Monday, November 30, 2009

A Welcoming Trichy For A Weary Soul

I have been traveling straight for 41 hours, and it somehow feels like the longest road I've ever travelled. 33 hours of train from Delhi to Chennai, then 8 hours of bus from Chennai to Trichy. I imagined I'd lie dead to the world as soon as I hit the bed, but shower was my priority. I felt grungy and dirty and dusty.

But to my surprise, everyone was very welcoming: my Hotel Gajapriya, Kachanaa restaurant (the waiter already knew what I'd order down to the drinks). After a long hot warm shower, I was recharged. I got back on my shoes and walked the easy cool breeze of Trichy. And yes, I was finally able to buy some Tamil movies. Yipee!

I am so easy to please.

This is the Eye in the Sky, ready for a long restful night ahead.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

33 Hours on the Tamil Nadu Express - And Musings of a Tired Traveller

What do you exactly do with yourself when you're stuck on a train ride that lasts for 33 hours, encompassing 2 nights and 2 days of your life? I was highly ebullient it would be a much different experience, what with a 2AC seat this time. I have tried the sleeper class, the 3AC and the free-for-all 2nd class seats, but 2AC berths are the 2nd most expensive seats in trainland. I, of course, got the dreaded upper berth, but there was much more space! I could actually sit up and do minor contortions! Make no mistake, it is still a stiffling space as I hate heights and I am not fond of spaces that doesn't allow me to roll over!

Earlier this day, I walked back from Connaught's and enjoyed the bevy of locals urinating the whole stretch of walls on the street that lead to New Delhi Station. The stench was overpowering, it was no use that my nostrils were somehow partially congested. I had 5 full hours before my Tamilnadu Express train depart at 10:30PM. But I had nowhere to go! I sat by the bench right in front of the cloak room (aka "left luggage"). I decided to get my luggage back around 9PM. I then noticed the guy sitting beside me. He turned to me and spoke in Tamil. "No Hindi," I said with a smile. From that second on, I acquired a good friend. He works for the army, and is on temporary leave for the next 20 days. Time drives by fast when you're with an interesting conversationalist... and I was glad! He taught me a few things: how to know the unit of your Nokia phone (hahaha!), the difference between the TG Express and the Tamilnadu Express (the 1st one is a superfast train that has about 20 stopovers, while the latter has only 10 - yet the time difference of arrival is just a mere 1 hour), etc.

Unfortunately for my army friend, his ticket (which was paid for by the army - he showed me the receipts) was not yet confirmed, thus we had to look for the reservation charts at Platform 7 to find out if he indeed got a seat. By 10:20, I had to board my train at coach A2, while he struggled with his 30kg bag and hopped on 3AC ("I'll talk to the ticket checker...). Thus was our sweet goodbye. LOL

So back to my initial question: What do you do on a 33-hour train journey? It would help if your bunkmates are receptive. Unfortunately, people using the 2AC and the 1st class bunks are selective, they keep to themselves, like little stuck up virgins! I had with me an over-70 Indian woman who was lovingly sent off by her family of 6. The other lower berth was owned by a writer of sorts (he kept writing - and one of the train employees kept coming back to him, calling him "sir"). You notice these things. When people aren't receptive to you, you just know. I didn't really care. As far as I know, I still look a LOT better than both of them - plus they are old, wrinkly and droopy! LOL

I have long accepted the fact that north indians aren't the most charming people in the world. Unfortunately for tourists, the most popular sights in India are situated up north from Delhi. The south Indians on the other hand are more receptive. In fact, they have a more laidback demeanor, relaxed and accommodating. North Indians, on the whole are more stuck-up and self-absorbed. You wanna contest this fact? I have travelled for 2 consecutive years meeting these people on the streets and everywhere. I am my own witness!

I am glad that I live in an impoverished country like the Philippines whose people can still smile sincerely despite a harsh life. For the most part, north Indians are inhospitable and morose. I have yet to find a fellow backpacker who gushed how they fell in love with the people of India.

If you are a tourist, head south of the country! That's where the jewels of their people are - warm, relaxed, honest (except the autorickshaw and taxi drivers) and receptive. I sometimes wonder why I am very close to an Indian doctor who lives way way up north! Ah, yes... he is Kashmiri. And Kashmiris aren't exactly embraced by the rest of the Indian population, are they?

