Route: Kathmandu -Khandichaur -Barabise-Liping-Khasa- Kathmandu
Date: July 25/26, 2009 Saturday/Sunday
Duration: 32 hrs
Distance: 220 km
Participants: AlkaB, BabinsS, BasantaT, BasuD, BikeshV, ChetanaS, DineshA, KrishnaB, MadhavS, PrajwalS, RajuM, SandeepP, SarjanG, ShashiA, ShivaP
Photos: AlkaB, BabinsS, BasuD, KrishnaB, PrajwalS, RajuM, SandeepP
Caption: BasuD, ChetanaS
Report By: AlkaB
Geolocation: 27°59’28″N 85°59’0″E Tibetan town on Nepal Tibet border. Known as Zhangmu in Chinese, Khasa in Nepali, or Dram in Tibetan
In the Tibetan Trade Land
This was my first hike since I joined D2. There have been two hikes to Khasa ever since I joined D2 but due to various reasons, I couldn’t make it to the hikers list. This time when I got Prajwal’s mail announcing hiking to Khasa, I replied him back with a doubt in my mind that I might not make it to the hikers list this time too. But luckily, this time I was in the hikers list.
On Saturday morning, I woke up early in the morning, packed my bag and headed off to Bishalnagar office. I was the first one to reach there and waited for others to arrive. Most of the hikers reached office by 7: 15 AM and we left office at 7:30 AM. We picked up rest of the hikers from Old Bus Park and Baneswor.
At around 10 AM, we reached zero kilos and stopped at ‘Sharmila Hotel’ for breakfast. I won’t call that a good breakfast but it was good enough for us since we were hungry. While we were having breakfast, we discussed why the place might have been called “zero kilo”. But no one came up with a good reason for why the place is called so. So we left the unsolved mystery behind and moved ahead. The road after few hours of ride was not very comfortable. Since it was the rainy season, there were landslides at few places but we managed to move ahead. En route, we stopped at a resort called “The Last Resort” to view people doing Bungee Jump.
Babins has already been to Khasa before, so he shared his previous experiences with us. Engrossed in his talks, we didn’t realize we reached Liping, the check post from Nepal to China. Suddenly he remembered he forgot to bring his citizenship card. He was hoping he could cross the border with his driving license. When we reached Friendship Bridge, the Chinese army let him through the bridge to the custom check post. The fear apparently ended when we were crossing the border together. But it wasn’t over. No one was expecting that there was going to be another identification check at China post. The Chinese custom officer said “Nagarikata” when he saw Babins driving license. When Babins requested to let him through, he said “Hunna”. Guess that officer knew only these two Nepali words. Not only him, unfortunately our hiking coordinator Prajwal and Raju dai were also rejected, reason their faces doesn’t match the picture in citizenship card. But they weren’t to give up. They thought of trying one more time to convince the custom officer but they dropped the idea when they saw the officer throwing off Nepalese citizenship card of a Nepali man standing in front of them, out of the window into the Bhote Koshi. That’s when we realized, we shouldn’t try to argue with Chinese people.
One Chinese lady approached us and told us she would take us to Khasa.
On the other side of the border, rest of the hikers decided they would go to Khasa and return the same day. One Chinese lady approached us and told us she would take us to Khasa. We took two vans to ride us up to Khasa. I was thinking the lady was going to drive us but a tall man with shoulder length hair and thin moustache hopped in the driver’s seat. He was wearing black pant and white vest; he almost looked like “Bruce Lee”. But the moment he moved his arm to hold the steering wheel, I saw dragon tattooed on his arms. I was little frightened as I had heard that only Chinese mafias have their arms tattooed like that. I started to chat with Chetana and was telling her that he might be a mafia in his previous days while our Bruce Lee driver was giving loud horns because there was a big Chinese truck which was not letting us pass through. I was not finished telling Chetana who he might really be just then the driver flung himself out of the van, opened the truck door, pulled the truck driver from his seat and punched him so hard on this face and later spitted on him. If not for our lady guide who pulled him to stop the fight, we would have been stuck there to watch the fight. When the driver was back, my jaw was hanging down on my chest; well others got little frightened too.
Finally we found one which said “We serve….
Finally after all that drama going on in the entire ride, we reached Khasa Bazaar. Just when we thought the drama was over and we would go around the Bazaar and then return back, we came to know the China post closes at 6 PM China time and it was 2:30 PM in our watches, which was not the correct time in China because it was 4:30 PM there. We had very little time so we hiked around the Bazaar for a while and found a Nepali guy who told us, the border would reopen again at 6:30 PM Nepali time. Phew!!! That was a relief because we were very hungry and hadn’t eaten anything since we ate at “Sharmila Hotel”. So we decided first we’ll eat and started searching for a restaurant. Finally we found one which said “We serve Nepali Food too”. Delightfully, we went inside, made ourselves comfortable on Chinese couch, the waitress brought the menu. The menu said nothing about the Nepali food so we thought of going for Chinese and we decided what we want to eat. But again cultural shock, the waitress didn’t understand us. So we pointed on “vegetable rice”, “fried potato” and “plain noodles”. At first, vegetable rice was set on the table which was good. After that what arrived on the table, we thought was noodle but when we tasted it, it was potato, not fried but half boiled. Okay, we aren’t eating this; thought noodle was going to be good. But when noodle arrived, most of us couldn’t even stand the smell of it. It had some kind of meat on the top (donno whether it was beef or something else), which smelled nothing like what we eat here. Most of us didn’t even touch that food; some of them did taste it but couldn’t eat more than one spoonful. After the meal we decided to head back since we couldn’t find anything much interesting and since it was Saturday, most of the shops were closed. We hired two vans and headed back. Shockingly, our “Bruce Lee” was again there to stop our van. He chattered something in Chinese with our driver, and then with an angry face, he gave us the way. Take a deep breath coz’ he isn’t stopping us in Khasa and beat us up like the poor Chinese truck driver. Finally, we headed back, stopped at Tibet trading centre, did shopping and headed back to Nepal. There’s nothing better than your own place. The three guys, Prajwal, Babins and Raju dai were waiting for us on the other side of the border. Poor guys, they took a round in Liping, played pool, drank Chinese beer and watched “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar”, . They did find something to do to wait for us for long hours. We headed to tatopani and spend a night at “Family Guest House”, had some good time chatting and laughing together. It was a beautiful night.
Next morning, we went to Tatopani to take a bath and then headed back to Kathmandu. Overall, it was a very nice trip, very memorable and nice experience with Chinese people and Chinese food but Chetana and I have regret that we couldn’t get Chinese hairstyle. I do want to go back there again but I’ll make sure that I learn Tibetan language (at least) before going back.
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