On the left of me the orange moon looks down at me while I drive through the night with a speed of some sixty kilometers per hour. In a luxurious but rattling, shaking and most of all cramped bus. I don’t smell the sweat of the people around me. Probably due to the fact that the smell of the country has blended with my own sweat produced during the sweltering hot day.
The ride takes some six hours to our destination and will bring us to a small village in between the Jhapa district and Kathmandu along the Mahendra Highway. Somewhere in the front of the bus where I presume the driver to be located sounds a radio with a mixture of old style western disco music and Nepali Hindu music. Everything around me sounds alien so I don’t have to make an effort of trying to understand anything. Every now and then I stick my head out of the window to feel the wind blowing through my hair and to smell the country. Burned coal accompanied by the smell of rice and lentils, sometimes alternating with the smell of flowers. Sweet and spicy. Along the road small wooden shops with happy colored little lights show themselves in a permanent invitation to the travelers that pass them. At this hour everyone seems to be prepared to sell some food and water. Or a telephone card.
When we are still some hours away from our destination the bus stops for a while at a small stand where they sell watermelons. A quick calculation tells me that the stacks of melons count up to some fifteen hundred of them. Each as tasty as the other, refreshing, sweet, watery. One smaller stack is placed separately and after inquiring why we learn that this is a local variety that is tastier than the others. We have one cut into parts that we can eat. And so in the middle of a warm Terai night I eat the sweetest and tastiest watermelon I have ever had. After the stop the bus continues and brings us to our destination at the end of the following morning. To attend a wedding after a strange but enjoyable night ride.
Alice © 2011