Saturday, 23 August 2014

Day 29 - Goodbyes and traffic problems

Up at normal time and had a breakfast of a cup of tea and biscuits while packing for the night away at Dhulikel. Walked to school as normal and signed in then went to see the children at assembly. When they went in I went round the junior classes taking photographs and saying goodbye then to the library for the final planning and checking everything was good for the morning's lessons.
Class 3

Class 4 - the girl front left is Jeny (pronouned Jainy!!)

Class 5 with whom I spent a lot of lessons

Had maths with class 2 which was difficult due to the language issue and the teacher was called away. I did my best but they didn't really understand which was a shame. Then to the library where I read some of the old annual reports but was then called to class 5 for the English session - I had got my timetable wrong! Did a lesson on sentence structure and they really enjoyed it and seemed to get the idea. Then to class 3 where I read them We're Going on a Bear Hunt and then we acted it out - very silly and very enjoyable.

That was the end of my teaching so I headed to the library to give back all the resources and planning sheets I had borrowed and to hand over the remaining lesson plans. At 12.25 I went downstairs to be ready to say goodbye to the children as they went home and it was lovely to see them all and say farewell but emotional. I walked to the main building with the staff and they went in for a staff meeting. I took the opportunity to say thank you and goodbye then walked back to the apartment feeling rather tearful.They have been so generous and friendly and I have loved my time at the school.
My timetable and school planning sheet

Sewing training near the school

Class 5 boys

Picked up the last things for the trip to Dhulikel then went to Cafe du Temple for momos and a pancake. Then walked to Lagankel past many lovely material shops a shop selling all manner of different household goods. Eventually I got to the bus park and managed to get on the right bus for Bhaktapur. I had decided to get the bus halfway then a taxi.

The bus set off but got caught up in bad traffic and it took an hour to reach the airport - about 4 miles. There was nothing I could do but sit and take photos of the roadside views. The pollution and dust were thick and the driver rather kamikaze - he kept being stopped by the police for driving on the wrong side of the road.
Lagankhel bus park

Patan Southern Stupa - there is one at each compass point. This one is in a garden tended by the Rotary Club.

Roadside views

We turned right onto the main Bhaktapur Road then immediately left. this took us via the old road to Bhaktapur which was very interesting as it went through small villages and paddy fields. I ended up at the far end of Bhaktapur with few other people around. I asked at the kiosk where I could get a taxi and was pointed up a small road to where there were a small collection of buses. I managed to find a taxi and negotiate a fee. However, shortly after we had set off the taxi driver phoned his friends and then stopped and asked other taxi drivers as he didn't actually know the way to the place I was heading! On finding out it where it was he then decided to increase the fare - I had no choice but to accept.

We drove out towards Dulikehl past Sanga where I was last weekend. About 2 miles past Sanga we came to a complete stop. There was no traffic coming the other way and lots of people walking. After a bit of discussion the taxi driver told me there was "no chance" of getting to Dhulikel as the road was blocked and there was a 4-5 hour delay. I asked him to return to Bhaktapur which he did.

On reaching Bhaktapur I asked him to take me to the bus park. He initially turned down a road I recognised but then down small back streets. I felt really uncomfortable and unsafe and didn't like this at all. I waited until I spotted somewhere I recognised and then got out as soon as I could paying him 2000rs although he tried to tell me he wanted more. It was not a good moment.

We had stopped in the main square and just by a coffee shop so I went inside to have a drink and to see if there were any hotels in Bhaktapur that I could stay in instead. There was wifi in the cafe so I linked up and had a look. There was nothing I fancied and I decided to go back to Kathmandu by bus. I didn't have the guidebook with me so followed my instinct and good sense of direction and walked for about 15 minutes through Bhaktapur to the gate where I found a bus going to Kathmandu. I got on and took the front seat. Two little grubby girls got on and sat just behind me and I kept feeling their fingers trying to see if I had anything in my pockets. I didn't and turned round to give them my best teacher stare but it was not a comfortable ride. We eventually got to KTM and to Ratna Park bus station. This was not ideal as I still had to get to Patan and it was now dark but at least I was off the longer distance bus by nightfall.

Bus stops are often called by the shop name they are near. This is the first one where the address is a bus stop!

After asking around I found the bus to Patan Dhoka. We sat there for ages then suddenly the driver got in, turned on the engine and we went without warning. It was another 30 minutes drive through KTM and over the Bagmati River up to Patan Dhoka. Finally I was able to get off the bus and pay - all the bus journeys, which totalled about 3 hours, cost 75p!

I was not feeling well and thought I was probably hungry so went to Dokhaima Cafe for dinner. This had been recommended by Cosy Nepal and it was clean and the waiters were so helpful. I ordered a fresh lemon soda with salt - lovely - and a virgin mojito then vegetable tempura with soy sauce dip and homemade spinach pasta with chicken. It was a very nice meal and the service and surroundings were great. It came to less than I had anticipated too!

I walked through the dark streets back to the apartment with my torch and stopped only to buy more toilet roll! I got back and found that they had taken the chance of me being away for the night to varnish the floor. Luckily it was dry but the apartment smelled of varnish and I had to shut all the doors against insects. Skyped Mum and Dad then tried to get to sleep but struggled due to the heat,residual anxiety from the journey and lack of fan. The electricity finally came back on at about 10.15 so with the fan going I finally fell asleep.

I have now learned that buses in Nepal are fun if you have someone with you but not so good alone. Despite the costs, taxis are better but be careful who you get as a driver. It's the first time in 4 weeks I've felt unsafe in Nepal and I was very anxious but managed to get myself out of a sticky situation for which I am thankful. It also means I have an extra day in KTM....what to do????


  1. I'm sure the children and staff will miss you lots, you were very brave on your travelling today, I would have been completely terrified.

  2. That sounded a little scary, Jane. Do take care. I am sure you feel a little sad at leaving the school and all your new friends, but life is so rich and the relationships we develop remain with us for ever. You will have so much to share with us all on your return. Keep safe and smiling! x