Travelling to Chitwan from Kathmandu we took a public bus. The fare was remarkably cheap and compared to air travel we were set for much more of an adventure.
An hour into the drive we came into some very heavy traffic. And soon after that everything ended in a grinding halt.
Unaware of what had happened there was speculation on the bus about an accident or a road block. One passenger thought there might be some kind of strike.
We waited on the roadside for a little over two hours. There was no traffic coming from the other direction at all.
The hunger pains started to make themselves know as my guts started to grumble. Thankfully we were not too far away from what looked to be a restaurant.
Maybe this was some sort of ploy on the part of the local shop keepers and restaurateurs? How to increase trade from passing traffic; make them stop -for a long time.
It was a genius plan!
People from every vehicle in sight seemed to pile into the tiny place. They were beyond capacity and the size of the cookware and the volume of food being cooked looked like it was a lot more than normal.
Maybe the did have some hand in this plan?
After we had our fill, and a couple hundred other people had had theirs also, we began to move back towards the road.
Still no movement.
We took a little walk along the road towards the obstruction, whatever it may be.
The traffic snaked on and on around the bends and seemed to go all the way to Chitwan. Was this a preview into how getting around by road in Nepal was going to be?
The suddenly there was movement. Traffic began to pass is on the other side. It seemed that this was the cue to break lanes and all push to the front.
Traffic soon came to a grinding halt again as people found themselves bumper to bumper with oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road.
I saw a sign ahead and the picture told a more likely story thank l than those spun by the passengers on the bus. There had been a landslide.
The days of heavy rain in the area had resulted in a section of the road being washed away. In the process as the earth came rushing down across the road two trucks and a bus were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The trucks had been washed off the road and the bus tipped on its side. Welcome to Nepal!
I guess that is just a fact of life in this sort of climate. Landslides happen.
The thing that amazed me was how quickly the people had mobilized. For the scale of the damage there was movement within three hours of us coming to a halt.
This was very step country, and the Trisuli River below us ran wide and fast. Coming through Bharatpur intro Sauraha we drove through a small village area. The most basic of dwellings dotted the roads.
As we got further into town the craziness reared it’s head again. Traffic was buzzing and people precariously shared the roads with heavy vehicles.
We found a place to stay right on the edge of the conservation area. The Hotelier recommended that we take in the Tharu Cultural Center show later that evening.
Along with other local cultural attractions, we decided that it would be a good idea to have a look.
At the Tharu Cultural Center the show consisted of a number of local stories of various lore and significance.
Traditional dance was displayed along with music and singing. The night went much quicker than expected and the next day was set to be a jungle adventure.