A ride through the Nepali Terrai into India!
KTM to Nepalgung (Indian border) – 508 km
KTM to Gonda (India) – 636 km
Kathmandu to Mugling Bazaar – 110 km
Mugling Bazaar to Narayanghat – 34 km
The story so far:
After a whizzy ride through the mountains and the rain out of Kathmandu, Mr Felix is down with the flu, and holed up in a hotel room in Narayanghat, alone. And he’s trying like the blazes not to lose the plot (whatever that is, because he’s forgotten.)
Part 4: On ice in Narayanghat!
I loathe Julia Roberts with a deep and abiding passion, and I’m half way into my second day in Narayanghat and three quarters of the way through her fourth totally forgettable film. Do they pay her for this crap?
Christ! Cable TV in Nepal, beaming in from India, is designed to make cyclists go mad, I’m convinced of it.
I switch across to Star Movies, Rupert (a pox upon him!) Murdoch’s approximation of a TV station, and there’s Tom Hanks in another poor excuse for entertainment, but it’s either that or the cricket on Star Sports – India versus Sri Lanka, and who gives a toss, so Tom Hanks it looks like it is.
The weird thing about both of these actors, though, is that you can’t take your eyes off of them. You’re lying naked on the bed and grinding your back molars into powder, out of sheer mind-numbing boredom, but still, you're compelled to watch. Which is why they’re ‘stars’, I guess. There has to be a reason.
I haven’t been out of the hotel in 36 hours and I haven’t left the room for the last 12. I’m feeling so wretched I’d join the Nazi Party if it guaranteed release.
I go into the bathroom again for the umpteenth time, clear the snot out of my nose, take another codeine – crickey! I better start counting them, I might OD! – and look in the mirror.
“I hate this! I hate this! I hate this!” I say, like a mantra, and go back to the teev.
My muscles ache, my bones ache and now my bum’s gone numb from all the Julia Robert’s films, so I rearrange the pillows and lie on my side and hope Tom doesn’t make it back from the dark side of the moon this time, but I know he will, because he’s rich and lucky, and people like to look at him, unlike me.
Are we having fun yet? Fuck, I’m not sure I’m gonna make it.
It's 2 AM and I’m wide awake and Tom’s climbed into the LEM and now I’ve got red-hot pokers sticking into the backside of my eyes from too much TV. I mean, really, fuck me, what now Lord?
When I was young and hopeful at St. Bridget’s Primary in Melbourne, way back before the Beatles broke up and the world still made sense, there was a joke doing the rounds of the playground, and when you’re young, cute and Catholic, it was a killer.
It went like this: A man walks into the church and his leg falls off. He looks up to the alter and says: “Why me, Lord?” He hops a little further down the aisle and his other leg falls off. “Why me, Lord?” he calls out again. He shuffles forward on his belly and then his arms fall off, “Why me, Lord?”, so he wriggles closer and his torso drops off, and finally, in one last desperate lunge for deliverance, he rolls forward, just a head now, and bumps into the alter steps – thunk! - and comes to a stop.
He raises his eyes to the heavens one last time, and calls out, pleading: “Why me, Lord? Why?”
And then there’s a flash of lightening and a crack of thunder and a big voice booms from on high: “Because you give me the shits!”
And I never, in my wildest fucking dreams, thought I'd be in the movie.
But there you go, and now I’ve got David Attenborough on Discovery Channel rabbiting on in his insufferable, wispy, pseudo-intimate animal molesting voice telling me about polar bears.
I’ve watched so much Discovery Channel in Asia I know more about polar bears than I do about cycling, and I’ve never set foot in the Arctic. And I love them, I really do. They’re wild and free and beautiful, and they’ll rip you to bits and eat you, and good luck to ‘em, but I’ve seen enough. Surely there’s something else out there on the frozen wastes we can look at.
How about another angle? How about gay polar bears? Some lesbian action? God, anything but this Disney-esque ‘and now the mother polar bear is teaching her young ones how to fish’ crap.
How about teaching them some real survival skills, like changing a tube, or downloading MP3s for nothing?
I go into the bathroom and blow out some more snot and take another codeine, and now there’s nothing else for it; I know it’s stupid, but I don’t have an internet connection, or an animal porn channel, so ‘drugs’ it looks like it is.
I roll up the biggest, fattest joint this side of the Kathmandu Valley. I literally pour the hash in, and then top it up some more. It’s top quality Nepalese Brown, light and powdery, and I got it for a song after a week of hard-arse bargaining in a dank little café in Freak Street, next to the slaughter house.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’m not sure which, seeing as I’m only a few days from the Indian border, I had to buy 60 grams worth, which is a very large fistful (indeed!), and I’ve only managed to get through a quarter of it in a month.
Hell, for a couple of weeks there I was the hashish king of Kathmandu. I sat on the roof of the Tibet Guest House with Todd and Dawn, a couple of American friends, and we played cards and blew the back of our heads off like Cristopher Walken in the Deer Hunter.
Yeah, sunsets over the Kathmandu Valley, pure orange octane.
I lean back on the bed and suck the smoke in, and feel it run down my throat, and I cough and gag, but I keep at it, and I feel better already.
And it’s all making sense now. Julia, Tom and David, they’re all part of god’s big plan, and it’s my mission to kill to them. It’s so simple, why didn’t I think of it before?
The smoke is rising and turning slowly up towards the ceiling, curling around the fan, and the red-hot pokers behind my eyes are withdrawing, gently, saying: “Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” as they go, like demure Japanese schoolgirls, and I forgive them.
By the time I get to the end of the joint, I can even forgive god, almost, but he’s tricky, and holds the Death card, so you gotta keep your eyes open, even when you’re flat on your back, stoned immaculate.
Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god
Wandering, wandering in hopeless night
Out here in the perimeter there are no stars
Out here we is stoned
I'm with you, Jim, and it’s 5 AM, and Narayanghat is waking up outside my window, and I may never move again.