GHURLISWANRA, Nepal // The 14 day Annapurna Circuit trek was over. We had just had a nice dinner in Pokhara, celebrated with a beer, and spent a night in a nice hotel room with hot water and air conditioning. We had a 6 hour bus ride back to Kathmandu where we would leave at 7AM and could get in around lunch time and relax. We were all settled in on the bus expecting that until it didn’t happen. What was supposed to be a 6 hour bus ride took 24 hours.
In Nepal, there is only one road that connects the two major cities Kathmandu and Pokhara. We were on this road and got stuck in what appeared to be a traffic jam. The only difference was after an hour we had not moved. Our guide Bal got out of the bus and started walking to see what the problem was. An hour later he returned all sweaty and told us a landslide had occurred and we wouldn’t be moving for the next “few” hours.
We walked to the nearest town, had lunch, then walked another 45 minutes to the root of the problem and saw the Nepal army in the road with bulldozers. They were trying to remove the car sized rocks from the middle of the road and dump them into the stream on the other side. We got back in the bus after dinner around 8pm then continued moving around 9. We were so exhausted that although the bus was moving at a snails pace we all fell asleep. I woke up 4 hours later at 1 in the morning and checked my GPS of my phone expecting to be somewhere on the outskirts of Kathmandu... Not even close. We had hardy moved and were still stuck in traffic. A few hours later, drifting in and out of sleep, we were dropped off as the sun was rising next to the hospital in downtown Kathmandu.
We were all tired but to put things in perspective our guide Bal had it much worse. As a tour guide his work is seasonal, and it is difficult to find work out of season, so the guides try to get on as many trips as they can in September and October. Instead of getting in around noon yesterday and seeing his wife and child, he got off the bus with us and took a taxi to the airport. He has a bag full of dirty clothes, no sleep, and now has to get on an airplane and fly to Lukla (the other side of Nepal) and spend the next 14 days guiding another group of tourists to Everest Base Camp! This put things in perspective for me, as no one got injured because of the landslide, and in the end it was just a few hours of inconvenience for us.
When we did finally reach our hotel in Kathmandu it was 7am, just in time for the opening of the breakfast buffet.