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Himalaya

Day 46: Kathmandu to Lekhani

Michael Palin - HimalayaIt's a soft, warmish morning. We stop at a police checkpoint. Beside the road a group of women in saris are breaking rocks. (Female road gangs were quite common in north India, but this is the first I've seen here.) At Baglung the good road runs out, and we have to pull over for a moment while our Gurkha escort checks out reports that a bomb has been found on the track ahead. We order a cup of chai from a roadside shack. A woman with a jewel in her nose sloshes milk from a kettle into a saucepan thick with ancient deposits, adding spoonfuls of sugar from what looks like an old tin of black paint. This is all boiled up with a touch of cardamom and, I presume, some tea inserted at some stage. It tastes rather good.

West of Baglung the road becomes a slow, muddy, rutted track. In the absence of drains or culverts, water runs off the paddy fields and onto the road. At one stage my driver refuses point blank to take his nice, clean four-wheel drive through a lake of unspecified depth.

One of the Gurkha officers has a quiet word with him, then a slightly louder word, after which he drops all his objections and drives through the lake.

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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 46: Kathmandu to Lekhani
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Book page no: 103

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