Nepal Day 1: Finding a Bike and a Route

En los próximos días publicaremos una serie de crónicas del viaje que está efectuando Mateo Bueno por Nepal y los Himalayas. Viajó vía aérea hasta Katmandú y allá consiguió una motocicleta Royal Enfield  de 411 cc que hace honor a esa tierra con su nombre: La Himalayan. Por ser parte del Capítulo de Viajeros del Sur en USA y por estar publicando parte de estos relatos allá, estas crónicas vendrán todas en Inglés.

Reportaje de Mateo Bueno

The streets in Kathmandu buzz with spirits and mantras.  It seems that every other building is a temple. At 5am, street vendors begin to lay out their produce, clothing, or crafts in hopes for a sale or two before the rain. It’s monsoon season and when the downpour starts early, vendors are left without revenue. Many businesses revolve around the gods. The flower makers selling the flower collars to toss at Krishna, Ganesh or Buddha.  The bell or singing bowl makers. The holly water distributors. Hindus and buddhists mix peacefully as they each do a brief stop at their daily temple before their work begins.  Some do the fully mindful stop and spend time ringing each bell, others may be in a rush and do more of a drive-by prayer with a quick 360 spin and a bell ring, maybe a forehead bow.

The afterlife changes everything. When it’s an universal truth that we all go to our next life after this one, and that we’ve lived many others before this one, our attachment to this one life seems to diminish. You can witness it in the careless pedestrian crossing of a road, the zig-zagging of motorcycles, all traffic in general. Makes me wonder if I have an even playing field in a 7 day motorcycle trip when I’m not as convinced about my afterlife as all the others seem to be.

Reflecting on my afterlife I came across a dragon fly that came down from the sky and fell on the street. It’s wings – each about 3 inches long – could not hold her up any longer.  I picked it up and held it in my hands feeling her legs gently moving as I continued walking and wondering. Does she know that life may not be over now? That she is one of many and her kind will continue for ages?  Does her spirit go to another dragon fly or does she get upgraded to another animal if she was kind to others?  I pass a young girl selling corn and peas on the side of the road. She looks at me with a curious smirk not knowing what it is I’m hiding in both hands. I sit next to her, open my hands and show her. “Butter … fly?” She asks with effort. “Dragon fly.” I answer. “Dragon fly” she says in almost perfect English.

I take her hands under mine and pass her the dragon fly. She shines with her eyes.  People stop by to buy some cobs of corn and she answers their questions and takes their money without taking her eyes off the dragon fly.   One shopper tells me, “I always buy from her. She is supporting her parents and going to school. She’s a good daughter.”

Girl with Dragon Fly.

 

The mission for day 1 in Nepal is to find a motorcycle and get intel on the tour.

I shop around and find the perfect partner for the trip – the a Royal Enfield Himalayan with less than 20k kms.

After visiting a few bike shops, I connect with one that organizes bike tours. I hit it off with the chief tour guide, Nikhil. We share some Instagram moments and the fact that my family organizes an annual Colombia off-road tour. Nikhil has a mowhak and by his Instagram account you can tell the guy is a strong rider.

“What’s the one place you think I need to see if I have 8 days to tour?” I ask Nikhil.

“Go as far as you can go in the direction of Tilicho Tal – the highest lake in the world. 3 days in and 3 days out.  You won’t make it to the lake. It’s a 2 day footpath to get there.  But the dirt road to Manang/basecamp is our #1 tour.”

Seems like that will be the plan.

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