Day 2 Kathmandu to Nagarkot: The bus and the Himalayas

lonely planet and everyone on the internet agreed–there might be a tourist bus to Nagarkot. That tourist bus might leave from either one bus park or another, and if it did exist it would leave at 1:30pm. 
As you can imagine, this wishy washy information was not super helpful. We wanted to take a tourist bus because though they cost more money they’re generally more direct and much less crowded. On public buses, you cram into every nook and cranny, standing and sitting, and even when you think the bus is so full you can hardly move, people are apt to shove in further. It’s not really a comfortable experience. 

So we tried to find the tourist bus after the monkey temple, to no avail. Two tourist companies we stopped in to ask said it didn’t exist (we found out later it stopped running after the earthquake, for reasons we’re not sure). The Public bus was going to be our only option. 

After packing up at the hostel to head to the bus stop near ratna park, where we hopped on to a bus that was just leaving for bhaktapur, where we’d change buses to get to nagarkot. 

It was a pretty reasonable ride, highway roads with only a few dirt roads, not super unbelievably crowded and the crowd thinned as we got toward bhaktapur. The only wild piece of the ride was when a seemingly mute and possibly deaf man got on the bus and tried talking Amy and I in sign language of some sort, which neither of us understood. He kept making the same motions over and over and eventually, when he felt like we weren’t understanding him, pulled a scythe/sickle out of his canvas bag to help explain. As you can imagine, this didn’t help anything. Eventually he put the thing away, the driver seemed to tell him to stop talking, and that seemed to work. we felt bad for the guy but the whole bus seemed a bit pleased when he got off. 

Once in bhaktapur, where the driver and conductor guy (he stands on the side of the car and yells out where the bus is going, and collects money from passenger) were really helpful in directing us where we need to go, we picked up a second and final public bus to nagarkot. It was standing room only by the time we got there but we didn’t want to wait for the next bus to fill up so we hopped on and stood near the front. I already felt like the place was pretty packed (and there were families on the top of the bus) but when the driver got on board, about 12 more men shoved in, smashing everyone so close together. The roads up to nagarkot were winding and narrow so we were very thankful that our driver was so diligent and careful in his driving. We were happy to finally arrive in nagarkot and get off the crowded bus though. 

Amy hunkered down at a cafe while I walked up the street a short way to a hotel to see if they had space for us. As I was walking up I ran into two little girls who followed me a bit of the way, giggling as they went. When we turned around a corner, an adult yelled out to them and they went scurrying, so I thought they’d gotten yelled at for talking to strangers. Then another dude ran past me up the hill and one more was running down the hill. And then the windstorm hit and it all made sense. 

It was crazy, crazy wind. It whipped all the dust and leaves from the road into the air and the trees were thrashing back and forth. It felt like hurricane style winds and I was super happy to see the sign for the hotel just up ahead. I ran and by the time I got to the parking lot the wind had kicked up even more. I was trying to shield myself by huddling next to a building but a guard in a little guard show got my attention and gestured for me to go in the building, which was this weird big coat closet or changing room. I stayed there for about ten minutes before making a run for it up the steps to the reception desk. This place was a nice hotel, something we were splurging on for the night to get a good shower and a little luxury. Inside, you could see and hear the wind but you were totally protected. I knew Amy was hunkered down in the cafe where she was and I also knew she’d be worried about me since she wouldn’t know that I’d made it somewhere safe, but I didn’t want to leave while it was still so windy and the staff seemed to think it would blow over. 

just as I was planning to leave after the wind died down to walk back down to Amy, in she walked, her bag on her back, mine on her front. She’d walked the whole way up to make sure I was okay and didn’t get hurt in the windstorm. I felt a bit like an ass for not getting down there faster…

This was soon forgotten though because that windstorm kicked away all the clouds and for the first time in two weeks the langtang range (part of the Himalayas) came into view. It was pretty darn surreal. The snow-capped, rocky, sky-high peaks were our first glimpse of some of the highest mountains in the world and they didn’t disappoint. Sure, there are pictures of the Himalayas I’ve seen, but seeing it there, 50 miles away, standing to tall and majestic and stark and epic — it was incredible. 

We ogled the view for a long time, had dinner at a local place (abc’s) and then were off to shower, after which we both crashed, hard, with an alarm set for the next morning to see the sunrise over the Himalayas. 

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