On the way to Nepal
Jamnagar (India) to Bareilly (India), Nov-19-07 / Dec-07-07
We are travelling today from Delhi to the border of Nepal. If we are really going to reach the border is uncertain, because the speed of the train in where we are travelling is slow. Last weeks, we travelled through the north eastern part of the state Gujarat to its capital city Ahmedabad. We stayed in Delhi several days to prepare our journey to Nepal and took today the train from Old Delhi railway station to the small town of Bareilly. From Bareilly, it is another three hours by bus to the Indian border town of Banbassa, five kilometres from the far western border of Nepal. We hope to cross the border with Nepal at the end of the day, but it will probably be tomorrow.

This long train journey is a great way to relax after the last couple of weeks. We had quite a busy time. We visited some nice places in the state of Gujarat, and took afterwards the 14-hour train from Ahmedabad to Delhi. In Gujarat we really had a great time in Little Rann Santuary, the only place in the world where you can still see the Wild Asses in the wild (see also the photo impression about Little Rann Santuary). That the time flies is also the result of the fact that we did have to do some things before we could leave Delhi. In Gujarat for example, a part of Edwin’s molar broke off. When you are back home, you will call your dentist for an appointment to get it fixed. Here in India, we first had to find a reliable dentist. After sending some emails around, we got a name and address from the Dutch embassy in Delhi. Officially, they can not tell you what a good dentist is, because it depends on your own experiences. But what they could say is that the dentist has an international clientele. That gave us enough confidence to make an appointment. The practise is in the south of New Delhi, so we needed to have some landmarks to explain to the Rickshaw driver where to go. Way on time, we arrive at the practise. We are surprised to see that the traditional role pattern of a male dentist and female assistants is the other way around here. The dentist is female and all her staff is male. The practise looks very modern and clean, so we are relieved.

Edwin is guest at the 40-plus club of Jamnagar (Edwin is not 40 yet!)
After the dentist took a look at Edwin’s molar, she concluded that it is not an urgent issue. If we would travel back home within a month, we can have it fixed in Europe. But because we plan to go back for the first time in the autumn of 2008, we wanted to have it fixed in Delhi. In contrast to Europe, we did not have to make a new appointment, but she suggested fixing it right away. Twenty minutes later, the molar was fixed and Edwin’s smile was secured. The total costs of this 30 minute visit to the dentist were 1800 Rupees (approximately 30 Euros). In India this is a lot of money, but for people from the West it is really cheap. We can imagine that in the future, Western people will come to India for medical treatments because the quality is at least as good and the prices much less.

Another issue that we had to solve in Delhi was some dust that we had on the sensor of our digital camera we carry. We really do not know how the dust came into the camera because we never change lenses (we only carry one lens). But ok, we wanted to have it removed before we leave Delhi because the next service laboratory of Nikon is probably in Bangkok. Having dust is your camera is really a pain in the ass because you have to adapt every single picture you make. And that is a lot of work. The laboratory of Nikon is located in Gurgeon, a business area of Delhi. Gurgeon is located 30 kilometres from the centre of Delhi. Because of the huge traffic jams, the 30-kilometer bus ride takes more than one and a half hour. This means that it takes more than half a day to travel to and from Nikon to get the dust removed. We have tried to remove the dust ourselves, but unfortunately we forgot the right equipment. In Europe you can buy the “do it yourself” equipment in a photo shop, but not here in India. The service guy of Nikon also tried to blow the dust away (with his mouth!!) which did not work. Afterwards he took a wet cleaning swap and removed it in a couple of seconds. Our camera is clean again.
Shipyard for wooden ships in Mandi

Now we are at the end of our first trip to India and preparing ourselves for the visit to Nepal, we have to do some ‘domestic’ things. We had to make for example some passport pictures for the Nepali visa. Besides that, we had to send some things back home like travel books, diaries and DVD with the pictures we made. That means that you first have to pack everything in the proper way which means that you have to shop for packaging materials. But because want to show in the post office what we are sending (to decrease the chance that the employees of the post office will steal the package because they think something valuable is in it), you have to pack it in the post office. Afterwards you have to queue again to get the parcel sent. We also went to the hairdresser in Delhi to be sure that we arrive neatly at the Nepali border. All these ‘little’ things that need to be done are part of the travel experience in a country. It is not only the sights you visit, but is it also about finding your way through the daily activities that need to be done. That makes travelling so interesting.

We are sitting at this moment more than seven hours in the train from Delhi to Bareilly and we travelled ‘already’ 180 kilometres. We have more than 80 kilometres to go, so our chance to arrive in Nepal today is diminished to almost zero. But if we can not cross to Nepal today, it will be tomorrow. We really look forward to go to a ‘new’ country again after 4 months of India. We hear that it is really different in Nepal. That makes border crossings so nice. Sometimes people of two countries are only living a kilometre away from each other, but they are often so different. We will see!


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