The Drive to (and from) Hetauda

Almost 6 and half hours later, in a crammed 4×4 toyota, a foreign metal object poking at my back while by butt froze numb, we finally made it to our meeting place Bastipur, in Hetauda. 200 km journeys in Nepal normally take this long.

Although our journey with my counter-part started really late in the afternoon (around 3pm and right at the cusp of rush hour traffic) the inevitable evening arrival surprisingly ended nicely for me. I was welcomed with a familiar group camp style atmosphere in the middle of the country (so calm, peaceful, and quite), a comfy Nepali style bed (rock hard mattress), a warm familiar meal (dal bhatt and takaari again!!!), and ironically, a really enjoyable car ride that I reflected upon(seriously). Here is why…

As we headed south-west away from the city outskirts, I subconsciously decided to stick my head out the car window – like a happy dog, enjoying the sights (but not the smells) of everything that was not Kathmandu. Yes, a change of scenery was needed but this change was quite welcoming as it reminded me….of home.

The winding roads through the mountain valleys, the raging rivers, accompanying look out points overlooking the vast river, people camping on the rocky shores of the river banks, trees covering every mountain side and with a stellar vista to match as we reached the top of a hill. Ahhh yes, this drive reminded me of my drives through the Okanagan, to and from Whistler, and my escape to the island and onward to Tofino.

Pit stop on the way home from Hetauda
Pit stop on the way home from Hetauda

Instead of the Fraser River, it was the Rapti river. Instead of Hell’s Gate, it was the Mankawar cable cars. There were many suspension bridges (and single cage pull bridges) that crosses the river that would make Capilano’s suspension bridge look miniature. Instead of stopping at Port Alberni, Merrit, or Squamish we stopped at Mugling to stretch our legs. Many small communities dotted the landscape.

For many brief moments, it was almost like being home.

The drive home was much better (and much more adventurous). It was a much shorter drive than the way to Hetauda and WOW, there were many times where I thought we would LITERALLY fall off the side of the cliff. The road we took home was even considered the “new” highway. Rougher one-lane roads, dirt paths, extreme cabin temperatures (since we couldn’t open the windows because of the dust), intimate drive through small towns (you can even see the inside of people’s homes we were so close) and mountain side paths.

I’ll try to get a google map of this soon.

That was fun.