Published: August 30th 2008September 27th 2007
The wide rushing Trisuli river sparkled in the sunlight.
The surrounding grey-green mountains are engulfed in a descending cloud.
Nepali women gracefully crossed the river, linked casually by a fragile swinging bridge every few kilometres.
Mist creeps silently up the unchanging river like a deathly plague. Rain starts to fall.
Their brilliant dresses against the lush mountainous backdrop of green beyond description was nothing less than incredible
Its pouring with rain, and the bridge over the Trisuli Tented Camp is needed only by those carrying supplies from their village to another. And to the group of rafters, making their way to the rafts after a hearty breakfast in the Bandare village early this morning.
None of the locals are here to see us off, unlike yesterday where half the village showed up. And I wasn't expecting to be interrupted by children rushing to the river banks to wave to us like yesterday, or in some cases throw colourful comments in Nepali at us as we sailed past like true sailors.
Instead, today for most the highlight is in the destination not in the journey.
No, when I think back to yesterday's pre-departure 'highlights', I realise that statement isn't entirely true. The main road from Kathmandu to Pokhara was blocked twice by Maoists before we arrived, and our bus, along with another few hundred vehicles in front of us and only God knows how many behind us, were held up for over four hours while we waited for the road to open.
Today had a set of different highlights. A second group of rafters - at least that's what I thought they were - joined us today, but whether it was due to their age, nationality or appearance I don't know, we marooned them soon after they were discovered with beer on board the raft. (Or was it rum? They might have been pirates.) Yes, I do consider my new acquired title of 'Marooner' a highlight.
Finishing the raft, late again thanks to the incident with the pirates, I boarded a local bus which took me up the winding road to the town of Bandipur, situated on a mountain saddle. Now, I was expecting an uncomfortable, squishy, two hour ride, but I wasn't expecting the number of hitch-hikers doubling to maybe fifteen or sixteen as we travelled along. Most of whom of hanging off the bus in ways that could only be thought of by the Nepalese. Excuse me for being narrow-minded, but I didn't realise it was possible, let alone legal, to ride on the roof or hang off the side to on-coming traffic on public transport.