Another Kashmiri friend relayed his tale of discrimination. During big festivals (like the Diwali or something else), no Kashmiris are allowed to stay in any of the hotels in Delhi or any of the big cities. So then I ask, if you really do not want the Kashmiris, why not allow them to govern their own land? Why hold on to a people and a land that you discriminate against? The reason is all too selfish. And there is an easy reply to this, and not the least of which is of economics. Just look at the land mass of the whole Kashmir. The place is huge (almost bigger - if not bigger - than Tamil Nadu.)

So what did I do at the confines of my berth? I ate my KFC bucket meal (8 pieces, 340 rupees, from Connaught's); I read 2 Bollywood magazines (Filmfare, etc. - mostly about Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan); I slept and slept til I was blue. I only went down my kingdom to pee and stretch my legs. LOL. I wouldn't call it gleeful and enjoyable, but hey, I lived! Did I ever say I enjoyed an Indian train ride?

The Tamilnadu Express. This photo only courtesy of flickr's akshay_30005.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A No-Day in Delhi and Watching Kurbaan at the Odeon

Picasa's spectacular Akshardam Temple. This photo only courtesy of Picasa's OJUS.

Akshardam Temple was my main itinerary for the day. After several plans, I walked from Paharganj all the way to Connaught's Place which isn't really much - if you love walking. I looked for the pre-paid taxi booth infront of Palika and booked my Akshardam ride. I was bracing myself for a steep price, but thank heavens, despite it's distance from Connaught's (we had to travel and cross the Yamuna River), i was charged 70 rupees. This is already a lesson for everyone. To avoid haggling with drivers, always use the pre-paid booth, which is managed by the Delhi Traffic Police. After 40 minutes, I was in the vast 10 acre complex. To my surprise, entrance was free! Here's the big let down: Camera, mobiles, bags are NOT allowed inside. What's more, you have to remove the battery from the camera - which was a concern for me. I didn't want my roaming disturbed by such practice.

My very first visit with a Swaminaryan Temple was in London. It was an imposing white-washed Hindu structure rising from the North London suburbs. And visiting Akshardam was like coming into full circle - without the opportunity to document it. Oh well.

The park at the center of the Connaught's Complex also doesn't allow cameras, so if you are a tourist carrying your cameras and bags and all, would you look for a left luggage in the area just to visit a park? No, honey, you leave and move to the next visitable place.

Finally, movie halls (sinehan po) in Delhi doesn't allow cameras inside. There are cloak rooms for this but the personnel at the room will search through your backpack and remove the batteries off your camera before letting you in.

I wanted to watch this new Bollywood film called "Kurbaan" which is advertised ad nauseam even across the Sunaurli border in Bhairawa, Nepal. It is THAT popular. The eye-catching poster also helps. I bought a "gold" ticket (175 rupees - platinum ticket costs 250 rupees). People were looking my way probably thinking that this Japanese lost his way inside the cinema ("2012" was showing next door).

Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan in the blockbuster "Kurbaan". Drawing crowds and palpable emotions.

Kurbaan is a timely dramatic thriller that highlights terrorism from Delhi to New York. The story centers on 2 university professors Avantika (Kareena Kapoor) and Ishaan (Saif Ali Khan) who meet and fall in love while teaching in Delhi. When Avantika gets a teaching grant at a New York university, they decide to get married and make their lives in the Big Apple. Little did Avantika know that she has become pawn of a master plan to re-create the September 11 bombing of New York, this time, on a larger scale that involves the subway system and Manhattan. Unlike most Bollywood fares, Kurbaan tells his story straight, without suddenly singing and dancing their way through the narrative. This gives the movie a serious veneer that's easy to appreciate. Performances are top notch and Kareena Kapoor simmers, but it's actually Vivek Oberoi who comes out with a multi-layered performance. He reminds me of the young Liam Neeson, albeit the Indian version. Go watch!

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Exasperation, Indian Hospitality And Why I Hate Train Rides in India

Train Commuters. This photo only courtesy of London's The Sun newspaper

Imagine yourself travelling straight for 2 days. Then upon reaching the station, you roam round the station - of Gorakhpur, to be exact - with not much help from anybody. Four hours later, you find out that the ticket booth you need is nowhere within the station - it is half a kilometer away. Then, you queue for 2 hours, and during this queue, idiotic Indians go past you with chin up the air! Finally, you miraculously get a train seat that leaves the station in 3 hours. So you relax, and wait for 3 hours!

