March 1. & 2.
Again waking up is unpleasant – not because I am so done but because of the rain I hear on the roof. Today I wanted to go inside the park with my guide only who had promised to show me a bee eater colony (!) and a rock python. But in the heavy rain without a raincoat…. What to do. I inform the guide about my decision, turn around and keep sleeping until late morning. Tomorrow my visa is finished so that was not only the last chance but I have to get out of the country. I say good bye to everybody a little after lunchtime before a jeep takes me to the highway. Being a real local bus people are very kind and offer me a seat with a good view… of the rain.
Even though the border is just 140km away it takes more than 5 hours to get there and it is already dark when I arrive at the Nepalese border town. I take a room there, eat a lot and get information about the bus I have to take in india. There seem to be several buses leaving to Haridwar between 6.30am and 9am. Border procedure is supposed to take about an hour. I decide to try to be there as early as possible, get up at 5 and take a shared rickshaw to the Nepalese immigration checkpoint. The immigration officer obviously just woke up at the office and is very kind. I ask him about what happens if the visa is overstayed because I thought about staying a few more days in Bardiya. 30US$ plus 3$ per day… damn I should have done that!
The next shared rickshaw takes me to the Indian immigration passing a customs checkpoint where a drug (?) dog is standing on the road side in between millions of marijuana plants that grow there naturally. Unfortunately I don’t have the camera handy. Indian immigration officers are already drinking chai and reading newspaper when I arrive there. Stamp is done in between to sips of chai and then the call a cycle rickshaw for me to bring me to the bus stand. After all the hazzles and bribe extortions at south east asian borders I am really surprised.
20 minutes later I sit at a chai shop in india waiting for the bus. I am ripped of by the only money changer near or far and change just as much as I need. The bus comes very soon and the driver is very kind offering me the place right next to him with amazing view of the rain, enough space for my stuff and way more privacy than you could expect at an Indian local bus. 300km to Haridwar take us 9 hours.
When we arrive a little before sunset I take a room in a hotel I believe I have slept years ago already. Within half an hour I got money changed, a sim card for my phone and a bus ticket for the next evening. India really feels like home at the moment. I know exactly what to do to get what I need. I have amazing food one or two great chai at the road side and hear the sound of the trains horns at night. Tomorrow I will visit Rishikesh to buy one or two things and enjoy the amazing Ganges view there – for the evening I bought two bus tickets: upper floor sleeper bus which means a double bed for me with window on one and curtain on the other side. Full privacy and view AND I can smoke out of the window during the 15 hour journey.