Wrong Seat in Pokhara-Kathmandu Tourist Bus

Mr. Tirtha still accompanied me to speak, we leaned back in his tiny taxi while observing the bustle around Tourist Bus Park. Several hawkers took turn getting on and off in all small sized-buses offering their wares.

A while later, Mr. Tirtha widely spread his arms and we lightly hugged as a substitute for saying “thank you and see you later”. I entered a bus on half an hour before departure. It would be better because Mr. Tirtha could immediately continue work with his taxi.

The conductor showed me a seat where I should sit. At second row behind driver which was limited by a glass screen. Now situation became tense, when an Indian spouse argued with the conductor. They felt were aggrieved because a ticket agent in Kathmandu had promised them to giving them a front seat. The conductor casually snapped back, “This is Pokhara, Not Kathmandu”. Instantly situation was silence. I just realized, that spouse wanted my seat…. Hahaha, even though I was asked to exchange, I didn’t refuse either. Seriously.

Three European tourists in the front seat near driver had fun playing cards the whole way.

Three and a half hours after departure on 7 am, bus stopped for breakfast break for 20 minutes after an hour earlier, bus had once done 15 minutes of toilet break. Hotel’s breakfast which Mr. Raj prepared on the last morning seemed quite effective for me to didn’t spend any consumption budget this time. Come on!, let me showed you how the restaurant which I stopped at:

Buffet eating!
That was the cost.
The hat which used by the cashier was called as Dhaka Topi.
Yups, I still full….Just drank a coffee.

I felt hungry at lunch break on 1:30 p.m., enjoying a thali (Indian wide plate) of food which I picked up from buffet table for 400 Rupee and drink a free-orange juice which was given to all passengers since our  departure in Pokhara.

For free….
I got on the white one.

My watch pointed to 15:34 hours. The last toilet break was the most memorable part. Taking the time to explore area around the rest area. I moved towards a side of road and enjoyed panoramic view of valley and ravine below.

Most trucks in Nepal are Tata Motor.

Impressed with situation on a side of road, I entered a small alley and saw a glimpse of local residents activities who living on a side of road. Observing a banner which stucked in a concrete wall, I tried to slightly open an outer skin of Nepal’s politics.

Nepal is a parliamentary republic which has four main political parties. The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) became the winning party in Nepal which placed two important figures, namely Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli as Prime Minister and Bidhya Devi Bhandari as President of the country.

That’s the symbol of CPN.

Back in bus seat, this time, my journey encountered a terrible traffic jam when it descended the last hill nearing Kathmandu border. Looked like a traffic jam in Cianjur on the weekend (Cianjur is tourist destination near my home).

The bus arrived in Kanti Path Road on 17:08 hours. Excessive fatigue persuaded me to immediately looked for Shangrila Boutique Hotel in Thamel area. I walked through many narrow alleys and asking to local people to find the location. Only walking for 20 minutes, I finally found the hotel.

I handed over 2.300 Rupee as the rate of staying per night. This time, I would spend 2 nights in Kathmandu to enjoy the city.

Salah Bangku di Tourist Bus Pokhara-Kathmandu.

Mr. Tirtha masih saja menemaniku berbincang, kami berdua berdiri bersandar di taksi mungilnya sembari mengamati kesibukan di sekitar Tourist Bus Park. Beberapa pedagang asongan silih berganti naik turun di seluruh bus berukuran tiga perempat menawarkan dagangannya.

Sewaktu kemudian, Mr. Tirtha  merentangkan tangannya lebar dan kami berpeluk ringan sebagai pengganti ucapan “terimakasih dan sampai jumpa”. Aku sengaja memasuki bus setengah jam sebelum keberangkatan. Akan lebih baik karena Mr. Tirtha bisa dengan segera melanjutkan mencari nafkah dengan taksinya.

Si kondektur menunjukkanku tempat dimana aku harus duduk. Baris kedua dibelakang sopir yang dibatasi sekat kaca. Kini pemandangan menjadi tegang, ketika sepasang suami istri India beradu mulut dengan si kondektur. Sejoli itu merasa dirugikan karena agen tiket di Kathmandu menjanjikan bangku paling depan buat mereka. Si kondektur dengan santainya balik menggertak, “This is Pokhara, Not Kathmandu”. Seketika suasana hening. Aku baru sadar, sejoli itu mengincar bangkuku….Hahaha, padahal jika disuruh tuker aku juga tak menolak. Ada-ada saja.

Europeans di depan itu seru bermain kartu sepanjang perjalanan.

Tiga setengah jam setelah keberangkatan pukul 7 pagi, bus berhenti untuk breakfast break selama 20 menit setelah sejam sebelumnya bus sudah sekali melakukan 15 menit toilet break. Sarapan yang diberikan Mr. Raj di pagi hari nampaknya cukup efektif bagiku untuk tak mengeluarkan budget konsumsi apapun kali ini. Yuk, kuperlihatkan bagaimana restoran tempatku berhenti:

Makan prasmanan aja ya!
Itu tarifnya.
Kopyah yang dipakai kasir itu bernama Dhaka Topi.
Ah masih kenyang….Ngopi aja lah.

Aku baru merasa kelaparan pada lunch break pukul 13:30,  menikmati se-thali (piring lebar khas India) makanan yang kuambil dari meja prasmanan seharga  Rp. 52.000 dan sebuah free-orange juice yang diberikan pada semua penumpang sejak pemberangkatan di Pokhara.

Lumayan free….  
Aku naik yang warna putih.

Jarum jam menunjuk pukul 15:34. Toilet break terakhir kali ini menjadi bagian paling berkesan.  Kumanfaatkan waktu dengan menelusuri area di sekitar tempat peristirahatan. Aku bergerak menuju tepian jalan dan menikmati panorama lembah dan jurang dibawahnya.

Kebanyakan truk di Nepal adalah Tata Motor.

Tergeletik dengan kehidupan di pinggiran jalan, aku memasuki sebuah gang kecil dan melihat sekelumit aktivitas warga lokal yang hidup di pinggiran jalan. Mengamati sebuah spanduk yang tertempel di sebuah sisi tembok beton, aku mencoba sedikit membuka kulit luar perpolitikan di Nepal.

Nepal adalah negara berbentuk republik parlementer yang memiliki empat partai politik utama. Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) menjadi partai pemenang di Nepal yang menempatkan dua tokoh pentingnya yaitu Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli sebagai Perdana Menteri dan Bidhya Devi Bhandari sebagai  Presiden negara tersebut.

Itu dia lambang CPN.

Kembali berada di bangku bus, perjalanan kali ini mengalami kemacetan luar biasa ketika menuruni bukit terakhir menjelang perbatasan Kathmandu. Layaknya kemacetan di Cianjur saat weekend tiba.

Bus merapat di Kanti Path pada pukul 17:08. Kelelahan yang teramat sangat membujukku untuk segera menemukan Shangrila Boutique Hotel di area Thamel. Aku menelusuri banyak gang-gang sempit dan menanyakan kepada penduduk lokal untuk menemukan lokasinya. Hanya berjalan selama 20 menit, akhirnya penginapan itu kutemukan.

Kuserahkan Rp. 280.000 sebagai tarif menginap per malam. Kali ini aku akan bermalam 2 petang di Kathmandu untuk menikmati wisata kota.