It was mid September, when five of us from college decided to a trip simply to remove examination hangover. This was three nights trip that was towards north from Kathmandu. It was towards Jiri. No, don’t get me wrong, I am not going to explain the things we did there, the story is something different. However I need to begin with just certain portion of our journey.
Since we had already missed the first bus, we waited for the second one. The bus carried five of we naughty, fun loving guys along with various other peoples. We could also see tourist thereby. It was not that we were trying to tease him, nor were we expecting anything, but we began with a simple 'Hello' on our journey. We found that he was traveling alone and was heading towards Jiri like we were. We had few clues about the place since one among us had already been there earlier as well. We had the knowledge that before reaching Jiri, if we drop down with the willingness to walk for five kilometer we would see amazing animal 'Lama' there. It was the cross of camel and sheep and was brought from Africa according to the peoples there by.
So, when we reached there, we explained the reason of dropping there to the tourist who was in the bus expecting him to join us; and he did. So after seeing the animal, we walked together. We talked various things with him, we made fun of Biber, we praised Byran Adams. We talked music, we talked the politics, we talked of peoples, we talked of Nepalese, and we talked of Nepal. On the way there was a check post, and he was stopped there. We thought it was to suck money from him but we were wrong. The police in charge explained the exact reason.
'Last month a French tourist came here, and troubled us. He was not found and after days we found his dead body. So if these tourist insert their information here and such things happens, it would first help us to find them. Because their destination would be recorded, and after inserting their name and passport number here, their name and passport number will be checked with another check post, and if not found, it can be concluded that they are between two check posts. Plus we can know the name, and contact their peoples, embassy.' We thought it reasonable. The tourist with us was headed with his way towards Lukla, and we went up to Dairy next day. This was the place where the police earlier explained the dead French came and his life was formally noted by the people for the last time there. The story I am going with is on this basis. The incident is true, however every other things reflect a part of fiction. This truly does not match with his real things and is based under my imagination.
I would again prefer writing this story with first person using 'I' as things happened exactly to me. Don’t concern our trip; it was full of fun, full of drinks. Jiri, truly is the Switzerland of Nepal. Charikot is a great place and Dolakha would remind anyone of ancient Nepal. And we friends are always great for any great and memorable trip. Here begins the story of this French tourist as per my imagination.
My eyes could see the piles of match boxes from the window. Finally I got down to Tribhuwan International Airport at the morning. How could I check the time of here? My watch was showing the time of France. This was the first time I have been to Nepal, and all alone. My wife would be here after three months and I had to get well prepared myself before hand, so I collected lot of information from the Tourism Board's website, plus I had hand book in my hand. I took a taxi from the airport and went to Thamel. 'Kathmandu Guest House' was the name of lodge. Maybe, or I may have forgotten.
I could have taken a guide to company me, but I am not so rich plus six months of stay in Nepal, I could not pay him. Nepal is safe place, they may charge me high but at least they won't give me any physical touchier; I thought and since my wife would be here in next three months; I had to stay aware so I can be guide for her. My first night at Kathmandu was good. I could realize that lot of tourists comes here and my choice probably was not wrong. I wished if I could see some known faces at my evening walk of Thamel, but I didn’t.
Following the instruction of my hand book, I woke up early, next morning. The clock at my room showed the time four and thereby I arranged my French time to Nepali time. I had to reach Bus Park and the hand book said if I take taxi, it is ten minutes drive, and if I walk, it will take thirty to forty minutes. I choose walking.
After reaching there, I realized my first bus's tickets were packed. So I took next bus that started in seven am. Now I could feel many eyes staring at me. I knew I had white complexion and all the peoples could easily distinguish me from the crowd. Even my seat partner was staring at me. He was talking with some broken English with me. I could not remember the name of places, but my eyes tried to capture every scene from the window and they indeed were wonderful. The scenes of the bus probably were usual for people over here. How can these people stand on bus for so long? How does it feel to sit on the roof of the bus? I wanted to try, but could not dare as walking for six complete days to Lukla itself would be troublesome, I thought.
The time was moving, but still my eyes were not tired of watching the beautiful scenarios outside. I could not understand them, but I could make a well prediction that the people around were bargaining for few rupees. I had ear phone, I could listen to music but the environment itself was interesting so I didn’t bother to take it out. I was kind of afraid, because I was new to this place, this place was new to me, peoples were new, I had no one to trust upon. But I again thought it fun. I knew no one will be beating me or try to kill me, so I was relaxed. I had to get down at various check posts to let the cops know that I am in their area, to insert my passport number and name. Finally I dropped down to Jiri at four in the evening. The hand book had suggested name of few lodges thereby, but I rather went to cheapest lodge 'Namaste Lodge', that probably was the name or maybe I forgot. Evening walk probably was enough to make round of Jiri, I went to the Technical school as per the suggestion of lodge owner, then to few Gumbas there around and I was all set for tomorrow's Lukla walk. I had the map, and the hand book said I will get enough lodges around there.
