past seven years that long. There something about Bandipur that never fails to make me smile. Maybe, it's the old lady at the store where i always buy my daily pack of Surya, among other essentials. Maybe, it's the kids near the ridge helping their mothers uncover rocks to be sold at the bazaar. Maybe, it's the unfathomable coldness of the air in the early morning. Maybe, it's the gas-enabled water heater which i always fearfully operate that could totally blast me away any second. Maybe, it's the Dahl Bat and chicken noodle soup lovingly made for two hours by Rukum's wife. Maybe, i was born here in my past life, that's why coming here never felt as if i was traveling. It felt like a homecoming.
The days pass by more, and i would see myself sitting on the cobbled steps kicking in the remaining sunlight of the day. As any local would do, i would chat for a bit and walk to mountains, and ridges, and then some more. I will smile finding the last glimpse of the snow-capped mountains from Tundikhel or my porch. People might think that my days have been boring. My days have never been this fruitful.
The other day, i finally reached the tiny village of Ramkot where traditional living still exists. Women wear drapery on clothing, and too many rings on their flat edged nose, and sounds of wild boar emanate from each house's backyard. Then, there's the view from the backyard where a full speck of sunlight beaming over the most beautiful mountain ranges you can ever see in your life.
It took me long three hours of endless walking up and down the tiny ridge pathway. It took me again, another set of hours coming back. Most of the time, i was there alone --helpless and in solitude as i admire the gaze of pine trees and wood-burned from another village. My face has been so hit by sunlight that i manage to turn my skin tone from dark brown to dark red in less than a day. Obviously not equipped for the arduous trek, i find myself giving up most of the time. Yet, whenever i think about the people whom i will share intimate stories back home always light up my less happy hours. I hitched the trek with these two boys whom are best friends for life. I was beginning to feel ill, and told them of my condition. I've felt loved and well-taken cared off. They patiently waited for me to catch my breath. And little did i know, the thousand weird questions they throw at me, made sense. They were trying to make me feel as if time passes by easily. "See, that's Bandipur!" --after more than two hours of flight of stairs passing by another remote village where a volleyball tent is the only recreational activity there is. I am writing this down so i won't forget. For once in my life, i felt i needed to prove myself that i can do it. No matter how hard the battle is, i know i can. I believed in myself, and i know that God, Buddha, Allah and whoever God i have called have all protected me from the serious threat of falling on a thousand meter cliff.
I've never felt more happy upon reaching the ridge that i just happen to walk to everyday. I know Samira Homestay is only but a few minutes away. As i write this, i couldn't thank the two boys for helping me out reach my destination safely. I asked them what they want to drink when they get to town. Yet, they declined. The boy didn't tell his parents where he's going so he needed to be back home before supper. I saw him the other day, and the only reward i can give him is my highest respect and gratitude. They declined when i asked them if i could take their picture. Regardless, their faces are etched in my heart for life.
With feet full of blisters and wounds, i went up to the store. I asked the old lady to give me a bottle of water. My body is sore, and my muscles in pain. I saw Rukum from afar, and he embraced me right there and then. He wanted to take my photo as i was wearing a Topi all throughout the journey paying my respects to this beautiful country. He waved at me, and said "You belong Here!"
It seemed, i had to go through this ordeal to prove myself that i am now part of the community.