You find out that you get a lower berth - yipee! - a seat beside the window, which means that at bedtime, you dont have to climb up the 2nd and 3rd tier beds! You earned it! You waited the whole day long. You paid for your ticket! You queued for 2 HOURS to acquire the darn ticket! Then, bedtime comes, and this other Indian passenger tells you that you go up the upper berth! TELLS! Not request! Tells! Just because they have a child with them!

Would you give up your seat and be miserable for the next 10 hours of bedtime?

I have so many stories of train rides in India - everyone have loads of stories to tell - and almost nothing comes off very pleasant. Let me not even begin with the lingering smell to be politically correct! Then a berth area of 8 persons will suddenly be occupied by 16! Oh yes! 16 all squeezed in! When the seat arrangement gives me an upper berth, I am disciplined enough to take my seat! But these Indian retards always have reasons why they feel you SHOULD give up your seat! And you're the mean bastard for opting not to give it up for their gold-plated masala arses.

Understand: You are the tourist, you don't speak the language, and everything that you do in India has greater degrees of difficult. You queue and reserve your seats and pay over-inflated rates lovingly entailed for foreigners, so then why should you give up your comfortable seat? Why should you be miserable? Well, that's Indian Hospitality 101! And you wonder why the whole country is in chaos?
These people LIVE in this country. They can reserve their own choice seats anytime they want without the hindrance of language or loss of translation.

Listen again: I love the country. It's my 2nd consecutive year after all, but I feel this will be my last - unless the heavens open and take my word back! I don't come to India coz they have an amazing people (although my Indian friends are spectacular souls). India has some of the most awesome sights, temples, colorful rites and traditions that I've ever known; but a good number of its people is in dire need of a refresher course on discipline and hospitality! People need to be taught grace inspite of poverty or desperation.


For 3 instances today, I bought something and couldn't get my change back! 1st, a lady selling bananas by the roadside - I asked how much, she said 10 rupees for a set of 4. I gave 20 rupees, and she removed 1 banana from the bunch and wouldn't give me my change. I shouted NO! 2nd, a vendor selling this incredibly delicious cookies I always buy in Paharganj. I asked how much and chose the 30 rupee option. I gave 50, and he only gave me 10 rupees for my change. Duh! I asked why, and he simply waved his head and gave my bunch-of-cookies an extra 1 piece - ONE! For the 10 rupee that he STOLE! It is stealing when it isn't yours, is it? Finally, a rickshaw driver and I agreed on a price of 50 rupees to get me to a place. I gave a hundred but he wouldn't give my change back! Such a greedy scamming lot!

I don't want them rolling red carpets for me, but I don't want them to take advantage of my inability to speak the language either; of my ignorance of the place. I remember now how my Swiss doctor friend got so upset just telling me her experience in Delhi. The very same experience relayed to me by Jan from Prague who I met while I was traveling around Myanmar 8 months ago. Heaven help these people!
There is a very valid reason why tourists should be paranoid in India, and if you are the type who love adventures of dodging the crafty, by all means, India is your place.
I have nasal congestion as I speak, but this doesn't prevent me smelling the oppressive stink emanating everywhere around Connaught's Place. This majestic place stinks of URINE! I don't have to tell you where a great number of people urinate when the urge arrives. After all, India is their errr... toilet!

This is the exasperated Eye in the Sky!


So what happened to my train ride? I didn't budge. The lady won't go up the upper berth either so she opted to sleep on the floor. I offered the extra space beside me for her child, so for the next 8 hours of slumbertime, a 2 year old child slept beside me. I couldn't sleep coz I was afraid the child might fall off the bed. He would have these involuntary twitches that seemed like minor seizures. I love kids. It was a pleasure to sleep with a dark little angel breathing and sleeping innocently beside me. I was a nanny for several hours that freezing night. But you see, having a child is no reason to take other people's reserved seats. What, you didn't realize you had a child with you, so you'd rather impose your presence on other people? Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gorakhpur Nightmare and Foggy Bhairawa Goodbyes

Cooped in a mini-van, we sliced through a very thick admixture of fog and smoke as we headed towards Gorakhpur. There was 10 feet visibility – and the adventurous imagination of the driver. The landscape passing before us cut a dramatic, albeit surreal scenery as I breathed the cold fumes through my mouth. My morning in Bhairawa turned out better than what my day was yesterday. With the people mostly asleep, everything around me looked dreamy and gentle. It was, once again, like driving into a dream.

