2nd November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal
The potholes continued, but the views kept getting more inspiring.There were stretches of green paddy fields, after the futile attempts to extort.While the sun took a bow, and retreated into a well-deserved oblivion,I realise that I’ve crossed an international border, and did not even flash my passport.
I continued the dogged ride from Ghazipur today early morning. There was still 250 KMs to cover to the border, and never did I imagine that it would take me 10 hours to do that.
The road deteriorated as I continued, and soon I was kicking up quite a dust-storm on every inch of road that I covered. Gorakhpur is a welcome distraction, as it seemed like a fairly modern city with roads, highways and and the usual crazy traffic found in India. But after that, the highway returned to its mean state, as I trudged along feeling every bit of pothole on my butt.
Finally, around sundown, I saw the much-awaited board at the Sonauli border crossing. “Indian border ends“. I was here! I was in Nepal! It had taken me 7300 Km, 56 days, and 29 Indian cities since I started this trip. And the worst thing that happened was a tyre puncture because of an ill-meaning nail. I had made it!
The Sonauli border crossing is bewildering. There was simply no immigration, and I did not have to show my passport anywhere, because Indians don’t need a visa to enter Nepal. I did have to pay a road-tax for the motorbike, which was 226 Nepali Rupees for 1 day. There are people who will fill out the paperwork for you. They would demand 500 NRS or something for this service, but common sense will have you pay only a 100. And after you get the road tax certificate, nobody even checks it. I was in Nepal legally, and I could even ride to Lumbini, which was just 30 KM away.
So, I rode past the calming paddy fields of Nepal, enjoying a break from the craziness and crowds of Uttar Pradesh, stopping by cyclists returning home before the sun vanished.
I am still pinching my skin as I type this.