Not so amazing. The hotel, however, was nice and comfy and VERY expensive for this unheard of town in the middle of nowhere. $125 per night is a little steep...until you realize the options are, well, not options.
This day, day 2, was the major travel day. According to various maps and GPSs it was supposed to take between 7-8 hours to drive across the plains of Nepal to Dhangadi. Well, it took 11! Why, you ask. Well, because of this:
We were driving along in the mountains on this little road when we encountered a pot hole. As we were driving through it we heard this "-Sproing!!" noise. A metal bolt from the front suspension had snapped! The left front suspension was ruined and the car leaned heavily. We pulled into this little mountain restaurant and our driver tried to fix it...with some spit, some kind of bolt and piece of wood(!). That's all we had. Quite the experience to stand in the pouring rain under a metal roof watching your only means of transportation being fixed with a piece of wood in the middle of the Nepali mountains. Yes, that was a low point. But we made it!
Needless to say, the piece of wood flew out soon enough and the new bolt didn't hold. So we bounced down the road even worse than before until we came to a crossing close to the metropolis of Nepalgunj. That's when we found a mechanic shop that fixed us up in no time and on we went...only to find out that our driver had no idea how to get to Dhangadi, our destination (not that he had known how to get to the hotel in Butwal either, but you know...). So there we were, me sitting with my dying cellphone trying to tell him when to turn. In the dark. With bikes, cars, cows, pedestrians and who knows what coming at us. With no street lights or headlights. It was scary. But we made it!
We finally arrived at the hotel around 9pm, exhausted but also thankful. Amazingly, the boys didn't complain once. Not once! I, on the other hand, had had a pretty bad day sitting in the back seat feeling ripped off by a greedy Jeep owner. (In Nepal you pay the owner of the Jeep, who in turn pays a driver...hopefully. Our driver made $100/month plus $8/day for expenses).
The next day we were headed for the family home and meeting the children(!). It was to be a glorious day. I will try to post some more personal and spiritual reflections later.
|His and her bathroom (the pieces of metal).|
|A pretty impressive bridge over the Karnali river. In the background, the Bardia National park.|