Like always were the migration and the customs the first station in the country. I started to like Nepal from the beginning. The station was in a little distance towards the busy main road and the noise of the traffic remained in front of the wall which surrounded the property. The paperwork was done fast. I was now in Nepal. Shortly afterwards a traffic police officer stopped me and asked random questions. Does he want to have money? When another car came he was busy for a moment so I started driving away. He was looking after me but I guess he was too lazy to follow me.
Now I had to organize a couple of things. First: Withdrawing money. Wow! The first ATM worked well and gave me several thousand-rupee bills. After the experiences in India I was quite happy to have some cash again! Next goal: Getting a SIM card. Look, at the other side of the street is a phone shop. I wonder if they have SIM cards. Ten minutes later: The SIM card is in the phone and ready to use. Well, this works fine! Let’s write fast a message to the family and check out the last and probably most difficult task: Getting a shock booster. My rear shock booster died in India one week before. There were several car dealers along the road but I couldn’t find any Mitsubishi shop. I tried my luck using the concurrent: Toyota. The vendor told me a workshop close by and eventually showed me the way. When we arrived I already saw a used Pajero. A good sign. And they found something in the stock. A shock booster which fitted in my car, well they had to modify a little bit before installing it in the car. Done. Within 90 minutes I organized all my stuff. Nepal and I can become good friends.
I was now alone after I was about 14 weeks with travel mates. I somehow got used to it. But it didn’t get boring. The landscape was various, when I became tired I switched on some music where I knew the lyrics (finally nobody got offended by my singing skills…) and I commented the driving maneuvers of the crazy Nepalese which almost were like the Indians.
Janakpur. I entered this Indian influenced city which is one of the biggest Hindu pilgrim sites in the country at a foggy day. I was driving the whole day through fog which really didn’t want to leave. Taking over cars became a risky maneuver. The cars let the light switched of and use instead the emergency blinker. I could see the cars on the other side always in the last moment which kept the adrenalin high and me awake. When I arrived in Janakpur I drove through narrow streets full of pilgrims to ask at the central Hotel International whether I can use the secured parking place to sleep in the car. Probably a weird request for them but they accepted.
Following the Indian mythology Janakpur used to be the capital of the antique kingdom Mithila which had between the 10th and 3rd century BC big parts of north India under their control. It’s the place where the monkey god Rama (Vishnu in mortal shape) married the daughter of the Mithila king Sita. The city lost its importance after the downfall of the Mithila kingdom and awoke about hundred years ago again when they build the Janak Mandir palace where most of the Hindus go for pilgrimage. For me this palace was the right place to check out the area.
To get to the palace I only had to follow the “Sita Ram, Sita Ram” singings which came from big speakers from the roof of the palace. Hindu people do like it loud. But there was from time to time a street parade of the Muslim community crossing the road which also celebrates something at this full moon day. Over all it was always noisy in this city. Always and everywhere was music coming out from some random speakers. The atmosphere was magically around the palace. Sadhus were playing music and others performed dance from which they got rice and money. What a surreal place. It was a mix of new, unknown and weird odors, sounds and rituals which fascinated me most. I was the only stranger at this place but the pilgrims didn’t care and were busy with their rituals instead. Only some boys kept asking me random things and wanted to become friends with me. There was a Sadhu sitting in a little cottage and invited me for some fruits. Together we observed the busy life here although we couldn’t communicate in a common language. So this is Nepal – I thought. And thought about nothing more…