I reached the border at 7AM and whisked in and out of the immigrations of Nepal and India like I was reciting the alphabet. The 2 men at the Indian border looked either disinterested or lethargic, but I was overjoyed by their lack of interest. Later, I joined a mini-van of 13 people going to Gorakhpur for my train connection to Delhi. Another 16-hour travel in a train of strangers. Shivers.

Gorakhpur was a different matter altogether. I’d place it somewhere between a painful dental surgery and a muted nightmare. Not only did I lose the 1st “fast train “ticket that I bought, I also found out I didn’t know how to use it. It was a very cheap ticket at 159 rupees that somehow allowed one to travel to any destination, at least that was what I was told. But I needed security. I wasn’t sure I could get a seat in this 16 hour journey back to Delhi. That wasn’t good. Help around Gorakhpur train station is wanting. There was no one to ask. The lady at the old counter 811 kept swatting people off her counter. The administrative people at some rooms looked like I was a hovering mosquito that needed swatting. All in all, Gorakhpur turns out to be an unpleasant experience for me – and for the other foreign tourists as well. Ask the 2 hispanic ladies who were raving mad, moving back and forth for 2 hours like me.

Counter 811 that Lonely Planet was referring to (the Reservations Center’s foreign tourist counter) was nowhere in the the Gorakhpur Train Station. It moved to a new building some half a kilometer west of the station (turn right from the entrance, and walk to the next 3 blocks). Joining a queue of Indians who don’t know the meaning of 1st-come-1st served basis was harrowing. I wanted to slap them all and teach them how things are done in the civilized world. Look at this old man who was behind me. He berated several guys who broke the queue. Then when it was my turn, he jumped ahead of me. Talk about rules that they selectively follow when they fit them. This was nightmare.

My Vaishali Express train leaves in 2 hours. I am tired and hungry and there’s no decent restaurant anywhere along the main road. They were all weeds and plants and spicy vegetable fodder. I am in mini-hell. I will sleep off all these feelings of disappointment. I will, after all, be in Delhi tomorrow. Akshardam Temple, here I come. 

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Restless and Stuck in Bhairawa Nepal

It should have been a painless transit back to Sunauli (the Nepali-Indian border), but the 5 hours of bus ride turned out to be a back-breaking ride in Siddharta Highway which was sinewy, tortuous at some part, and mystically beautiful. But no matter what beauty was revealed before me, I didn't expect to stay overnight in a Nepali town/city in the middle of dusty, craggy nowhere, just 3 kilometers from the Belahiya-Sunauli border.
It was too late to take my chances crossing the border. I may get stamped out of Nepal in a jiffy, but the Indian side is notorious fro being out-of-post way after 5PM - and I didn't wanna experience limbo travel - stamped out of Nepal, but can't get into India.
The day back in Pokhara started right. I was given a gift - a Nepal DVD Rom - by the waiters who served my breakfast. Then the manager personally saw me through the bus station, bought my ticket, took me to my seat, and even carried my 9kg backpack. If that isn't a rolled red carpet, I dunno what is.
It is 8:45 PM here as I write this. The net was connected by dial-up connection. I just survived another electricity outage, and I am staying in a hotel that I didn't wanna be. Earlier this afternoon, the rickshaw driver said he knew where Hotel Centaur is. After all, it is right at the heart of bustly Bank Road. He ended up taking me everywhere but my destination - the idiot! We finally ended the pseudo-journey in front of a washed-out white Hotel Shantanu right in front of dusty Siddhartha Highway. Unfortunately, I was too tired to look for any other hotel. So I succumbed to the charade and got a 1,000 rupee room that didn't even have an AC - in the middle of craggy limboland!
I shall be out of here tomorrow as early as possible - or I would get swallowed by the earth where I stand.

This is Bhairawa.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Awesome Temples on a Hill and at a Lake in Pokhara Nepal

Pokhara's old city. This photo only courtesy of's themurphys.

Morning peace at Pokhara Lakeside. This photo only courtesy of

This is the most beautiful place on Earth. That's what wikitravel would have you believe, but though debatable this cant be much of a hyperbole. (Vang Vieng comes to mind when I read statements like that.) The place is laidback, and sits beside a serene Lake Phewa.

