happiness is...

happiness is...
kenya 2010

Saturday, May 26, 2012

the trip up- definitely a trip!

The last two days have been as challenging as the first few! The good news is that I am up in dadeldhura. I made it! Yesterday, it looked like that may not happen. My ride was supposed to come and get me at 8am. Guess what? At 9am, he still wasn’t there. Nepali time has proven to be really similar to Africa time (which means it has no bearing on actual time at all and things just happen when they happen), so I wasn’t surprised he was running an hour late- but I called my hosts in dadeldhura to let them know since they were heading to church and would be out of pocket until noon. Doug made a phone call to the driver and called back to say that the roads were closed due to the bandha and he wouldn’t be able to reach me until afternoon or evening, at the earliest. What he didn’t tell me was that he really didn’t think there was any way that I would make it up. Missionaries had been stuck in Kathmandu for weeks trying to get home, and others were stuck for weeks up in dadeldhura, unable to get down. Instead of telling me that, he said “maybe this afternoon or evening.” I settled in for a blistering hot day in my hotel room in the middle of the Terai- and an hour later, the young waiter that had been bringing my bottles of water and a roll of toilet paper on a tray (I didn’t even have to ask! After all, I brought my own) came running up the stairs shouting and pantomiming driving a car. My ride was there! He started grabbing my stuff and shoving it in my backpack while I stuffed the rest in my suitcase- and then we ran down to the car, loaded up, and literally sped off. I breathed a sigh of relief when we made it through town (we were literally the only car on the road. There were dozens of bikes and people on foot, but no vehicle traffic because the roads were still supposed to be closed.).

My relief lasted about 4 minutes, until we started our ascent up the mountain. In all the excitement of “Will I get there? Won’t I get there?”, I never once considered that the road and the drive would be terrifying. Oh, but it was. It was 3 hours (that was part of the problem, considering it should take 4 hours to get to Dadeldhura) of white knuckles and desperate prayer. It was a very narrow road that twisted and turned while it climbed to staggering heights- with sheer drops on my side of the car the entire way.  Boulders and piles of smaller rocks littered the road where they had broken free from the cliff face above and crashed down onto the road. Sometimes we came careening around a corner to find a herd of goats or cows blocking both lanes. My driver was a good driver, but a fast driver, and he passed anything we came up behind. Most of these were huge trucks crammed with people and with supplies and people riding on top, or buses that were double capacity. There was never a full car width next to them, but we passed- on that sheer drop side- every time. One bus tried to close us out and cut us off and we barely made it by.  There was one part of the road that was gone completely, along with what passed as a guardrail, and was covered only by sand. We skidded sideways when we crossed that patch. Several other patches were covered with thick jagged rocks instead of pavement and the car jerked and jutted across. I can’t believe we didn’t pop a tire. I chewed a Dramamine but it was still all I could do not to get carsick.

I will also say that it was 3 hours of some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve seen.

 It was gorgeous, soaring mountaintops and thick jungled slopes. There were terraced farms and animals grazing along the road. It was primitive and the tiny towns that dotted the road were the poorest of the poor- but it was breathtaking when I could look away from the road ahead long enough to enjoy it.

And then we were here!

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