In the Lonely Planet Guide book they advise you not to take the local buses to cover long distances when traveling in Nepal. But what you gonna do if you are traveling with a family of ten Nepalis? Well, take your chances and after my experience with the local public transport I can confirm that the guide book is right. I don’t get easily afraid, but a bus ride in a completely overladed, trashed vehicle over a bumpy dirt track they do call highway with oncoming traffic at full speed along the edge of a cliff is not for a weak heart. Anyway I did survive the ride and the trip was well worth it in the end. We went to Hatauda about 100 km south of Kathmandu which took us a bit more than five hours. There we arrived in the evening at Mariyas sister’s house. Entering there I already could smell the lamb meet they where cooking. I am not a big fan of lamb and my excitement even got more deadened as they told me that it was a lamb’s head they were cooking especially for me. No chance to say no though without offending the hosts. Did I wanted to experience the authentic Nepal? There it was… The house had only one room so after the dinner we all sat around the bed until falling asleep.
The next morning we got up early to get ready for a wedding we had been invited. About 100 guest were expected but only the close family gathered before the event in the groom’s house… Or should I say cottage? A shelter built of wood and clay in a picturesque rural setting in between rice paddies and banana trees. After a little brunch of milk rice we drove, again in a completely packed van, to the church were the celebration was held. With men and women sitting on the floor, separated each on one side of the room, we waited for first the groom and second the bride walking down the aisle. The wedding procedure itself wasn’t very different from what we are used to do back home with loads of singing and praying. Only the expression on the faces of the couple was unusual. They looked very serious how they were sitting there on the sofa with a big gap in between them. The bride even started crying and her bride maid had to comfort her. Later I have been told that this was an arranged wedding and the couple only knew each other one month before. For the bride this means that she has to leave here house and family to live with a person she doesn’t know at all. No wonder she was crying. Anyway I had a chance to talk to the groom for a moment and he seemed to be a nice guy so hopefully the bride will be in good hands.
The next night we spent in the house of David’s sister. Another one hour bus ride from where the wedding took place. While the house the night before only had one room at least it was a house. The place I was coming into this time was a real cottage without floor and straw on its roof. The window from the room where we all slept together opened directly into the stables with cows and goats. Is it possible to experience a more authentic Nepal? I don’t think so. With the scent of animals I fell into a deep sleep. The next morning almost the whole village came together to have a look at the German guy who came to visit them and I had an unforgettable morning with all the locals keen to get their picture taken. They did even slaughter a chicken for me which we had for breakfast. I have to admit it was maybe the most delicious chicken I had in a long time. Too soon we had to take the bus back to Kathmandu. It’s a long and scary ride there.