It was supposed to be just another motorcycle trip, something simple, a little whirl to keep the pace and the hand steady.
So far away from Hellen Dawson that I even doubted if I still knew if it was the 1st down and the others up and only joy.
A brief chat at the Outbeth in Nacala-a-Velha with the Portuguese comrades, who also made Mozambique their second home, drove me away from the idea of a return to Portugal with a leap in Morocco.
⁃ Fantini, listen, November is raining on land, it will not be good.
Although I did not care much about rain, I would rather have a dry trip this time. The Voortrekker already out of good size to prove to myself that rain is no problem.
For those who already know me, you know how much I was sad after so much planning and checking of hotels, road conditions, where to eat cod to the fist and all the necessary amenities to travel by motorcycle.
I opened the browser and typed: “where to travel in November?“. I particularly do not know what the world of the future will look like, one thing for me is certain, computers will know more than we do and there in the myriad of cloud data the answer was clear: ten different countries options that in November would be worth a visit.
Reading every explanation of why, climate, temperature, food, what to do, even a local expression guide, I come across Nepal in the list of recommended countries.
Among so many things that the Emperor taught me to listen to good old rock ‘n’ roll, Cat Stevens was always something cool and I was traveling in music Kathmandu:
⁃ Kathmandu, I’ll soon be touching you. And your strange, bewildering time, will hold me down.
I did two more research (old, in the near future the smartphone itself will say: look, I found this ticket and this motorcycle rental company since you want to go to Nepal), and incredible as it may seem, I found airfare at a good price and three different motorcycle rental companies. In Nepal!
After a few email exchanges, the company Parikrama Treks & Expedition caught my attention for the organization, references and cordiality. A quick confirmation on Skyscanner and fly-it-all in the schematic.
⁃ What do you mean, everything in the scheme, Fantini? Where is the hotel, which route?
⁃ Old man, I asked to go on a bike trip in Nepal and the Parikrama gang asked me if I knew how to fly, that the rest was with them.
Sensational. In fact, I am more than grateful to Mr Kumar Basnet and fellow traveler Mr Sujan Basnet who treated me as a prince. They even commented that if they had come in September, they have a tour they do every year to the Base Camp North of Mount Everest that is reached through Tibet. Yes, if you get there on a motorcycle. The famous South Camp Base on the Nepalese side, just on the killer walk uphill over 8 days with stops for acclimatization and carrying their junk in the back.
But there I was sitting at the airport in Nampula / Mozambique, waiting for the time to pass, two legs of flight later there I was in terminal C of the Dubai / EAR airport, waiting for the flight to Kathmandu. What a cultural shock to see that mix of people from India, Kazakhstan, Russia and all the luck of Eastern Europe, Arab world and Asia. When I say that traveling is better than buying couch, it is because of these moments.
In Kathmandu, the visa is made at the airport itself. There are several terminals to issue the visa application on time, some boxes to pay the fee of US $ 25.00 and then only present at the immigration desk with all the vouchers. Simple, single process however that a hundred gringos have asked the same question as I about where to go in November and should also listen to Cat Stevens. Two hours of queuing for a scheme that spent 1 min effective on each step was a lot.
The Parikrama team was waiting for me and they took me to the hotel. The next day I got the bike for a test ride in Kathmandu: “to get used to the traffic,” according to Sujan. Old man, remember all the traffic videos in the Asian countries you’ve already received. Now imagine yourself inside the traffic. Now here is the charismatic Fantini, living it in the real. Surreal. It has no signal, no plate, no preference and still works and flows. Only in practice to understand how it is possible.
Point for the bike, a Royal Enfield Classic 500cc. Comfortable, sturdy, lightweight and good to drive. Despite its classic look from World War era design, the set is very responsive and responds well to commands, which made the experience of chaotic traffic a little less terrifying.
After the proper introduction to the art of using a motor vehicle in Asian traffic, the due tour began. Around Kathmandu and then the road the next day, getting to know the cities and ancient culture of Nepal. Its beautiful landscapes surrounded by mountains of the Himalayas, colorful trucks with their musical horns, roads going up and down endless mountains, unpaved roads, all sorts of people walking or touching buffaloes and goats. Yes, buffalo, the cow is a sacred animal and replaced by buffalo.
“But is not it pretty much the same, Fantini?”
⁃ I think so too, but are you really going to discuss the culture of the caboclos?
In Kathmandu we know the ancient Hanuman-dhoka Durbar Square center with temples and “chapels” around the corner and the Buddhapari complex. A pity that the earthquake of 2015 damaged a lot and completely destroyed two temples.
From Kathmandu we leave for Bhaktapur to visit the ancient capital also full of temples. From there we finish the day in Nagarkot. As soon as Nagarkot arrived, there was a trail to a temple, 20 min of rocks, ditches and roots, and still getting used to the bike, carrying luggage, kept me from continuing. Probably lost something spectacular, but it was better than buying land.
From Nagarkot we head for Bandipur, not without first getting lost from Sujan in the middle of the chaotic traffic at the exit to the highway. It’s a lot of dust and trucks and buses. After all, adventure only begins when something goes wrong. Two phone calls to confirm if I was heading in the right direction, I found Sujan and reached our destination. Bandipur is very friendly and they have created a central boardwalk where cars do not pass and have several restaurants with typical food. I liked it, it brought me souvenirs from the cities of the interior of Minas Gerais.
