Full Moon Fever
Team: Vishnu, Samir, Asim, Deepak, Keshav, RinaM, Mamata, Kapil, Ayush, Prabhakar, Basanta, Sudhir, Suyesh Nepal and Rajesh with Ram as the pilot.
Date : Sat/Sun, Dec 22/23, 2007
Duration : 39 hours
Distance : 230 + 8 kilometers = machin+ nonmachine
Report : Rajesh Pyakurel
Photos : SudhirS, SamirR and Suyesh
Cr. Support : NishchalS & SuyeshN
Lunar, Looney, Lunatic. The full moon was simply amazing. The sky looked so clear and bright and near. No clouds to mar the view, maybe a few werewolves here and there, howling. It brought on a feeling of happiness, joyfulness, and out-of-this-world feeling. C’est Magnifique! Khasa was wonderful. For me the cold weather did not matter as much as the feeling of happiness. It was a long time since I had this feeling. Dunno what brought on this. Maybe the weather, maybe the altitude, the presence of our happy-go-lucky-team, or simply the rarified air was having its delicious effect of hallucinations/illusion/delusions on my little mass of grey matter. It was simply great. An intoxicated feeling without any catalysts as I had stopped drinking way back in time. Wonderful.
We reached Khasa around 4 in the afternoon, ravenous. Had not eaten a bite since 9 in the morning at ‘Sharmilee’s roadside café’ at Zero Kilo, no idea named for what. Now I know why the guys were talking about this place. Vishnu, Oh mere, oh mere, oh mere, Sharmilee. The wining and dining was great with local chicken, Bhutan, and cheura. Was ravenous so ate to my heart’s content sipping it down with some tea. The others were also attacking theirs with no less fervor. The masuko jhol was a lot better than the broiler jhol that we are used to in Kath. No reception here of the NTC. I had imagined it would have gone a bit further, but no way. The phone was dead and we were totally immunicado from here till back to kath the next day, but it did not matter. We were having fun. Two very friendly and easy going girls were on our team along with a bunch of guys who could match them in all respects. Joking and singing was like usual with 3 vocalists and one lead player, all oral, of course. The road was good for Nepalese standards. Reached Panchkhal, Dolalghat, and then Barabishe in no time. En route, we stopped at a resort called Arniko which was a delight situated along the Bhote Koshi or the Sunkoshi river with tents in the garden, scouting for a place to stay for the night, but, alas, they had the space, but no blankets. Would have been a bit tough without the blankets, but could have managed with a bon-fire, but the levy was towards the negative, so climbed the van again, which reminds me of the driver, Ram. He was an expert driver, driving with speed and accuracy negotiating the hairpins and the loops with ease. Really good. Just joined deetoo a few weeks back.
Reena was asking if you could Bungee double, at the Last resort, and we were surprised that she wanted to do that, and it finally dawned on us that maybe she had someone in mind! Doubt the rope can hold both of you, Reena, but I have seen it being done on TV.
Had been a long time since I had cruised on this route on a bike in my younger days, not that I am old, mind you, just when I was younger, you know, a man never grows old, he just matures like old wine, getting better with age, right Vishnu? I hear Vishnu’s yes, I think. He should be the same age as me. The rest of the route was nice with slopes on the right and the river on the left, alternating, with some stops to shed the excess water baggage that we all have to shed, as nature calls. Around two, we reached TatoPani, named after the natural geysers that occur there. Some guys were talking of taking dips there, but we could not, as the road was jam packed with bused and people as it was Sat’day. Many believe the water cures them of the diseases, which is partially true, as the sulphur contained in the water possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties, but only skin disorders, I am afraid. So along slowly to Kodari and the ‘Miteri Sangu’ the bridge over troubled? waters, just jesting, or the Chinese border. Had to get off the bus and trudge along on foot as it was packed. Went some distance, but found two guys missing, god knows where, had to go and find them, buggers had gone into a shop for some cookies, and lost us. So united at last, off to the immigration office, nagarikatas out, shout out your name, all 13, and then gifted with a certificate of clearance from the office for a stay over in Khasa, queued up to the bridge, presented it to the chinky cop, who rudely said ‘Ja’ looking at our mug-shots, and then we were on chinky land, on the other side. Kapil Bro! ha, ha, ha, sorry Kapil, cant help it, no nagarikata, had presented the D2 ID, the cop had looked at the back of the ID, looked at Kapil, and sent him back to Nepal, for and official ticket. He had high hopes, since he said they had let him on the ID last time! D2 must be getting famous there too! Must have been a different cop, but cops were rude, the chinky ones, not like our friendly ones.