During my evening dinner, I got to talk with the lodge owner. He explained about Jiri and his English was fine. He said I could go to the old airport, see the river there by, and even go up four kilometers to see the cross of Camel and Sheep, called Lama. He also explained be about the Dairy above.
'What's the use if I get out of this place without knowing the place properly?' I thought and made a plan to extend it for a day. Next morning, I woke up and first went to the river side, then went to see the animal Lama. I was surprised to know that its wool gets sold in around hundred thousand per kilo Nepalese currency. I tried to convert it into francs but, it was tough. Then I went back to my lodge and a short nap or maybe it was too long, it was already two in the afternoon. I tried to try few foods, but I don’t know why peoples here prefer oily foods? I really had problem in having food, so I had couple of apples that I brought from the shop nearby and started by short trekking.
'Excuse me; is this the way to reach up to dairy?' I asked this young guy.
'Yes, go straight, and you will reach there'
This made me walk up. It was wonderful. There was a bridge after just a short walk, and a clean river below it. I thought of spending some time there by. Yeah! The river was beautiful. After almost half an hour, I again started climbing up. Peoples were rare, and there were just few houses on the way. I could see few monks coming down; maybe they were coming down from the Gumba there above. After next twenty minutes, I reached Gumba. It was total silent, there was a house, but…I could not see any one. How did Adam feel before he did not meet Eve? I thought. All alone! And same thing was happening to me at that time. I spent few times at the Gumba, took rest and walked again. People in Nepal are good at farming, I could see their farms at various places, but could not make any prediction of what was planted. I wanted to ask, but could not see any one. This dairy walk was kind of interesting, felt like I am alone in the entire hill. I could only see rivers below, and ooh there was a house, I saw old man and asked him…
'How long does it now take to reach dairy?'
I could not understand what he said, but maybe he probably was saying twenty minutes, I understood this because he showed his two five fingers twice. I walked again, there was this guy, carrying bag, seemed school student coming down. He smiled, and I gave the return. The weather probably was not supportive. It was raining slightly. I sat down, and observed the scenarios. Oh! I even saw watch then, it was already five in the evening. It probably took me two hours to reach there. It was gradually getting dark, so I made my plan to stay at the Dairy there itself, thinking there might be some lodges to stay.
After half an hour I finally started my walk. I could feel something inside my shocks, maybe it was water. I thought…again I felt kind of cold in my hand! Oh! Leeches? They looked cute…but are they sucking blood? Yeah they actually were. Gradually I felt this kind of coldness in various part of my body, I stopped at the place to check them out…yeah! They infact were sucking my blood. I sat down to remove few leeches from my leg, but then saw other leeches were attacking me. I now thought it would be better if I reach up to Dairy and do this removing task.
'Suck my blood you suckers!' I said and walked as fast as I can. By the time it was six thirty, I managed to reach to the Dairy. I first saw myself in the mirror. Oh! There were leeches everywhere. The round shaped one on my ear was as if it was an ear ring on my ear. On my hand, on my body, they were sucking blood.
'Hey where can I find the lodge here?' I said to this young guy in white coat. I knew he was not a doctor, but a worker on Dairy there by.
'You don’t get any lodges here…hey…there is leeches in every part of your body!' he said.
'How can I remove them?'
'Come here, I will wash your body with salty water, and they will leave sucking your blood' He said, and removed all from my body. It was already seven, and I did not see any possibilities to return back to Jiri.
'Where can I stay here?' I asked.
'You don’t have any lodges here, but you can stay here with us if you want, you had to gather knowledge while coming up' he said.
'Okay, I will stay here itself.' He said.
'So what will you have?' he again asked.
I asked for some cheese there and did not eat anything. The foods there were all oily with lots of oil in it. I then slept without any complains on the bed I was provided. I paid him some money before sleeping.
Early next morning, at six, I woke up and started walking up. I thought of going up a bit and then drop down. So without giving a talk, I moved on. I saw a hut there, and went there. The old man and old woman provided me a glass of milk and then I began my walk again. I walked continuously without knowing the time; the scenarios were so beautiful that I could not even feel my hunger, the pain on my leg. I knew I had to walk up to Lukla as well, but I didn’t want to miss any vision from there as well. It was eleven, and I sat down near a stream thereby, and began washing my face and body. Then, I thought of nap thereby, and after a nap planned to return back down, took out my small carpet and took a nap.
By the time I opened my eyes, it was twelve and I could feel various leeches again on my body. I sat down to remove them, but they were sucking blood from my entire body. I could not see any houses for help. I shouted….Help! Help! Help! But no one listened me, and I did realize that I could not shout loud because I have not had a strong diet since last thirty six hours. I now felt myself weak; I could not even get up from my carpet. Leeches were continuously sucking my blood…and I could now not even manage to throw them out. I probably should have returned from the Dairy itself, I felt. I lied down….looked at the leeches sucking my blood…felt the pain….saw red blood all around my body….
Sky was blue…I could see this. River was moving…I could hear this. Grasses around my carpet were cold….I could feel this…and I could now not even move. I had nothing to eat, and I had no energy left. My eyes were tired of watching the things around….and I closed my eyes…that could never open and then.