The inside was very cramped and obviously meant for a small statured person and although I am not huge by any means, I could see right away I would be at a disadvantage as the only way to not have my knees hit the seat in front of me was to sit up very strait….for 10 hours! I managed to wedge my feet under the seat in front of me so could somewhat stretch out. I watched the bus fill up with locals until all the seats were filled. But then small wicker stools were brought out and the middle aisle was utilized. Those unlucky enough to not have gotten there in time to secure a real seat would have to sit for the long journey among those small stools. For 800 Rupees (about 12 USD) we received a large bottle of water and lunch along the way. At 7:20 am the bus took off.
The roads in
I washed well and began to eat; very much aware of the dozens of dark eyes occasionally looking my way. I was starving and as the food was offered again and again (all you can eat!) I began to finally satisfy my hunger. After washing again and using the toilet, I headed back to the bus. While waiting for others to finish a Nepali man approached me and started a conversation in very broken English. It is as these times I really wish I could just say “I’m from
We boarded once again and another movie was started and by the laughter around me it must have been a comedy (although the subtitles lacked any humor whatsoever). We drove on and on and then hit a highway and I was able to read finally! I had picked up “Stones into School” the sequel to “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson in
We finally pulled into somewhere around 6:00 that evening and we caught another much much smaller ‘bus’ to Ghorahi (gor-aye). I use the term ‘bus’ only in the sense that you pay a small fee to get you from one place to another; this vehicle has 1 bench seat where the driver was and then behind that another bench seat. In the back there were 2 smaller benches lining each side of the vehicle. This whole thing was smaller than a SUV and was already packed with people and luggage on the top. Silly me thought that we would have to wait for the next ‘bus’ to come but then I remembered where I was and watched in wonderment as they crammed poor old Ama into the back. They then turned to me and opened the door opposite the driver. Inside was the driver a woman and a man and about 8 inches of seat. I tried to fit my butt onto the seat but then the door wouldn’t close; a fact we all found out when the guy on the outside tried to slam it shut. I then adjusted with 1 cheek on the seat and my knees pointed towards the driver. It worked and the door shut. All I could think about is “how long do I have to sit this way” as my legs were already cramping and the door handle was lodged into my lower spine.
I looked back to see where Bhola’s wife, Jaya, was going to be put. They somehow managed to squeeze her into the back with Ama. In all there were at least 17 people inside the vehicle and one guy standing on the step rail thing holding onto the door frame. We drove and drove and I kept wiggling my toes as they were going numb and every time we stopped I silently prayed that one of the people next to me would get out…FINALLY about 30 minutes later the guy next to me motioned to pull over, when I jumped out of the vehicle to let the guy pass, I almost fell over since my knees were locked up. The last thing I wanted was to be the main character in a story about the “foreigner who fell from the bus”. I regained my composure stood up and then got back on. With all the room, it suddenly felt like a luxury sedan! One by one the others departed and I was happy to see that my two travel companions were sitting as comfortably as I was.
Finally we arrived in Ghorahi and crawled out of the ‘bus’ and they downloaded our entire luggage (well my 2 backpacks and a plethora of smaller bags belonging to the others). After a quick call, the school bus (dismiss any
A 10 minute bumpy ride later and I was departing amongst a group of children all yelling “Namaste!” and handing me flowers. Delirious, hungry, bladder bursting and tired, I accepted them with joy and realized my journey to Dang was indeed over.