My ride from Kathmandu - all 200 kilometers south - could have been a pleasure had it not been for the rollercoaster bumps that characterized the last 2 hours of the 7 hour mini-bus (van) ride that cost me just 350 nepali rupees. Upon arriving at the bus park, touts started to hover like hawks on us. An idiot even said "enough of your drama" when I told him I have a pre-booked hotel (Shikhar) in this city. The gall of the idiot who will always be a wallah - a foul-mouthed tout - all his life!

The streets looked dark. Though there's electricity, there was the obvious lack of street lamps, making the place eerie for a stroll at night - except at the main backpacker street with all the restaurants, ATM machines, art shops, treeking shops, etc.

Today, I went boating to visit a temple in the middle of the Fewa Lake. With just 30 rupees, I was in Barahi Temple. From there, I took a local bus which dropped me somewhere to walk towards Devi's Falls. The 10 minute distance became 20, and became 30 until I finally arrived at my destination. There wasn't much to see there - as well as at the Cave nearby.

After half an hour of negotiating with a taxi, I lucked out and succumbed to hiring a 700 rupee taxi that would take me to the World Peace Stupa - a glimmering white temple at the top of the hill, seen anywhere from the lakeside. I just badly wanted to get there. I wasn't disappointed! The view was spectacular - the Annapurna Mountain range is on marvelous view - snow-capped hills; Sarangkot and the paragliding area, central town down below. This should be my favorite place in Pokhara.

I am actually dreading the travel back to India. Everything just seems so tedious. I am 3 hours to the Sunauli border, but from there, I am to take a 3-hour bus to Gorakhpur, where the train station is. Will I be able to get a train ticket back to Delhi? I am dreading I won't! But God bless me! Delhi will be 13 hours away from there.

Sunset at Pokhara's lakeside. This photo only courtesy of's arikancharis.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting into Nirvana Guided with the Monkeys in Swayambhunath Nepal

Monkey jumps. This spectacular photo only courtesy of's depinniped. Swayambhunath is just 6 kilometers west of Kathmandu.

Family affair. This photo only courtesy of

Monkeys! There are monkeys jumping around the steps that ultimately lead to one of the most sacred sites in Nepal. The name is as tongue twisting, but you will grow into it and it gets easy. The place reminds me of Myanmar's Mount Popa which is similarly populated by pesky monkeys entertaining you along its 777 steps to the holy temple.
Swayambhunath - literally means "self arisen" (swayambhu) - is said to have emerged (lke the lotus) from what was once a lake. Several kings are responsible for its completion - King Manadeva of 460 AD, then King Prasat of the 17th century Nepal. Swayam is located west of Kathmandu.
Swayambhunath is actually a 20-30 minute walk from the hustle and bustle of the backpacker ghetto of Thamel in Kathmandu, but why spend your time getting tired when there are so many other places to see? I can tell you now that going through the whole stair is a bit of a climb - a LOT of steps to endure! But here's a tip, to buck the 200 nepali rupees (for foreigners), you can try the south gate (which is legal) - and get your free entry!
To signify Buddha's "insight", you find 3 eyes rising from the stupa. Beneath the stupa are prayer wheels - and I spun them for the possibilities of a better life ahead of me ... "om mani padme om", "ommani padme om"...

There are other temples above, but what I found interesting was the white-washed stupa itself, looking down Kathmandu below. The view is nothing short of spectacular!
For those taking their exams, devotees pray on Saraswati - the Goddess of Knowledge. This place gets filled with hopeful students expecting to pass their exams. Gosh, I am several years too late! LOL
From cold Nepal, this is the Eye in the Sky.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paranoia and Awe in Bhaktapur Nepal

Bhaktapur. This photo only courtesy of

I never thought of dodging admission fees, but for some reason that I cannot reveal (it would implicate people that I respect), I did it today.

Foreigners who visit this old royal city are slapped with a hefty entrance fee of 750 nepali rupees; most other sights require somewhere between 100 to 300 NPRs. Comparatively speaking, this price is offensive, but I was more than willing to pay it. When I finally got inside without shelling out 750, I was in constant fear of getting caught! The old city's majestic Durbar Square teems with checkers who overzealously double check on the population of foreigners. I didn't wanna get caught! And I didn't enjoy feeling like a fugitive. I had an impulse to suddenly rush back to the ticket booth and hand out my 750. Indians pay only 50. My advantage was that I supposedly could pass for a Nepali (locals use the term "Mongolian"). I blend with the crowd up until I open my mouth and out pops a flurry of Uncle Sam. I hated being paranoid. I don't lie well. It was so unnecessary because I could afford it! But oh well... there are things that go bump in the dark, and this was one of it.

