After Shopping, Night in Kunta Beshi [Helambu Trek Day 1 of 6]

Dinesh Wagle at the top of a bus heading to Kunta Beshi. Driking water.

Dinesh Wagle at the top of a bus in Banepa heading to Kunta Beshi. Driking water.

19 Oct [Kunta Beshi]: So the journey began. I checked my shoes in the house and found them wearable. “There is no need to buy a new pair for this trip,” I told myself while inspecting the shoes that I had bought for the Karnali trip. “So I can go right now. No need to come back here after doing the shopping in the afternoon once I left the home.” I quickly packed, in about 10 minutes, and get out of home telling bhauju that I was going out for a few days. I wasn’t completely sure where I was going but the plan was to go to Helambu. I thought it would take about three days.

I didn’t need new shoes but I certainly needed a new camera. And a new backpack as well. I didn’t want to take my laptop bag in the trekking. After checking emails, posting blogs about Dashain and notification about this journey, Suraj Kunwar, a reporter with Kantipur daily, and I went to New Road for the grand shopping of the year.

An One Polar backpack= Rs. 900.00
A pair of ‘duplicate’ North Face shocks= Rs. 100.00

Then there was the grand shopping of the year as I mentioned earlier. A Canon A570 digital camera= Rs. 19,000.000. A blog will be posted next with more information and background on my second Canon Digital Camera in almost four years.

Suraj Kunwar at the top of a bus heading to Kunta Beshi. Gazing at the sky.

Suraj Kunwar at the top of a bus heading to Kunta Beshi. Gazing at the sky

After the shopping we went to the Old Bus Park only to find there no bus was plying for the Helambu/Melamchi because of Dashain (Maha Astami) celebrations. We decided to take the one up to Dhulikhel. As we were approaching Banepa, the bus conductor suggested us to get off at Banepa and try our luck with non-regular vehicles for Melamchi that started from Banepa. There were not any in Banepa too. As soon as we threw ourselves in to a half packed pick up van after eating vegetable Momos and Jerry Swarry, a bus came that was going up to Kunta Beshi, 18 kilometers away from Melamchi Bazaar and a little further than Zero Kilo where the van was heading. We hurriedly went up to the hoot of the bus because there were too many people inside. Plus, we also wanted to have some kind of adventure. It was risky though. A sudden break by the driver might have thrown us over the road. And the evening wind on the Araniko highway became chillier as we went further and the evening became darker. Then at one point I decided to go down and inside the bus. I was surprised to find empty and certainly warm seats as many passengers had already gone away. The warmth made me feel that I would survive the night.

As I was about to doze off, the bus had reached to Kunta Beshi. It was time to get off and find a hotel. We found one. The hotelier couple was nice and made us food. There was a third guest in the hotel that had arrived almost at the same time we had reached. The man, Ajambar Rai Kangmang, would give us a ride next day on his motorbike.

[An observation, the next morning: The couple had recently subscribed to the local cable service and there were some customers in the morning who were hooked to the TV. And elderly man wanted to see the Ram Dev yoga show while a young girl wanted to see movie. The man bullied with this argument: “विहान धर्मकर्मको समय । दिउसो फाल्तु फिलिम सिलिम । बेलुका नाचगान हेर्ने ।” [The morning time is for religious shows. The afternoon for useless films. Watch songs and dances in the evening.] While watching those elderly men watching the Ram Dev show which was in Hindi, I realized that Ram Dev was not only preaching Nepali folks about youga but also spreading Hindi language in Nepali society.]