‘I love it here’ I penned in my diary, while recalling the day’s adventure by candlelight in the attic-cum-cheap room, ‘although the long stretch of road that ends with a white-capped peak is yet to be seen. Maybe tomorrow’.
Funny how some things happen. I woke up the next morning – trying desperately to recall how great the room/town was and throw that into the argument of my sore back and pounding headache brought on by Early (7am) Saturday Mornin’ Hindi Pop that snaked in through the cracks in the windows – and made my way to where the motorcycle was parked. It was only a 2-minute walk and the 117 seconds of worrying if it was parked in a safe place and if so, how the hell was I going to start it? quickly faded when I saw that behind the parking area (basically someone’s backyard) stood the Himalaya Range. Right there. Looking down on me. And I was pretty high up as it was.
‘Minuscule’. ‘Minute’. ‘Tiny’. These are often overused by people trying to sum up great feats of God and nature, but it’s true. Suddenly you feel very, very small. But a good small – like Dustin Hoffman. Small but blessed. Short and lucky. That was me – standing, like an asshole, while the home owner/parking lot boss just wanted his 40 rupee.
Never mind I couldn’t get the fucking thing started, I coasted down the road, slowly, as to take in the view. And then it hit me.
‘Jump-start’! I’ll jump start the sonofabitch.
Never mind I wasn’t exactly sure how that worked. Even on a car. Had seen it. Hadn’t done it.
But tried it.
Coast. Clutch. (Brake! for the corner). Coast. Clutch. Forward into first. Release the clutch and accelerate.
I’ll be damned. It worked.
Now – you need to know that I’m pretty cool. You need to know I think I’m pretty cool. But at that moment, with a canvas of fog making the range I was on appear to be a lake of white, and the postcard view I had in front of me, not to mention the fact that I just now became a man (one who not only sleeps in attics and can ride a motorcycle, but can bypass manual labor to get ‘er movin’), I momentarily forgot all of that and went ‘all gay of a sudden‘ letting out a tiny ‘whoop!’. No – it was more of a pirate laugh. Even though no one’s around I still felt the need to appear ironic. If only to myself.
Ha. Ha! HA. That’s how it went – please don’t repeat that in jest when I see you.
And so I was off. The speed increased slightly (yesterday it was at barely a crawl – am sure the other motorcycles would have called mine ‘slow – but with a great sense of humor’), the turns were oh-so-slightly leaned into (not even that, was more of me just lowering the occasional shoulder to make it appear to be exciting to the fleet of buses unable to pass me) and wouldn’t you know it, the only vehicle who came close to hitting me was a U.N. jeep.
Finally made it out of the mountain range and onto that ‘stretch of road’ usually reserved for hair commercials and [deletes numerous additional funny analogies]…
It was breathtaking. No other word for it.
Followed these white arrows into town, Pokhara, who, although deserves the title ‘Prettiest City in Nepal’ didn’t come close to the feeling I had not an hour ago – leaning on the bike that leaned on a kickstand, eating stale bread with some sugar-concoction in it, looking up, Up, UP! at a range I had only seen on The Travel Channel.
It becomes like that, the few moments before arriving. I can tell you what I was listening to when my flight to London came over the Tower Bridge. I can recall how the sand in my eyes didn’t seem to register while bicycling to Bagan. Your own interpretation is always better than what is – that’s a hard truth of travel. Or anything, to be honest.
This road, this small stretch of pot-holed neglect was my excitement.
It always will be.