Time was so fast. Yesterday afternoon I was still exploring Basantapur area. But now it was four in the morning. I had just soaked myself under a warm shower of Shangrila Butique Hotel. After making sure that nothing was left behind, I immediately went to reception desk to check-out and a step later I was down on the streets of Thamel. Dark, empty and full of worries.
I continued down the street and hoping to found a taxi soon, while from behind in the dark I heard footsteps of several people accompanied by Nepalese chants that made my heart beat faster. I dared to look back, five young men quickly walked after me. I couldn’t seem to walk any faster because my backpack was weighing me down on my back. I seemed resigned if something happened when they actually caught up with me.
“Plakk“, the hand of one of them tightly patted my right shoulder. “Oh, God“, I quickly thought responded.
“Good morning, Brothers. Are you happy in Nepal?”, he said while accompanying my steps which were already slowing down in fear.
“Hi….Yeaaa, nice country”, I said louder than usual just to show courage.
“Good….Be careful, bro”, he quickly passed me while the other four friends looked at me with a light smile and simultaneously said “Hi”.
Oh, God thank you for still sending good people to greet me in the dark of the morning.
Arriving at an intersection, there were rows of taxis queuing up to transport passengers. The leading taxi flashed a flash of light at me and I raised my hand in response that I would use his services.
“Airport, sir….How much?”, I curtly asked.
“Seven hundreds Rupees“, he answered as he grabbed my backpack which closed my intention to bid.
“Ok“, there was no other answer I can come up with.
The taxi was speeding fast without a barrier in Pashupati Road which of course was still quiet. Less than 20 minutes, the taxi arrived to Tribhuvan International Airport.
There wasn’t much I could do, I just waited at the airport police desk which looked empty while still staring at the international gate and hoping that its door would open soon because it was very cold outside.
“Do you Indonesian, brother?“, the joke came from behind. I looked left and right, there was no one beside me. The voice was clearly asking me. I looked back and saw a woman in her 30s smiling at me.
“Hi Mam, how do you know I’m from Indonesia?“, I replied smiling back.
“That’s it, Sir“, she pointed to one of my backpack pockets which wasn’t completely closed and slightly revealed the red and white flag which I had worn four days ago at Sarangkot.
As a result we talked to each other while waiting for the gate to open. It turned out that she was a graduate of a well-known university in Indonesia and a senior worker at an oil exploration company in Bangladesh. After traveling to Nepal, she would return to his hometown via New Delhi.
On the plane with me to New Delhi, she continued to fly with Singapore Airlines which transiting Singapore. Meanwhile I would explore New Delhi and Agra first.
The gate had been opened, I immediately went to check-in counter. The process took a little longer, I overheard the whispers between them and said the word “internet connection“. No wonder my online check-in process failed last night.
Then in another row of immigration counters, I saw her having a warm conversation with the immigration officer. Her english was very fluent. Shee briefly explained to me in the waiting room that immigration officers in Asia tend to be more flexible than officers in Europe and America. Of course I believed that.
I could say, she who disn’t want to be named was a person who inspired me to write and share every travel experience which I did so that I could support every traveler with information. She herself was never able to write because she was very busy, even though she had extraordinary stories. One was when she was able to survive a desert storm which hit her in Kuwait.
Jet Airways flying 9W 0263 was ready. I came out of the waiting room to apron. There was one uniqueness that I have never experienced before, namely when there was an inspection of each passenger’s cabin baggage in the extension area right in front of the plane door. Hilarious and fun experience.
OK, it was time to fly.