Today we were to retrace our steps back to Kathmandu and carry on further north towards the Everest range and a mountain top hotel in Nagarkot. Whilst there we were to have an afternoon walk around a mountain village and witness sunrise over Everest from the balcony of our Himalayan Villa Hotel accommodation.
That was the plan. Though we again breakfasted early and were on the road by 7.45 pm, we were not to reach our destination before 7.30 pm that night. Our route led us along the nightmare section of a few days before and this time it didn’t seem to be too bad. The same nose to tail traffic, clouds of fumes from poorly maintained lorries and crazy Nepalese drivers with a death wish. All went well with two rest breaks, with one providing lunch of a very mediocre curry affair. But welcome none the less.
The problems began around 30 km from Kathmandu on a section where we had to wind our way up the mountain that the city is perched on (it is ferociously high). We could see the line of stationary traffic all the way up to the top. We didn’t move for quite a long time, getting increasingly annoyed at the antics of the lorry drivers hooting their horns or psychotic car drivers thinking that they could drive up the empty lane to our right. The amazing thing was that nobody, absolutely nobody, took offence at such appalling road manners. Even when we did start moving and the idiots still tried to overtake when the only visible gap between vehicles for the next foreseeable light-year was measured in millimetres. Then, when they met an oncoming juggernaut (which stopped all downward traffic) they would slide to a stop and then there would appear to be around a five minutes pause while the brain cells eventually worked out that they would have to reverse as the lorry couldn’t due to the mile of vehicles behind it. When they had enough of going backwards, they would stop at the side of some hapless vehicle and wait for the rest of the vehicles in the line to recognise the situation and squeeze either forwards or backwards , thus reducing the distance between them to a hairs width. In this way, they (after a time ) manged to join the line of sensible and patient motorists to allow the oncoming traffic to move. There’s no doubt that this was happening to us, but further up the road and so preventing free flow. If this situation or less had happened on a British road, blood would be spilled. I suppose that if we also had been through the trauma of a cataclysmic earthquake, such things as a spot of traffic trouble would be seen for what it was. Perhaps?
We arrived weary and in the need of proper toilet at our destination in the dark. After a swift (for Nepalese standards) check-in we found our room and Sue made tea and pronounced that the last section of journey up to Nagarkok had upset her tummy and she was having a lie down. I made my way down to the bar, drank an Everest and gobbled some peanuts, before ordering a meal along with other members of our party.
Nearly two hours later, our meals started to arrive. By now I had lost much of my appetite. The first meal to be brought to the table was a chicken Kiev, It was a beautifully sculptured sitting chicken made out of mashed potato. Surrounded by vegetables. Lovely to look at, but you could see the chef’s finger marks as he had manipulated his masterpiece. Quite rightly it was returned to the kitchen, but on return the chicken was hot but the vegetables cold. Again, on being presented to the diner, this time the vegetables were hot and the chicken cold. Meanwhile, the rest of us had received our fayre and were tucking into it with varying amounts of satisfaction. Unfortunately, I was so tired I managed only half of mine before sleep became more important and I retired to bed. I think that eventually, a completely satisfactory chicken Kiev did turn up.