Climbing Mountains to get to the Lowlands
Monday Dec. 8, 10:07PM
Sucranada, a village near Chitwan, Nepal
Song: “After Class” by Atlas Sound on Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Not Feel
Today we pushed it, 80km (twice the distance we did each of the last two days!) The first 30 or so were hard, up and down rolling hills on a dusty narrow broken mountain road. Then, all of a sudden, it flattened out, like we were on a plateau. It was weird to be biking in Nepal without going either up or down a hill. As the mountains faded into the background behind us, we were cruising fast on level ground, and the vegetation changed radically to more temperate, sprawling forest, and I could imagine THIS to be the home of all the wildlife I’ve heard about. A saw some monkeys in the road, and only imagined far-off sounds of elephants and tigers. Suddenly we were going trough the very large and kinda dumpy city of Naranghar (Nepal’s 2nd largest city to Kathmandu).
We heard the farm was another 10-15km beyond the city…. 40km later down the bumpiest-ass crap country road (I was really cursing) we arrived at the Balarm Bhattarai House, Balarm being the man of the house, Pradeep his son (20) and Pradicha (13) and Pramila (16) his daughters. From what we could tell in the sunset, the farm is beauiful, but as we were exhausted we skipped the tour and hit the showers. After unpacking and dinner we sat around on the stoop of our newly-completed guest quarters and got to know each other. Cara guided us all through some yoga stretches. Pradeep narrated a photo album filled with past guests, Nepali traditional ceremonies, and photos from a Safari we’ll go on in the National Park we’re actually in right now! If we were here 2 days earlier, we would have attended an Elephant festival in which they play elephant polo! And we got the low-down on some of the national dress (and those cool caps that the men wear). Many guests in the guestbook were sporting traditional Nepali dress… wonder if we’ll be around for any special occasions!
They also have a tiny cat named Conga, who looks just like the one from last night in the classroom. We actually saw a few more cats today, and I’m going to make a generalization that they all look pretty much the same: light-colored, tiny and skinny, with large ears. I would never have guessed Conga was a mother 3 times over. Anyway I’m happy to have a kitty around.
I can already tell, this family is so cool. It’s ridiculous and hard to get over that we can just travel around, help out a bit, but basically be treated as family and get shown around. It’s just so… foreign! I mean the concept of being so friendly to strangers. People rule. I never thought traveling could be so easy, at least in regards to feeling welcome, and safe, and so well looked-after. It’s truly an inspiration on how I want to live my life, not as a guest but as a host. Well both, as you can’t have one without the other! I want to be more open, and learn not to distrust every stranger I meet… that’s bad culture! Brotherhood of all (wo)men! Hey, where’d that soap box come from?
Anyway I’m super-duper beat, but psyched that we might get on the internet tomorrow so I can finish uploading some of these pictures! Or at least I’ll try. Love from Chitwan, Anthony