My old friend from Pitzer, Evan, teaches English at Nahima in the district of Khotang. Nahima is right outside the district capital Diktel, but even today it is not very easy to get to. Evan had been away on vacation and my fellow ETA Kent and I caught up with him as he returned to Kathmandu. Together the three of us took a night bus from Kathmandu to Gaaighat and then another bus to the town of Cabu. From there we began walking along the valleys, following the river.
|Oh so rarely in Nepal do I get to be the shortest one in the group.|
We were coming from the Terai, and the weather was still pretty hot. The terraced rice paddies along the hills were brown, but Evan told us that a few months ago this scene would have been bright green.
|This was the beginning of a four-hour trek straight up this hill to the tiny settlement at the summit.|
|Occasionally we had to fend off attacks from terrible beasts.|
In contrast to Kathmandu or the major trekking routes, we saw no other foreigners the entire time we were there. The people at the settlements were used to travelers walking up to the district capitol, but we were often greeted with shouts of bideshi! ('foreigner') or kwira! ('white person'). Evan, who had spent several months in the district and was accustomed to being goggled at, would whip out his ukelele and begin singing traditional Nepali folk songs. Children would gather around curiously and be goaded into dancing, and the men would shake our hands and offer us whiskey or local rice wine.
|The new airstrip.|
From the settlement on top of the hill, we continued moving upwards until we came to an airstrip that had very recently been built outside of the city. We finally came to a main road and followed it to Nahima, right outside the valley that held the district capital of Diktel.