Sucked to miss a nights records because now I’m so sleepy, I have TWO fantastic days to debrief on, and we’re getting up again at 6AM to finish our 4th day of cycling before we reach the farm. Let’s get to it…
I know these long blog entries are too much to read, esp. on a daily basis, so take it with a grain of salt that this more is journal is more for me to remember, cuz after time the days and weeks would mix into a big milkshake-like impression, and well I can’t let that happen. OK, enough disclaiming.
So YESTERDAY, Day #2 of cycling was a lot harder than day one, and that’s not only because it was ALL rolling hills, nay mountains, and well, that’s hard. Also, my leg muscles were still tired from Day 1, so it took a lot of will to advance through another 60km. Let’s summarize: the views got better, the villagers even nicer (the more we stopped to interact with them), I’m becoming ever more comfortable with my bike, tweaking it as necessary, and I’m thrilled that Cara, Bonnie and Jamey are such great companions.
Between the Nepalis’ grasp of the English language and Bonnie’s killer skills with the phrase book, we’re communicating well enough with everyone, and when verbal communication isn’t an option, just hanging around each other is enough. Let’s take the kids, for example. (This applies to people of any age, actually.) When you roll up on your bike to take a rest, whoever is around will come over and check you out and greet you. Smiles are ubiquitous, so the walls are down at first sight. The great thing we share in common is a mutual curiosity about each other, so it’s kind of like glorified, face-to-face people watching, where everybody wins.
Yesterday we saw a terrible sight. First let me say that on this 2-lane windy mountain road that we’ve been traveling on, lots of buses go speeding by, and while I don’t personally feel threatened or endangered by the drivers (they do their best to give us room), there is some scary passing that goes-on, and it gets especially hairy when oncoming cars are speeding around curves in the road (with little keeping them from flying over the cliff). Also crazy is that these buses are often loaded with passengers hanging on the roof, singing and screaming and carrying-on like it’s the best time of their life. Well yesterday we saw a bus down in the river, and lots of ambulances… but this drop was hundreds of feet. Needless to say many people died. There’s a lot of sad stuff in everyday life out here.
We wanted to camp last night, and shortly after we passed the bus crash we found a little school with one of the doors wide open. Inside the simple stone and concrete room with aluminum roof there was a chalk board and some long desks. As we scoped the scene a bunch of kids from the nearby farm came down off the hill to see us, and an adult came too. After a little gesturing and phrase-book magic he gave us the go ahead to sleep there. Sweet! The catch is that for two hours (until the sun was gone) a dozen or so little kids hung around with us, looking at through the windows and even doing yoga with Cara and I. (It was so cute!) I didn’t journal as I wanted to keep the technology on the down-low. Keep in mind we had no privacy, just steel bars in the windows and the door didn’t lock, so we just read by candle and headlamp light until we were asleep at 8PM, exhausted. As we were getting ready to go at 6:30am, the kids were back to see us off. This is now the SECOND time I’ve slept in a school. (First time was with Gabriel in Prague.)
Now TODAY was more hard cycling. I mean HARD. I was tired and feeling weird and sluggish, and didn’t feel right until we had a big lunch with our Swiss friends we keep running into. We probably did around 70km today, and afte rlunch we rode straight up a mountain for almost 2 hours before we cruised down for a glorious 10 minutes or so. It was slow and steady uphill, and I’m proud we did it. I really got into a nice groove, listening to Boards of Canada on my iPod, the late afternoon sun dressed the hills orange, and with eye candy like that it was just blissful. When we hit this BIG town where we are staying tonight in a hotel, with it’s maybe 5×5 grid of streets, we were happy for the warm dinner, cold shower, and real beds. I was happy to find especially fair prices here ($1.20 each for our two rooms and another $1 for the best dinner and ginger tea I’ve had so far), this town rocks. We also re-packed our bags for optimal balance and to shed some ounces, and watch Babe on my Macbook before bed. One more day… and I hear them mountains are BIG tomorrow!
Muah, my American family! I hope you’re still thinking me me as I am you! I must say it’s delightful to have much time to think and reflect. More on my reflections some other time. Just wanted YOU to know that you’re in my thoughts. Good night!