So, united again, we climbed the road, looked for a Van to take us the 45 minute, lurching, and body-massaging ride to Khasa for 100 bucks each, but no van. Had to cram in a small van all 11 of us, sweating, until the trip to Khasa, with two of our brothers in another van. Reached right up to the Customs, cop shouted rudely again, in one line, obeyed, in rank and file, Vishnu herding his flock, and into Khasa. Walking along the road, Sudhir Bro said, that he did not feel tired, which was true because the chinky’s had built the road on a very smooth gradient so that your legs did not tire out. He was right. Looking for a hotel to rest, scouting around, went into one, 2500 NRS for one room. No go. Another, about the same. No dice. Students, no money, Vishnu speaking. Se! Se! So out again, till we came up to some Neps? in a shop, who owned a hotel, talk, inspect rooms, ok for 700 NRS for two a night. All 13 bundled in, freshened up, starving, and went looking for eatables. Lhasa Restaurant looked good, went in, momos, fried rice, beers from the roof of the world, juices, mostly cooked by a Nepali cook. Sated, photographed, and content, again out scouting, shoe shops, dept. stores, BBQ shops, booze joints, until a Disco, Sherpa! WOW! So all go in, start shaking whatever they have or have-nots, and with no entrance fees, a half liter of water costing 100 NRS, few beers, lots of dancing. So ultimately the guys had their hearts content of dancing, eyeing the nep chelis, who were also giving a lot of ‘side’ , as dance partners/waitresses, which made me think the biggest export of Nepal these days has been replaced by Nepali girls instead of carpets! Poor chelis. There were also some Nep guys hitting the dance floor with some Nep chicks also. Friendly, non-sticky, over-the counter-smiles were exchanged. Had to coax the guys to stop dancing as it was approaching 10 at night, some did not want to, so voted to check out another joint we had seen on the way, which turned out to be the same, so ate some chicken drumsticks on the road, with some Makais, same price as narrated by Keshav Bro. Along the way up the road towards the end of the town, our ‘Hutel’, and into the rooms. All changed into comfy clothes, I the same trousers, and into another room for playing Flush. Some guys ‘Zhap’ a little bit, playing on the bed, drinking. Seemed like Asim was winning, with Prabhakar Bro on the floor playing. We turned in for the night at 11 but some guys played into the night until 2? Basanta had to share with Dipak as his room was occupied by card sharps; I turned in, dumping another blanket on top. Whoever was snoring was great! Ghwar, ghwar, with poor Basanta tossing and turning and grumbling ‘ali uptyaro bhayo’, ‘ali uptyaro bhayo’ from time to time into the night. Maybe Depak tried to hug and do what? with him in the night, in his sleep! Somnolence is bliss. Must have been 4 when I woke up, to the loo, slept again, till 8, freshened up, man, was the water cold! Really cold. United again, onto the road, up the hill. Vishnu was roaring to go for a hike and off he went up the Khasa Road, but I was silently praying, ‘man manai’ that god, don’t make me go out for a hike! But it seemed like he was like a wild buck, so went up for half an hour, and then three of us decided to turn back and hit for breakfast, so back to Lhasa restaurant and heaven! Black coffee, beer, thukpa, what more could you ask for? Relaxed and waited for the Bro’s to arrive, which turned out to be a good 2 hours later, so we really did have a hike after all, waited for them to eat, and down to the van station via the immigration to the border again. We were hurrying as many wanted to shop there. Sudhir bro, ha, ha, god! was at his wits end because he was scared the van was going to plunge into the gorge, ha, ha, we were all laughing and making him scared still by our jokes. Poor guy! He was really scared. Border, and shopping, long awaited. Mobiles, blankets, jackets, rice cookers, mixer/grinders, long jones, what not, the china were selling almost everything. N95 for 7000 