After a drink of coca cola at the swanky Cafe Nyatapola (the majestic temple nearby was called Nyatapola), I left the square with tail firmly tucked under. Such is the foibble of "breaking the law". And I don't advise it at all!

I was also able to visit the sacred temple at Swayambhunath, the "monkey palace", but that's for another post. Writing this entry on a freezing night, at 10:30, is already a challenge. So I shall call it a day.

Bhaktapur's Pottery Square. this photo only courtesy of's sabrina.

12 kilometers southeast of the capital is the Newari-rich cultural gem of an ancient royal city Bhaktapur, with an area thats barely 7 hectares.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bitter Cold Nights and Magical Temples in Faraway Kathmandu

Boudhanath Temple. This photo only courtesy of's special-eye.

I remember looking at my nailbeds while riding my bus from Gorakhpur to the Sunauli border. Nails had dark lines at the bed, something that I would usually cringe looking at. But this is part of the transit to faraway places, especially in Sunauli where everything is covered by dust. Leaves are grayish gray, like selective ashfall descending over civilization. And my precious hair is mat of grime. I am dirty.

Well, I am in Kathmandu. My impressions are stark and clear. Intricately designed carpets and wall frames. A ludicrous 15 minute time difference from India - just to highlight its sovereign will from mighty India. Streets with no names, I've been lost so many times. Expensive Thamel area teeming with scruffy backpackers. Samosa, momos, nepali omelettes. Rickshaw drivers that charge 50 rupees just for asking directions. Bookshops selling stamps and accepting postcards for mailing. Bars and restaurants with "live dancing" - you bet, the seedy kind. A very young police population. Philippines' San Miguel Beer hugging the billboards. Tibetan immigrants cremating bodies of loved ones at night at the creepy, albeit somber Pashupatinath Temple. Bitterly cold nights at 4 deg Celsius. A cacophony of sounds - and hums - and sights.

These are images that go past you as you experience this city of 800,000 people - and an elevation of 1,350 meters above sea level. Would I know if I start suffering from altitude sickness? Maybe not right away. I do know though that I have a runny nose and a semi-sore throat. Darn weather!

Kathmandu is the stuff that dreams are made of - the remote city of the Gods!

Kathmandu's famed Durbar Square. this photo only courtesy of

This is the Eye in the Sky from beyond where I thought I'd be.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Long Journey to Gorakhpur and Dusty Transits to Belahiya Nepal

Slumbertime at the Gorakhpur station. This photo only courtesy of's benandsabine.

So here I am standing in the cascading bowels of Kathmandu, Nepal's capital. It has been a harrowing, physically draining journey. My unconfirmed train ticket from Delhi needed to be confirmd to get my train's couch and seat number. Then i neded to know the name of the train - which was in Hindi - so that I could know the platform I was to leave Nizamuddin station from. I was at the uppermost tier - so for the most of the journey, I was cooped lying on my back for most of the 13 hours! All I had for food was this frooties biscuit I bought for situations like this. The wallah that was selling chai and food would just shrug if I ask him what food it was or how much... so I didn't eat.
I arrived in Gorakhput (the Indian-Nepali border) at 12 Noon. I saw some omellettes being cooked at the platform and bought 2 pieces. That would be my meal for the day until I get to the bus at the Nepali side.
The border crossing was the easiest Ive ever had. In fact, I almost missed the Indian border office. It was just a small stall, with no-frills crossing, and people just walk around the area like it wasn't a border. The Nepali stall was at the same (right) side. It was easy too, not 3 minutes and I was in Belahiya - the border town that other people just lazily refer to as Sunauli - pronounced Sonorli! An australian guy hooked up with me as we changed our money to local currency - $1 to 71. He had to go to Chitwan National Park so we broke up at the bus station.
My Kathmandu-bound bus left at 7PM and arrived at 5:30AM the next day. I wasn't expecting how oppressively cold the weather was - 4 degrees, and winter has just started. Windshields would fog every minute, and fumes simmer your every breath, like dragons. I was so cold I couldn't think! I wanted to open my padlocked baggage and secure more shirts and wear 5 one after the other - but the road was so dark and it was hard to move my fingers. I was gonna turn popsicle if I stayed a second longer. But guess what? I got what I wanted!

Gorakhpur Station marvelously photographed and courtesy of nickswolandnx2.

This is the Eye in the Sky.