Crossing the Nepalese Border

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India – Up at 6 a.m. and headed down the river for our sunrise boat cruise to see all of the people bathing in the river. We cruised down the river but I was surprised not to see like hundreds of people bathing. There were only about 50 spread out along the length of the river. We did pass a dead cow floating on the river complete with two crows standing on it and the Indians were bathing and putting the river water in their mouth not 50 yards from it.

After our ride, we went and picked up our packs from the hotel, then we were led by a couple of locals through the Varanasi maze to a bicycle rickshaw. Bicycle rickshaw to auto rickshaw to bus station, what a transfer. Found our bus to Gorkahpur and it was leaving immediately for our destination. It was supposed to take five hours but eight hours later after a very bumpy ride due to non-padded seats, we arrived in Gorkahpur.

We de-bused like a deplaning, Rich just a touch nauseous and inquired about a bus to Sunauli on the Indian and Nepalese border. We were directed to the bus, and magically, it was making an immediate departure for Nepal. Once we were on the bus, Rich and I commented on once again the fact that we have been so lucky with buses in India. Virtually, every bus we boarded in 10 weeks was making an eminent departure, had two seats free for us to sit in and space inside the bus for our large rucksacks just like clockwork every time.

This was supposed to be a three-hour ride but there were road works the entire way of the border so of course it took us a lot longer. We arrived at Sunauli outskirts at 8:30 p.m. and hired a bicycle rickshaw to take us into town to the border. We found the immigration post, which looked like any other shop on the street and began exit formalities. The officials started the paperwork, then the head dude started talking to me saying that the office was technically closed and that we should help out the man stamping our passports, aka, given him money.

These boys had already taken away our residence permits and I was annoyed enough as I was from hell bus rides, so I was not about to give anyone any bribes. I just played dumb tourist and to be honest when he first said help out the guy, I seriously thought he wanted me to help him, may be ink the exit stamp for him, what. The head guy told us the Nepal border was closed and they had done us a favor by stamping us out but we just put our packs on and started walking away.

As we were leaving, this dude came over to us and asked if were going to Nepal. He said he knew of a hotel we could stay in on the Nepal side and that he would lead us over there. Being used to the Indian shafting the tourist, I was sort of rude to him as we are to the Indians but this guy was different. He was cordial, laid back, and really friendly. He also looked different from the Indians. His eyes were sloped more like an Asian then an Indian.

He chatted to us and walked us under the immigration barricade on the Indian side. We crossed into no man’s land, then crossed under the Nepalese immigration barricade, even though the border was technically closed. As we crossed, a policeman came running out of the check post there but our Nepalese guide said something to him, which made the policeman just turn around and go back into his booth. Our guide told us immigration opened at 6 a.m. the next day and we could get our 30-day visa there the next morning.

We got to the hotel and I was still suspicious because the guy had been so friendly, but at that time I did not know that all Nepalese people are so cordial and personable. We got a room ate and relaxd at our hotel while I drank my first beer in Nepal while listening to the Beatles – Western music. Even though we were only 500 yards beyond the Nepalese border, I could actually feel the difference.

Comments are closed.