I got up at six had a shower and headed for the bus station. The walk takes about twenty minutes and i was suprised how many people were already out and about. Admittingly that says more about me then about them but I figured I metion it anyway.
After the usual confusion at the bus station I found the “Micro Bus” or what we would call a Van that is to take me and sixteen others to Jiri. I am the only back packer.
After being serenanded by a duo of buskers we are off right on time. And while all seats are taken they dont try to fit any extras on board so we make good time and within half an hour we are going through Bhaktapur, heading for Dhuklikhel and the valley rim this is also where the first of many police checkpoints is but after a cursory glance we get waved on. The road deteriorates rapidly from this point onwards with large pot holes and land slides taking out whole sections at a time.
Two and a half hours into the trip we cross the Bhote Kosi and start heading up the switch backs to Jiri. This road is basically single lane with some pasing bays and for the next 110 kilometers we have to negotiate with traffic coming from the opposite direction on who has right of way.
Finally five and a half hours into the journey we reach the top of the pass andhere at over 2500 meters high we stop for lunch. Everybody heads for the Dal Bhat shop and has their fill then twenty minutes later we are on the move again. The us driver now has to negotiate a number of washed out bridges and while its a slow process all goes well until a rain storm suddenly hits us and the small creeks we were crossing turn into large muddy torrents. At one of them he hesitates has another look then plunges in and I can feel the water pushing the van, I have my hand on the door handle ready to bail out but he regains control and we continue on our way. Ten minutes later it is dry again.
And then finally we arrive in Jiri an old fellow gives me the card for his hotel and ten mintes later I have a room and a pot of lemon tea. Tomorrow the real hike starts.