Tuesday, Dec. 16, 9:26PM
Song: Deep in Velvet (Turnips Mix) by Aphex Twin
We were on the road by 8:30am, and biked until sunset, 90km! For me, though, arriving in Butwal, out far far away goal, was against all odds, as I started this leg of the bike trip in supremely sore shape from our last day’s hard work on the farm, we crossed the steepest mountain pass yet (5km/hr all the way up for 90min – I wanted to die), and then after 30km on flat road my quads felt like they were gonna explode, and sitting in a gazebo playing with baby goats I tried to convince peeps to quit, still having 28km to go! After stretching, eating Advil, and massaging the crunchy bits out of my legs (which I didn’t even know could get that way) we pushed on, practicing for our 1st time on this trip a group riding style called Drafting in which you ride on each other’s tails, the leader up front setting the pace and taking all the wind resistance, making it probably 25% easier for the riders behind.
Yesterday’s ride was pretty damn ugly, basically because we were traveling through the surrounding ‘burbs of that dump Narayanaghad, and even the guest house we stayed at, though charming in some aspects, like the dining room we which felt like a tiny local pub in Prague — the one in Vinorhady that serves Kozel (goat) beer — the town was so dingy and so was the stinky green petri-dish mutant cesspool behind the outhouse… I was worried that it’d be 500+km of dumpy lowlands. I’m speaking mainly of aesthetic appeal, as Nepalis are Nepalis wherever you go (good), but today the sights got kickass again, with sprawling farmland, tall forests, cute villages decorated for weddings, goats when you need ’em (for smiles and their cute voices), and increasing numbers of Buddhist temples and, for me, more interesting Hindu temples (which I haven’t seen so many of) with crazy big colorful 3D statues of gods and goddesses.
Butwal, where we are tonight, is a big crazy city, much bigger than Pokhara, and more like Kathmandu. There are stores with everything, from tech and fashion goods (which I haven’t seen in a month ago in Kat – seems so long ago!), internet, hips kids, hustlers, rickshaws, the works. The scene at night was mayhem — Kathmandu never got this crazy! This town is also close to the birthplace of the Buddha, so it draws many visitors, hence the booming industry. I ate SO much food and a startling variety for dinner and didn’t even feel overstuffed (cuz it’s all more or less fresh and healthy). It’s nice to alternate between city and rural life! Our hotel room (and potty) is so clean and modern compared to any we’ve been in, same cheap price, although we had a conversation about how even this ‘nice’ Nepali room would Never pass back home… our standards have just adjusted so much, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. We have TWO outlets, and TWO light bulbs, and a clean enough floor to stretch on, and a ceiling fan! [[Family: skip the rest of this paragraph]] >>> Cara and I went up to the roof after we brushed teeth to check out the view. I noticed a temple atop of the neighboring building and we were gonna try and sneak up there to see, and walking back the way we came through the darkness I tripped on a brick and my reflex was to grab the nearby wall. Ow! It was covered with the Rustiest nails all along the top, and my middle finger had a nice hole poked in it. Add that to my two head bangings today and it was just another day on the road. (My body’s never sustained so many cuts, bruises, bites, band-aids, scabs, and bumps before. I’m using this vessel!) Thank gods for preemptive tetanus shots.
We’re sleeping-in tomorrow – 8am, yay!, then getting some yummy city alu paratha (fav. (Indian) breakfast food), hitting a book shop (burning to finish that Dalai Lama book I started on the farm), and getting our weekly internet fix! We’ll be on the road by noon for a short 50km day… it’s already 12:45 (yikes!) so I need to regulate. Aww, and I was going to write about all the things I’ve been missing… ok, quick:
(New song: Late In the Day by Supergrass)
I MISS: * Christmas! Wish I had some Yule-tide cheer in my stocking. * my girl, Amy. got the sweetest email from her last week and I’ve been running it over in my mind every day… * By day I daydream Burning Man, and at night I dream in Black Rock City. I look forward to it more every day. Only 250 more days and I’ll be on my way back! So happy I’ll get to start preparing as soon as I’m home! If you want to come this year (Helen Jen, Jasandra, GC) the BM family always has room for You! Let me know so we can start to conspire by email :) * My dear family! Mom, Dad, Dineen, Cristina, Robbie, Dave, Grandma, Tommy, Devon and Dylan… it’s burned into my soul to be spending this time of year with you, and instead of having outings and feasting I’m taking you along in my head on this adventure. * My cozy and comforting Brooklyn home. Axl Rose – my red-hot son, and the best neighbors and roommates… * My NY family… Mis Amigos! Where art thou now? (Drop me a line yo!) * Obama! Wish I could see the news more often so I know what’s up with my Prez-elect. * Okay, enough schmaltz for tonight.
Sweet siamese daydreams, A