As we wait for our bus on the side of the road in Kathmandu, we are asked over and over again where we are going by bus drivers trying to convince us to take their bus. We explain that we already have tickets, and for the most part, this deters the crowd that surrounded us as soon as we got out of the taxi. Around us, Kathmandu is in full Friday morning swing. Women in colorful kurtas and men in dress clothes walk through the streets, braving the traffic when they need to cross the road. Vehicles here drive on the left side of the road, except for when it is inconvenient to do so – it’s survival of the boldest here, and it is a miracle that there are no car accidents. Buses and motorcycles are continually driving straight for one another, veering away at the last second, all to pass the vehicle in front of them, or to make room for a cow on the side of the road. Exhaust fumes make the air grey and it is no wonder that many men and women have masks or scarves over their faces as they navigate the sidewalks.
We hear music in the distance – music that is getting closer and closer. Soon we discover the source of the music. A man skips along, wearing a costume, frightening red mask and a wild wig of long black hair. He is followed by a small parade of people, one of whom is playing a horn-like instrument. A couple children are part of this parade, clapping and shaking tambourines. The man in the red mask extends his hands, already filled with Nepali rupees; we shake our heads “no,” while the vendor whose make-shift shop we are standing in front of offers a bill. Idol worship. Hinduism is the predominant religion here, and though the streets aren’t filled with spirit houses and monks (as Thailand was), the need for Jesus hangs thicker in the air than the exhaust fumes from the vehicles that pass us as we wait for our bus.
Our bus arrives and we are ushered on to it quickly. The next six hours are spent on winding mountain roads that take us to Pokhara. Nepal is beautifully green, but we are too busy noticing how narrow the roads are, and how bold our driver is about passing those he deems as “too slow,” pulling back into his lane just in time to avoid oncoming buses, trucks, and motorcycles. At the half-way point, we stop for dal and rice, and the bathroom. The food is delicious. The bathroom…is not. We make it to Pokhara, eager for showers and somewhere to finally unpack our bags after spending the last six days on an assortment of buses and planes. Our room is comfortable. Our hosts are friendly. Because of the warmth of the day, there is plenty of hot water for showers, and we look forward to more dal and rice for dinner. We made it!
We couldn’t be more thrilled to be in Pokhara, and we are looking forward to a week here, connecting with fellow brothers and sisters, digging into 1 & 2 Kings, and getting to know another nation that God longs to see in relationship with Him. Please be in prayer for us!