So today I arrived in Eastern Nepal, after a crazy bus ride (sitting on the top of it, with about a gazillion other Nepali, because it’s more scenic that way, and also because there has been no fuel in this country for the past 3 weeks, so the buses that do run are slightly packed), a tiny plane journey (by that I do mean it was a very short flight, but also the plane was indeed tiny, and not, it seemed, totally able to stay on its trajectory while passing through huge clouds), a crazy taxi journey, where the first cab driver brought me to a field and asked for more money, so I yelled at him, called a friend on the phone so he could yell at him more efficiently in Nepali, took another cab, and arrived after several hours in the small city of Dharan.
I know there is a huge gap in this travel diary, I haven’t finished my account of the last weeks in India, I’ve been trekking in the Himalayas these past 2 weeks and haven’t even begun to write about all this, but let’s take a leap forward to tonight.
So I’m here in Eastern Nepal for a research project in medicine (something about access to health through telemedicine for rural populations, if that makes sense to you, I could go into details if I wanted to bore you to death – or if indeed I knew any detail about it yet, I haven’t started it) , and I finally met my contact here after looking for him in this big hospital and calling him on the wrong number for a few hours, and he showed me my room in the campus.
It’s a nice room, if you’re into soviet style comfort with a touch of rotten humidity, but it is very tropical in its inhabitants, and by that I don’t mean me (I’m about as tropical as a polar bear), or the Australian doctor that, I’ve been told, stayed here before (must have been during the first world war, cause obviously this place hasn’t seen a human being in ages), but the many geckos, centipedes, spiders and unidentifiable cadavers of things that are everywhere.
I’m not phobic. I’m usually the one who goes and take the creature by the hand (or insect equivalent of it) and leads it outside, when everyone else is yelling. I spent hours rescuing wasps and ants in pools growing up, well, you get the picture.
But, despite all this and my having spent now two months in predominantly Buddhist regions, where you don’t hurt a soul, even a tiny and disgusting one, for fear it might be your mother/grand-cousin/any distant ancestor reincarnated, I admit I went on a furious chase, armed with my “how to learn Nepali”, to brutally murder a spider as big as my hand (and that’s without counting its legs and, more importantly, without lying!) Who had a nasty look about itself. I eventually succeeded (the amount of furious nepali-know-how-blows it took to kill that monster seems to me proof enough it was something dangerous) and now I feel slightly safer about having to sleep in the bed I found it (yeepee!) because I hope any of its friends visiting might smell the blood/spider grey matter blurb it has left on my book, and realize this is not a free spider country anymore.
Well, what can I say, some days you can be in peaceful harmony with the universe, and others you just have to smack it in the – very hairy and multiple eyed -face. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be non-violent again, provided I don’t have to fight mosquitoes the whole night, because that usually puts me in a cranky, not-in-love-with-every-flower-and-every-insect mood.