My travel start in a cold morning of December, in the hall of Pilgrims Hotel.
Thamel is still silent, the souvenirs' shops closed, but the traffic in Kathmandu never stops. I finish my tea, drop my bag in the reception and follow Mr. Rajesh by Virgin Trails. He puts my backpack and me in a taxi and tell the guide he's going to join. He won't. He's a too generous man, and a busy one.
The guide's name is Jaya Rai, he's from a village in Solukhumbu, on the main way to the Everest Base Camp. He has got a nice round face, bright black eyes and a large smile. It takes very few for us to become good friends. He buys our tickets and we get on the bus: old, basic, crowded of locals, with a big tv. In the next 8 hours I'm going to watch three Indian films and a number of Nepali song videos. As for the Nepali songs I'm already an expert, but the Indian films are new and in a way instructive: there is a cool guy defeating bare hands lods of villains while the female main character always wears a perfect makeup and there is a kind of sexy breeze moving her hair even indoor.
It's my third time in Nepal and I feel like at home. Jaya fell asleep in spite of the continuous bumps of the (no)road and I'm no more glued to the window eager to catch a glimpse of the country, sometimes I forget the film and look outside... terraced fields, modest houses or shelters, cows, children, women carrying loads or breaking stones, squatting beside the road... another bus or a lorry in a blind bend, the dangerous maneuver on the edge of a cliff perceived like absolutely normal. Up we go, toward the mountains.
Before noon we stop for lunch in Trishuli. Jaya explains me what I have already got, that Nepaleses don't eat five times a day and not at the same time like Europeans. By my point of view they don't eat breakfast. "Everything starts ar 10 am" he says "School, office work..." So about 9.30 am they gather to eat dhal bhat, that's rice and lentils with spinach, curry and sometimes small pieces of meat. "What about farmers? they can't start at 10 am!" I ask, "Farmers do what they have to do. Sometimes in the early morning they have a tea with frie rice or something else. But at 10 am they eat dhal bhat with the family." We also eat dhal bhat, Jaya and I, both by hand, no spoon. He finally teaches me the technique, and yeah! I can do it!
Back on the bus waiting to leave I observe the daily life in Tishuli, that in Italy would be a small town but in Nepal is a quite big city, lively and colourful. Four hours of travel, many Army checkpoints. We arrive in Syabrubesi at dusk, that's about 4 pm. It's the off season and we are the only guests in the guest house. From my room's window I can see the river, and I will listen to its loud voice all during the night, in my confortable sleepingbag. It was cold in the dinningroom, but for dinner I had a hot noodle soup... while Jaya was consuming his second dhal bhat. Tonight he taught me a new word: subaratri. Good night.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read also Part 1 HERE