NOTHING CAN STOP A BULLET. PAYING TAXES IN NEPAL?
We arrived at the Nepal border in Raxaul. We came from Varanasi where we stayed a few nights. The road from Varanasi to the Nepali border is bad. I don’t know if it is because of the frequent boycots India is giving or the fact that Bihar is a poor state that doesn’t have the money for a decent road. But for a road to one of the most important neighboring countries it is a shame. Specially the last 60 km were only road construction. Dirt road with huge holes made by overloaded trucks. We had these roads to and from Khajuraho and were getting used to them, but they ain’t no fun when you are heavy packed.
It took 7 hours from Varanasi to the border. I thought we could get out of the border area before nightfall. I don’t like it in Raxaul or Birganj. It’s the atmosphere. I don’t like it. But we had to go through visa and customs…
Getting a visa is no problem. You can get it at the border. We didn’t realise that payment needed to be done in US Dollars, and we had only Euro’s with us. The border administrators started to pull difficult faces. Yes, they were only allowed to accept Dollars. Now what? They made us wait and we really got worried. thinking to go back didn’t make us happy. Maybe there were other tourists in the neighbourhood passing the border in this time? Then they suggested we paid in Euro’s, but then we had to pay extra. We wanted to get visa for one month and they had us pay € 80,00. We were allowed to get the Euro’s back next day before 10 o’klock in the morning if we had Dollars. We had no choice but to accept this deal only to find out the banks in Birganj open at 10… We got ripped off…
Then we passed immigration and customs. A few young men stopped us and told us we had to pay for the bike. These young men looked nothing like custom servants and I thought we were being ripped of again. I started the engine and left them standing there and stopped next to the first police officer I saw. I told the man I suspected these guys to try to rip us of. The policeofficer said these guys were really custom people. We went back and I went inside to see what they wanted.
To bring a Royal Enfield with an Indian licenceplate cost NRs 100 a day. Because we didn’t know if we were going to stay longer than 2 weeks in nepal we paid for 2 weeks. We found a reasonable hotel just across the border and were allowed to put the Royal Enfield inside the hotel lobby for the night. It was a reasonable place without a restaurant so we had to go out to look for a place to eat. I was right, Birganj isn’t a nice place…
ROAD TO KATHMANDU
We used Maps.me to find the shortest route to our destination. From the border to Bhaktapur there was a 146 km route through the mountains. There were actually three options, the so called highway to Kathmandu which was about 270 km long, the old route that went circling through the mountains and was about 158 km to Bhaktapur. We decided to try the shortcut. It was a mistake. While the road was beautiful at first, but things changed. The road was supposed to pass across a dam of an artificial lake. There was a controlpost with a military guy and the entrance was closed! We could not pass! The soldier didn’t speak English so we went back to our Maps.me. There was another road below the dam and we decided to try this one. The road became slowly worse and after an hour or two we were driving on rocks and sand whan a roadblock appeared. They were digging with heavy machines. A landslide had blocked the road and we were forced to go back!
Ilse, who had been sick from the moment we left that morning in Birganj, was trying to hold up. But we had to find a hotel for the night. We were not going to make it to Bhaktapur this day. We had to drive about 3 hours back on the road we came to get to the ‘highway’ to Kathmandu. Again it was a beautiful road. Very little traffic and thousands of turns. The road went up and up and it was getting colder. There are not many hotels on this road, let alone villages. But there is the highest point, some sort of tourist attraction. Here we found some hotels. We unpacked and went to sleep…
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