A November 2005 trip
to Nepal by tammyhayano
Quote: Before coming to Nepal, my concerns were: Maoist rebels, avalanches on treks, and creepy men. I met the Maoists, but they were non-threatening. No avalanches, a few distant rockfalls, and only a bit of snow on the last leg to Annapurna Base Camp. Creepy men everywhere. More on that later.
After a week of sipping real coffee and eating pizza in Kathmandu, I decide it was time to head to the lakeside town of Pokhara. The six-hour bus ride was interrupted when we collided head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck in our lane. The scene was incredible. The entire front windshield of our bus popped out, then shattered on the ground. The front end of the bus caused a deep enough impact into the pick-up truck to trap that driver in. Traffic on both sides quickly backed up for miles on the narrow mountain road, and we were stuck. About 100 locals crowded around the collision, some just observing, others trying to rescue the pick-up truck driver (while tacky tourists took pictures). In the end, he was the only one injured, with a broken leg. Unfortunately, we were about 3 hours from Kathmandu and another 3 hours from Pokhara. No one knew what to do; no one had a plan. (There were about 40 people on our tourist bus, and a group of Brits had 4 kayaks with them!)
With "hitchhiking in Tibet" still fresh in my experiences, I grabbed my backpack and started waving vehicles down. After a few minutes, a local bus with several empty seats slowed down. Of all the stranded tourists, my only concern was making sure that an older Japanese man was also getting on the same bus. I had talked to him briefly when we were all puttering around after the crash. He was about 60 years old, partially deaf (he wore a hearing aid), moved slowly, was alone, and only spoke Japanese. I thought it was so brave of him to be here on his own, and my hope was that people would take care of him. There were, in fact, seven of us tourists who managed to get on the "moving" bus-- the older Japanese guy, a young Japanese guy (who wanted nothing to do with the older man), a German girl (who became my roommate at Pokhara), an English guy (with the worst sunburn peeling off his face and lips, who later became my trekking partner), a Dutch guy (who couldn't speak English but was here for 3 months teaching English to little kids), a German guy with a lisp, and me. When we finally arrived in Pokhara, the Japanese and Dutch went off one way, and the rest of us got a taxi into town. The story ends here for me, but the driver for the German girl and the Brit drove off (accidentally?) with their bags! They were later recovered, but man, what a day it was for all of us.