Kathmandu to Katauti Khola 180km
Katauti Khola to Kawasoti 80km
A local taxi driver told us that one million of the four million residents of Kathmandu have left the city in the last two weeks. Now it is one million and four, as Pricey and Ju have returned to Christchurch, and Tessa and I are on the Terai, 180km from Kathmandu. The Cowie family are the only members of the whanau still at Park Village.
We had been taxing down to Thamel, taking our life's in our hands, for the sake of some last minute shopping. About 60% of the shops were closed, and we only saw half a dozen other foreigners. But Thamel is a virtual canyon, of tall, unstable brick buildings, so perhaps everyone else was just being sensible. I know that I was acutely aware of the hazards, and was always looking for an escape route...into a solid looking building as fast as possible was my plan.
Then it was back to Park Village and packing for our journeys. The Cowie household was still busy. We meet a bunch of Geo-engineers. They have been working in Christchurch. Interestingly, they told us that they would have been able to rebuild the Cathedral for $50m.
Saying goodbye to Ju (and Pricey) was pretty tough. I went out to the airport with them, but it was chaotic, so I didn't stay.....just walked away...... I see Ju next in January, on the Croatian coast..... Please look after her......
Tessa and I climbed out of the Kathmandu valley yesterday. The climb was gentle, and the traffic friendly. We got to see up close some spectacular earthquake damage. Pancake buildings, toppled Lego houses, and piles of rubble that were once brick or stone houses. The earthquake waves seemed to have followed the same ridge that we were climbing. Sobering.
Then we had a 10 km downhill. Woohoo, at the bottom of which, Tessa's carrier broke..... A quick visit to a local mechanic, and we had it sorted. The next 50km, and Tessa tried 20 different ways to fit her pack to the carrier, to make it stable. Eventually, we scrounged about and found a piece of timber, that we strapped to the carrier. Lying the pack flat on that seems to be the best solution.
At 100km we found the Royal Kayaking and Rafting Campsite. Free camping, if we eat at the restaurant. Great showers, lovely river views, attentative staff, they've got nothing else to do, having had no clients since the first earthquake on 25th April, and yummy food, dinner and breakfast, and a great, cyclists sleep. All for $10.
The company dog decided it was going to join us this morning. Tessa took him back twice. He was very happy trotting along beside us, but we decided we didn't really want the hassle of border crossing with a puppy.
For two days, we have followed the Trisuli river through an amazing gorge, not dissimilar to the Manawatu, or the Buller. A little more traffic, but for the most part curtious, and well behaved. The only problem was that today was hot, hot, hot. We were told 42°C. We melted.
Oh and Tessa's carrier did another hissy fit. This time two locals butted in to do the repair. They did a great job, but they used up all our spare parts. We visited three different cycle shops before we found replacements. They all wanted to "fix" our problem, but all we wanted were the parts. Finally, after lots of sign language got it sorted, and we are now prepared for at least two more breakages.
Tessa counted 170 engagements with locals today, until the heat started to affect her, and she lost count. We had a couple of guys stop and wanted photos. Then they wanted to ride Fiona. They found it pretty tricky, and I was a little worried I would loose Fiona under a Tata truck, as they wobbled across the road. Another very friendly man, warned us against getting too close to the Pakistan border in Kashmir, and gave us his contact details, should we need ANY assistance in Nepal. Lovely people.
In the meantime, around 75km, I can feel the cramps coming on. We have hydrated, and hydrated and hydrated, and we are on the Terai, so it is flat, but we are both stifling. It's time to find somewhere to stay....and suddenly, there is a hotel. The cold shower is warm. For once we don't want warm. The power is off, so the fan doesn't work. We continue to hydrate, and sweat.....and then the power goes on. Who would have thought that a fan would bring tears to our eyes. I think we'll start early tomorrow.