quid, would you believe it? So we bought three! The girls were shopping like mad, and it was almost 4 before they were finished and then off to the border, citizenships out, and then rendezvous with our beloved van and driver. Had stopped on the way to eat a little. Was almost 4 when we started back and stopped at Khandechaur to eat, at Rupa Bhojanalaya? I still do not know why we were stopping at all the right places to eat? First at Sharmilee’s and now at Rupa, must be a co-incidence? I still doubt it Vishnu! Some guys have the gift of stopping at all the beautiful places. The food was delicious with local khashi ko masu and all ate till they were burping and dakaring. Guys could not resist when ‘Rupa’ asked them to stay for a on-the house-coffee. After the café’ on the way, till down by the waterline, with the moon up in the sky with the background of mist covered hills. Guys could not resist to take a photograph, so a breakout for cigarettes and moonlightin’. Samir had also bought a mobile and he also took a snap of the moon with a star underneath. Someone was saying that his photo had three stars underneath which should have been only one, and maybe that was what happened to Khasa mobiles!
I was anxiously waiting to get a signal to call my wife and kid that I was a-okay, but did not get it until nearly Banepa. Guys were vocalizing their souls and loves for each other present and absent all along the way, with jokes in between. It was almost 9 and it looked like we would be reaching Kath not before 10. Asim and Sudhir dropped at Koteshor. Sudhir, I think you left one of your gloves in the van, I have it. Vishnu , at Baneshwor, and the rest along the way, all wishing to see each other at the office on Monday.
For me, it was an extraordinary detour. Now, reflecting back, I think the group of people we had was exceptionally good and friendly. And, of course, the full moon did have its effect on me like it has on the tides, ebbing in and ebbing out. It was a moment to cherish and for me, I would certainly take another opportunity to go back if there was one to come my way in the future. Khasa, I will see you when I will see you! Thanks to whoever came up with this idea? Simply amazing. Full moon fever!
01 Laconic hike
02 A pause at Borderland-recommendation for 2 nights
03 A fall nearby the resort
04 Pushing toward border
05 Free ride on the public bus
06 Waiting for lost ones
07 Arrival at China
08 Jiyo mere Lal-since 10 years with permission working in Khasa & happy
09 On the left locals and on the right visitors
10 Ice crystals from cloud on the Chinese hill
11 Attraction to Chinese products
12 Now no more I-crystals
13 Placing an order to chef
14 Glasses are raised – A symbol of happiness
15 Furnish with Chinese supply
16 Filled with a great quantity and became less tense
17 Preparing for the adventure in front of Lhasa Restaurant
19 Warming Up!
20 In a close order
21 An ascension and declension
22 A short break for fruit punch
23 Moving in Moving out
24 You look tired even in night hike
25 NHike continues
26 At home Baba and SudhirS
27 Next day-hike begins here
28 Greenhouse at the back of the town
29 Greenhouse effect- a significant achievement
30 Keshab and Rina take lead on a big trail
31 Chinese fuel station
32 +2 hiking team in Nialamu
33 7 am in Khasa
34 Interesting-a notice written in Nepalese alphabet in China
35 Leaving town behind but not the trucks
36 Rina and Mamata tried to climb here but failed
37 Happy walking but cold
38 This house construction costs NRs. 3,00,000 without interior-not bad!
39 One of Chinese police station
40 C-hill loving to walk on but difficult
41 T-momo good for breakfast
42 Boosting Prabhakar up
43 Just back from tiny hiking
44 Even small one was enough to make us happy!
45 Mamata and Sameer went same college
46 Deetoo Chinaman!
47 They like to buy this hotel
48 Ready to move to border again
49 Our driver did not like his photograph
50 Here they are happy for shot!
51 In respect to RinaM, she would love to go for Bungee-jump
52 Egyptian Merchandisers
53 Happy for dealing!!!