The Road to Bandipur
Bandipur Travel Blog› entry 42 of 136 › view all entries
Met the group at 8:30 AM for departure. Befrore departure I turned in a bag for storage at the Kathmandu Guesthouse that I would not be using during the trek. Walked out of Thamel to our bus as the bus was too big to get into the streets of Thamel.
It was about 140 km to Bandipur. Estimated drive time - 4.5 hours. You can do the math for average speed. Getting out of Kathmandu was a challenge. This city is a throbbing mass of humanity with little or no organization. And it stretched for miles. Just when I thought we might be escaping the valley, there were more buildings, more people, more motorbikes, more cars and trucks.
But only for a different kind of madness. We started descending into the next valley. Down, down, down, from 1500m to 500m or so of elevation. Accompanied by the hiss of the air brakes and a cacophony of car horns we headed down the road to the valley bottom and beyond. Organized chaos travelled this road as well. There were only about six near bone-splitting crashes, but at the same time there seems to be some pattern to the passing traffic/oncoming traffic dilemma. What I do know is that there are no organized passing zones.
For a long while we continued following the river downstream in the valley. We stopped for a short tea break about 2.5 hours in and then proceeded on our journey. At the Marysangdi Khola we turned and followed this new river upstream. Passed a hydroelectric project that provides power in Nepal (occassionally it seems). Finally we turned off the main road for the 8km climb to Bandipur. From the valley floor it was about a 450m climb on the road to Bandipur at 1050m.
Bandipur was once a regional trading center between India and China. With the building of the major roads in Nepal, the city has lost that status.
We took a short walk through town, and saw many children. Several wanted to practice their English with the western tourists. One particular 10-year old girl was a favorite and asked several of us our names, ages, and nationalities and then would repeat them back to us.
The weather was warm and hazy today, so no great views across the ridge toward the Annapurnas. Going to try to get up early in the morning to see if I can get some views of the high mountains. So calling it an evening even though its only 9:30 PM. Not that there is really much to do here after dark anyway.
Sidebar - I need to remember that I am not Nepali size. As my head keeps reminding me, many doorways and ceilings in Nepal are not built to accommodate someone over six-feet tall. I've banged my head several times already (and would continue to do so throughout the trek).