If I had one regret from my trip to Nepal it would be that I didn't keep a travel diary. Trying to write about a time lined adventure with just your memories isn't as easy as it seems, but ill give it a shot.The first couple of days in Nepal where pretty laid back with trying to settle in, getting our bearings and adjusting to the extreme humidity and hot temperatures! But it was an early start for day #3!
Up at 6 am we had our breakfast (omelettes and toast) and packed our bags ready to go at 7 am. We were travelling with some of the UVN team ( Bhab, Amus, Smriti & Ramesh) down South to the rural villages in the Siraha district.
We hired out 2 four-by-four jeeps and set sail on an 8 hour car journey through the mountains and jungles.( Have you ever seen The World's Most Dangerous Roads? I think it will set the scene very well!) With the dodgy, narrow, rocky roads binding and winding up and down the mountain sides with an eerie, heart pounding drop, it had taken a little time to get used to it. Pot holes on the road didn't help either; I think I lost a stone in weight I bounced about that much! There were a few dodgy stomachs about as well with one of the kids re-decorating the dash board of the jeep with his breakfast.
It was such an opportunity to be able to go off road and explore the rural landscapes of Nepal. To strip back the urban lifestyles and see the true Nepal in all its glory. The scenery from the hills and valleys was absolutely breathtaking; nothing like I had ever seen before.
Stopping off at a roadside cafe we had some local guava and Nepalese Tea. This was the moment I had my first encounter with a "squat" toilet ( photo below). In all honesty, I didn't mind the concept of it however, I did give the water wash a miss afterwards; there were plenty more to come.
The first village that we visited was through the jungle where we followed narrow, stone roads. ( I think it was called Mohanpur) . Prior to the UVN getting involved with the village, the community farmed tobacco. Over the last few years they have switched to banana farming due to their awareness of what tobacco does to peoples health and have started earning mass profits! I thought this was amazing! The village has also been introduced to some biomass toilets where human and animal waste is collected, churned and the gas collected for a gas stove in the kitchens of some houses. I've never seen a woman so proud of her kitchen ! It was so nice to see these communities thriving economically from their farming and developing! We had a mini tour of some houses which were literally mud and wooden shacks. Animals lived beside the houses so you were never far away from a delightful aroma!
We departed the village and headed onto the main road again, heading towards our hotel for the next couple of nights. ( Do you know what the roadkill in Nepal is? I'm not so sure you would want to know, monkeys!! ) After a few hours, I was merely certain we were lost and so was the driver (Ramesh).
The night had fallen like a black blanket with only the headlights of vehicles to be seen and the constant echoing of horns to be heard. We reached the Gautam Hotel which according to my iphone was in Bardibas, Janakpur. It was a basic hotel with all the essentials you needed - food, shelter and a bed. After checking in and dumping our stuff off in our rooms we ordered food in the hotel restaurant. Now by the end of our stay in the Gautuam Hotel, we were almost certain the whole show was ran by 2 men. They checked us in, delivered us water to our rooms, were chefs in the kitchen, waiters, you name it they were there - not far off a Fawlty Towers episode in my opinion. Anyway, after about a 2 hour wait of sickening ourselves with plain popcorn and poppadoms dinner finally arrived and if i'm honest I was probably hanging in my dinner from tiredness unfortunaley resulting in nice curry and rice hair!