house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Famous Third

Yes, I know. I left one story out of the previous blog. It just seemed to come to an end, a bit like a sleepy child you can't keep awake, then you can't move or wake up again - so you must leave them crumpled on the restaurant chair, looking angelic.

Besides, I remembered the camera during the next part of the trip - so this is more photo-journal than blog. I wonder if it means it will be 'read' more... (Sorry, couldn't resist that.)

We're staying at a lovingly restored old farm in Nuwakot, the 'Famous Farm'. A two-hour journey if we take the Kakani road' M. says. Why doesn't that sound reassuring? 'What's wrong with the Kakani road?' I ask. 'A bit bumpy,' he says breezily. 'But the Pokhara road is sooooo busy... we'll be stuck there all day...'

We end up on neither road, but a third, which seems to surprise all of us, including the driver. Enter the Tokha road, the unimaginable, gnasher of bones, destroyer of spirits. I haven't clutched M's hand so tight even when giving birth. The car seems to float between the ragged cliff above our heads and a shimmering line that seems to call like a mirage, even as it suggests an end to the horizontal ledge upon which we perch and a long, long fall until the next. I find that the best is to close my eyes.

This is only the part that tests the nerves. Reaching a dusty valley, we discover the other. It's like driving over an ocean frozen mid-storm. The car takes off and crashes back, scrapes the road and shudders. We, the contents of the car, shake with it and fly and crumple back into our sweaty seats. We pass villages destroyed by the earthquake and slowly being put back together. We pass rice paddies, and drive along a thin river for a while. Every time M. moans a little I say the words "Pokhara road"and he recovers his fortitude. We get to the Famous Farm too late in the day to see it.

It's even more glorious in the morning. Traditional rooms with low windows and wooden shutters (no glass), flowers and balconies, dragon-guardians and breakfast in the garden. Nuwakot castle in the distance, and a faint outline of mountains.

We're here with good friends, and here is the most glorious thing of all: the thought of the last weekend we spent together 11 years ago, most likely on Lohifushi, a small island in the Maldives where we all worked. And here we are and the kids are huge but we're the same.

We walk to the castle, accompanied (the whole way) by a large black dog and (part-way) a drunken villager. The villager shouts, at times: 'My house! My land!' and we take up the chant. We get to a concrete tower - an ugly, unfinished structure at the top of the hill. I bound blithely up the stairs and freeze. Devastating vertigo. How the hell do I get back? It's too scary to contemplate. M. saves me the indignity of shuffling down the stairs on my bottom and thus gains instant pardon for yesterday's Tokha road.

Walk companions and terror tower

The dog meets his family - two almost-grown pups and a surly black bitch. He appears terrified, possibly on account of getting the lady pregnant about a year ago and flaking out.

He's been sunning himself at the Famous Farm, fed on the finest thali, and providing no support, no weekends or holidays with the bambinos. Any surprise that they're all chasing his butt around the crumbling Nuwakot tower?

Black dog spotted...

Black dog chased.
But we all make it back to the Famous Farm, Black Dog leaving the wife and kids down in the village, with another hollow-ow-owww promise. Of course, he's soon back to his old ways:

... while we dine (and Dixit), fuelled by moonlight and margaritas.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home