And have local Gorkha beer (exceptional) and taste Sadeko, which can have several basic choices (peanuts, soybeans or other crunchy seeds) in a mixture of tomato, cucumber, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, pepper, everything mince and a lemon juice on top. Old man, curing flu, sinusitis, dry eye, cold sore, ingrown nail, parrot beak, wakes up deceased, among other things. The only side effect is that it pulls the leather out of the tongue so spicy it is.
From Bandipur we leave for Pokhara. Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal and a famous tourist hub. In fact the town has a full range of tours: a lake to catch canoes, the top of Sarangkot with spectacular views of Annapurna, Paraglide, ultralight, helicopter, trekking to Base Camp of Annapurna (only 5 days of walking, easy) Top of the other hill is one of the 70 Peace Pagodas that Zen Buddhism built in the Japanese world, shops and more shops.
Even the shops were providential. The gloves of the trail season that I have almost 10 years ago, which I was wearing along with the old jacket on the crazy turns outside of Brazil, finally yielded to so much road and dust. I ended up finding a comfortable pair of gloves for usd6.00. I think in Brazil, just for the brand, would charge a $ 100.00.
And of course another good thing was the quantity of bars. We started at one on the lakeside, we went to another on the main street, from that we crossed the street to another that had live music (very good band with a mix of world and local rock) and from there we closed in a pub with stage and everything with another band playing classic rock. Thin.
From Pokhara we continue to Lumbini. It would be the longest stretch. More than 5 hours to make a 200 and a few km. Curves and more curves on an infinite sierra road. We literally skirt all the mountains possible. And of course it rolled that basic wrong way almost coming. Just give it another 1 hour to find the hotel. But it made up for too much, a very thin piece of road.
Lumbini is known to be the city where Siddhartha Gautama was born, rather the Buddha. To be honest, there is nothing in the city, nor traces of the kingdom that he has renounced. The only tour is a complex of Buddhist temples and monasteries within an enclosed park. The tiredness was stronger and I preferred a light snack.
From Lumbini we continued to Chitwan, as we were in the lower part of Nepal, this time practically only straight in the stretch and it was possible to check the final speed of the Royal Enfield reach the mark of 100km / h, where stability is well compromised and it is possible to feel principles of chimada. In addition, the very condition of the road, traffic, animals, people and other obstacles on the track, indicated the caution of maintaining the maximum at 80km / h.
In Chitwan there is a national reserve for forest protection. High point for the canoe ride on the river with crocodiles resting on the shores, oblivious (still good) to our presence, and the elephant ride forest in. Too cool, even with the opportunity to see 3 Asian rhinos there. The tiger was missing, despite several signs of his near presence.
From Chitwan we set out for Gorkha, a city jammed on top of another mountain.
On this stretch we had the worst road of the whole trip. A 50km stretch of the 160km total was completely unpaved, which was not quite the problem. The tension was the traffic stopped in this same stretch in both tracks. It was 3 hours of dust, infinite zigzags, crossing “shoulder”, looking for spaces that did not exist in the corridors. With the fatigue, the tension, the heat, I managed to lose my balance in two zigzags at low speed that despite the fall, there was no damage, except a rearview mirror.
Poor Sujan did not have the same luck and in an overdrive between the line of cars and motorcycles, he picked up a sequence of ditches and fell ugly. It broke only the headlight, a fist on the pedal and a slight dislocation in the ankle that did not stop us from traveling. Fortunately.
Main attraction in Gorkha is the former palace of the king who unified Nepal, until then several separate kingdoms, into a single kingdom from where the country originated.
⁃ Ah, Fantini, I thought the attraction would be the Gorkha brewery you commented on.
⁃ Me too, what a disappointment!
From Gorkha we headed for Daman on another mountain top. So we took another wonderful stretch of hills and vicinal roads with their infinite curves.
The only one though was a disinterested police officer who in an improvised barrier shortly after leaving Gorkha, despite having reduced the speed well, the disinterested enters the front of the bike, with his back to me, walking good. In the braking to avoid running over the open mouth, the brakes locked and I went to the floor. Well, only the scare and slight excoriation would surely have been more serious if he had hit the unfortunate.
In Daman, in addition to a panoramic view of the Himalayan ridge, we finally got really cold the whole trip. Really November is a good time to visit Nepal with mild temperatures in the morning and evening and sunny days.
Daman was the last city of this Asian peripécia. There was one more destination, but previous checks indicating lack of conditions of the passage to transit, forced us to eliminate the option from the list. So we returned to Kathmandu in 25km of great excitement, entitled to that fun traffic of arrival of city, but without pavement, without plate, without signal. If you find Marginal Tietê tense, you still have not met this stretch that would make Freddie Kruger delight in options for the nightmare. Anyway the 10 days leading to Royal Enfield in the most diverse conditions left me less green belly and it was possible to accompany the Sujan in the chaotic traffic without losing it of sight.
On the two remaining days of the program, I took the chance to do Mountain Flight and get a top view of the Himalayas, what a spectacle, and wander the streets of the famous Thamel neighborhood, full of shops and more bougantuan shops and souvenirs. We closed the trip with a bar in this neighborhood with another band playing good old rock ‘n’ roll. There I take light taste, something similar to our bird chicken, I take a piece of pepper without seeing. Old man, I even cried. I’m glad you had Gorkha.
More than 24 hours of travel between Mozambique and Nepal, crossing 4 airports, 3 time zones, 14 days, 9 cities, 952km, a zillion of closed curves. Nepal, annexed territory. RFEIM / CdGP / DACS.