Monday, 20 July 2009



I went to Nepal with almost no information, the decision was improvised after a few days spent in Bodgaya.

Katmandhu was the begining and the end of my journey in Nepal. To run from the unbearable heat of the Indian spring, I decided to cross the border with Nepal and make a drastic change of altitude. It was 40 degrees in Lucknow at nine o'clock in the morning, a merely 100 metres by foot meant to get completely soaked in my own sweat.
That was in April, May. And about eating, that was impossible. My organism was just refusing to swallow any kind of local spiced food, it simply burnt horribly down my esophagus in such a way that I couldn't feed myself properly.

Only cereals, yogurts and such light food were accepted. I must have lost a fair number of kilos after Varanasi. From there I went to Bihar. The extreme heat of one of the poorest regions of India has ended with any residue of good will that was left. I had to go up. To change of altitude. So, Nepal that was.


The entrance into Nepal is done through the Terai, a region still in the plains at the foothills of the high mountains, with a climate, a vegetation and fauna very specific. A area ideal to see elephants and other big mammals. The region is also sensitive to outbreaks of malaria that are usually heavily fatal.

After the Terai, still very alike the Indian plains, the road starts to climb gradually. A huge difference can be felt between the climates of low and medium altitude. A relieve for the empoverished Western metabolism.

Katmandhu is rather agreeable, despite the abundant hippie folkclore, which, by what I understood, almost disappeared to give place to the regular incarnations of controlled turism. My photocopies mentioned a place called Freak Street which, it seems, was a famous destination in the seventies, if I saw it I didn't notice it.

Katmandhu is a good place to recover energies, rest a bit, and get ready for some more. From there I wanted to get into Tibet through the only border that connects the two "countries", but after a vain research, I've found out, that the border was closed to individual travellers. To find a group of four people, and pay the prices and impositions of the Chinese tourism, would be very difficult and oppressing to me.

So I've stayed a few weeks in Katmandhu, drifting through cafés, bookshops and places before going to Jiri and to the high Hymalayas. Then I came back a few weeks later, the North being a cul-de-sac.

I've tried to take advantage of my spare time to see the local places of interest, but I missed some important spots like the ghats, the shores of the river. I had a few outdated fotocopies as a guide, and nothing else, that's why. Nevertheless I didn't miss a jewel like Budanath, one of the biggest and most impressive stupas of the Tibetan Buddhism universe. Swayabunath, the monkey temple, I also did not.

Aware of the fact that embassies and consulates are located in the capital, I decided to get a visa for Pakistan, my new alternative to Tibet, and another one, a transit visa to cross India to Amritsar, the border with Pakistan. The bloody visa cost me a fortune, contrarily to my Belgian friend, who got his for a much cheaper price, and that probably due to agreements between governments.

As far as I understood, Portugal wouldn't be, at the time, on their lists, nor should have diplomatic relations with Pakistan, a misery. Yves stared at me with a mocking expression, for getting a much cheaper visa than mine. One of his few victories.

We split after a memorable walk through the ways that lead to Everest. I've followed to India, this time by the Western side of Nepal, and then to the border with Pakistan. I don't believe in paranormal phenomema, but extraordinarily, I came to meet him again a few weeks later in Beijing, a few good thousand of miles to the North, and in the middle of a crowd that can only exist in Beijing, a city of more tham 11 million of inhabitants. To my big surprise, there he was standing, enjoying one of those countless popular bawls, usually organised in the street by the neighbourhoods during the hot days of summer.

The big terrace was right next to where we were, full of people, of glasses of beer and of multitudes of Chinese little dishes that are usual in those restaurants in open air. A street thing.

I use to say to myself, the skies are different, the gods are diferrent. A formula that I won't forget, also valid to cross any unknown terrain.


Katmandhu - Durbar Square

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