Leaving Nepal, 520km to go

Monday, Dec. 15, 9:26PM
30km West of Narayanaghad, Nepal
Song: Peacock tail, Boards of Canada
475km

Today I’ve officially been in Nepal for a month! And I can’t believe we’re already leaving, although we have 2 weeks left on our tourist visas and it’ll take much of that to get out, the way we’re going. Nepal is a relatively teeeny country, and we visited its three largest cities and countless villages in between. Now we’re heading due west, traversing what would be a big ol’ stretch of NE India, but opting to cover the distance on the Nepali side of the border, bound to meet up with friends that the group made on a farm outside New Delhi in the month before I got here. All I can really know about them is that one is the son of a well-to-do organic Indian farmer, who thinks Cara is his girlfriend. More on that in 2 weeks.

Hay muffin
Hay Muffin (the goal)

I’m happy to report that yesterday we spent our last day on the Bhattarai family farm actually doing some labor! It may be hard to grasp, but we woke up early and busted our hump all day moving a huge pile of hay. I’ll skip my essay on the significance of hay on a farm, but everyone with buffalo needs it, and it takes a lot of work to make those picture-perfect straw muffins you see everywhere! I’m sore as heck, more than any day of biking so far, so we done good! What’s funny is that we spent all day ‘processing’ the hay (shaking the leftover rice out of it), finally got the whole pile moved into a nice muffin in the back yard just before sunset, cleaned up the loose mess, swept the yard, until all that was left was a modest 4 foot mound of salvaged rice. Exhausted, we were so happy to be done, and hungry! Imagine it pitch black, no lights anywhere, and all of a sudden you hear this ominous noisy tractor coming down the street. Balarm borrowed my headlamp and rushed out into the street, and I see a silhouette of the biggest, most oversized (3x the width and height of the tractor) Mountain of new hay I’ve ever seen, and they dumped it into the middle of the yard, right on top of our little pile we worked so hard for! It looked like an avalanche, many times bigger than the hay we started with, and all we could do was jump into it. And that’s where we made a cozy nest to eat dinner. So fun!

Hay Mountain 1
Hay Mountain 2
Hay mountain, us in it

It’s too late to write about today! We’re getting up at 6 to bike 70-100km (big day!) Just in case you weren’t sure, Nepal still kicks supreme booty! Today we started our long journey on the right foot, and now we’re savoring our long country road exit route. This evening we’re in a simple guest house with most gracious hosts, and our candle-lit dinner and stimulating, hilarious conversation about Nepali economics and culture couldn’t have been more enjoyable. Love and humility, A

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