Diwali celebrations continued long into the night. After I had got cosy in bed it became clear a band had set itself up nearby and it felt as if I was lying right above them. I contemplated getting up and redressing in my warm gear so I could go out and watch the show, but in the end I just tried to sleep and rest my weary body. Sleep came after midnight once the band moved on and things quietened down.
Overall, today’s ride was fairly easy and short. The first two-thirds was a lot of uphill, but the last 10km was entirely downhill. The view over Phidim as I cruised down toward it was amazing. One incredibly exciting thing and one incredibly shocking thing happened during my ride. The former was the moment I reached the top of an epic climb and looked up to see ice-capped mountains of the Himalayas. It was so dream-like to see something in real life that I’d only seen in pictures. To reach such a place on a humble bicycle is a great feeling. The shocking things happened when I’d stopped to take a photo of the view over Phidim. I parked my bike on its stand right on the edge of the road. As I took a photo I heard my bike stand creak, then collapse. I could then only stare in absolute horror as my bike toppled off the edge of the mountain and disappeared head over heels down a near vertical slope of thick vegetation. It disappeared into the greenery and I listened as it continued to tumble down. It was so surreal and as I watched it happen I could hardly believe it was real. Then reality set in. My loaded bike had just fallen off the edge of a Nepalese mountain! All I could do was accept it quickly and get on with trying to retrieve it. On the way down I picked up a bunch of items that had flung out of my handlebar bag. I found my bike caught against a tree, upside down, handlebars at an odd angle, and panniers either gone or hanging off at weird angles. It took many trips to and from the crash site, but I eventually managed to haul everything back up to the road. My hands and feet got really cut up in the process. To my immense surprise, I didn’t lose anything and everything was in one piece. All I had to do was straighten the handlebars. The headset was still slightly loose but I decided I’d tend to that once I’d reached Phidim and calmed down a bit. I place my bike on a safe bit of ground, loaded it back up, and went on my merry way as if nothing had happened. I am so very lucky. It could have been so much worse. I’d hate to think where the bike would have ended up if the tree hadn’t stopped it.
Fast forward about four hours and I have made it back to my room after a night out that almost ended in disaster. After dinner I decided to go for a walk and check out the Diwali celebrations. I found a street dance party down the road with a DJ and impressive sound and light system. I stood to the side watching the action with a bunch of other spectators but it only took a couple of minutes before I was dragged into the mix. I spent the next hour or so dancing and being pulled around into different groups of friends. I ended up sticking with one great group of people – a close-knit bunch of guys and girls who grew up in Phidim but now live and study in Kathmandu. When the dance party ended I joined the group for a wander around the streets, stopping ever now and then to sit and chat. I was getting super sleepy but was really enjoying getting to know young locals. It was the first time I’ve made proper friends here and it was fun joining in the fun and getting to know Nepali people better. Eventually, we decided to find some alcohol. It turned out we could get some from the guesthouse in which I was staying and this was where the near disaster happened. We entered the stairwell to the guesthouse to find a gate had been locked. I quickly forgot about alcohol as I realised I couldn’t get to my room. We hung out in the stairwell for about ten minutes while one of the guys did his best to shout up and rattle the gate to wake someone up. No one came. We gave up. I was going to keep partying with the guys then crash at one of their houses at the end of the night. Fortunately, just as we were leaving the guesthouse, someone outside called the manager of the guesthouse and after a few tries, someone answered and emerged down the stairs in their pyjamas and unlocked the gate.
|Distance ridden today||32.44km|
|Average cycling speed||12.8kph|
|Total distance ridden||15,266km|