Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Tractor, A Missed Wedding, 80 Nepalese Rupees, and A Social Experiment

It is wedding season in Nepal with my family going to weddings constantly, but I am always tied up with something or for a few days I was knocked out from the water in the Dal bhatt.
Waking up for early for the sunrise, I had plans on taking an 80 rupee jeep down, which would put me in Pokhara around 9:30 with perfect timing to get ready for the wedding. But instead I decided it would be better for me to just take a run down the mountain-a quick hour and then hop on the bus and make it to Pokhara in the same time.  This idea failed miserably. After making some Tibetan bread with Sanjohn(and eating it after with a dash of cinnamon and honey yum!) I said my goodbyes,grabbed my bag, and moved very quickly down the hill. I felt like I was moving faster than a monkey would and I was making good time until the wrong turn.  The wrong turn that put me on the other side of the mountain.  Going down to the bottom if I was not in the correct area, I thought I could just walk a kilometer or so to Phedi(where the bus picks up every ten minutes)-wrong again!

Basically I ended up doing a 5 hour trek up another mountain, Khorammuka, and I basically missed the wedding by 80 nepalese rupees, which equals 1 American dollar.  I started crying as I was dehydrated and I was mad at myself for missing the wedding. 

As usual people were not helpful and did not even know the name of areas nearby where they lived.  I went down the hill, up the hill, down the hill, up another hill, down that hill, crossing the river and stones, and sitting in the middle of grassland with the sheep and goat herders.  It was another of those moments where I felt real sacrifice walking and walking and walking with no water and no direction in the hot sun. 

I began to shout “Phedi”, which is where the bus picks up. I was just being dramatic and trying to be funny like yelling, “Stella, Stella.” Some may get this and some may not-it is from an American movie.  I ended up in a village area and I decided to pull a social experiment. It was time to test the Nepali people’s desire to help.

Priscilla is walking and she drops to the ground and does not move for twenty seconds-I counted.  I slightly open up my eyes acting like I am dehydrated, which I was but not to that extreme.  Not one person touches me to see if I am okay rather all they say is, “If you want Phedi, we can drive you there for 5,000 rupees, which is $50 US dollars to go over to the other side of the hill. I literally ignore what they just said and walk away. A.) I do not have 5,000 rupees on me B.) I am not paying 5,000 rupees. My experiment proved that these people do not want to help you unless there is financial incentive.   

On this unplanned trek, there were beautiful silver and gold glitter rocks, cactuses, nice flowers, and village area.  In between my sadness, I tried to tune into the natural beauty around me, but it really was not working. 

When I finally get back to the bottom where I had already been, but was told no buses come there-false.  I am climbing down the rocks and I see a jeep. I start running and shouting, “Wait”, but the jeep picks up a couple and is gone.  I talk with the locals and they tell me the next jeep is in one hour. I tell them what happened and that I really can not wait anymore.

“Okay, then just hop on the tractor and this guy will take you by motor bike to Pokhara.”

Off I go on the back of a tractor-going through the water and streams and over huge rocks.  Every single movement on the tractor was painful-it felt like the jeep safari all over again. Falling over constantly standing in the BACK OF A CEMENT TRUCK(LOL) I move to the front of the tractor and this happens to be even worse. The guys have no problem staying in their seat and I keep slipping and sliding off holding on tight to the bar.  It is a workout just staying inside the tractors seat!

I sit and think to myself, “80 Nepalese rupees, 80 Nepalese rupees, 80 Nepalese rupees.” Just 80 rupees and I would be sitting at the wedding enjoying the rituals and chomping on some nice food-some nice fish..An adventure-Yes, but a very unnecessary one. 

The motor bike ride to Pokhara was pleasant with a nice,Nepalese family man. We drive right along the river, which the water is not even blue or green it is pearl white-gorgeous. We stop for some lunch, which I try to pay for, but he will not let me.  This man feels so bad for my morning.  He even helps clean the tears off my sunglasses.   

Again, a confirmation that everything is going to be okay.  After a day with no one helping, there is a good soul who helps me find my way back to Pokhara. 

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