Tuesday, May 10, 2011

bordercrossings and bribes

haven't had the internet access to update, so...

leaving nepal, after staying there so long was a bit sad for me.  i really loved the people met, places explores, hills climbed and little corners of beauty.  so the 10 hr bus ride, i sat and recalled it all.  not so bad, and parting help from people, i tumbled into a roach motel for my last night, unwilling to pay $30 bucks for a glorified dump that has ac.  but that brought me to my $10 house of ill repute, with probable malarial mozzie swarm that has been to date the worst night of not-sleeping yet (ever i hope).  lucky for me the border opened early, so at dawn i was gone.

i took a bicycle rickshaw to the border, and was passed by all the trucks full of indian goods headed for nepal.  no taxis, so i felt a bit guilty with my huge bag, for the driver.  but stronger than i, took me without a blink, and smoked cigarettes the whole way. 

ah, the border.  one of the most uncomfortable situations at a non-usa border that i have ever encountered.  found an imaginary problem with my visa, and asked me to *help* them, so that they could help me.  as i was pocket clean, having left all my goodies with a group of travelers (minus the bottle of scotch that i have been carrying around for the past five months, waiting for the moment that called for it) i feigned confusion.  i wanted it to be called what it was, a bribe.  but, as folks of power that walk that kind of path tend to be, they refused.  so for about 20 minutes i danced the dance of the oblivious, unwilling to understand their metaphors.  my best smile, and passive aggressive replies worn them down, and so i left with them telling me that they were very mad with me and that i was a bad person...sticks and stones my friend, shant get you that baksheesh.  sheesh.  unwilling to let that taint my experience of the country, and thankful that i was uncharacteristically early for my train to kolkata, i smiled all the way to the indian border.

a different world.  the border guard asked me directly for a *tip*, which with a smile (always the smile) i refused.  of course i peppered him with country compliments before we got to that. so the jovial man, accepted my refusal and wished me the best in his country.  much more agreeable way to do extortion!

so with a 15 hr train ride to kolkata ahead of me, i waited with a chai and my victory of making it, wallet unscathed.

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