After five days of riding in a Land Cruiser sandwiched between visits to monastaries and Everest base camp, we woke up 50 feet from the Chinese border this morning. We spent three hours clearing Chinese immigration, getting across the 10km of no-man’s land between it and the Nepali border, and finally through Nepali immigration. By then we were we were ready to grab a ride into Kathmandu and relax.
But, what should have been a cheap, easy 4 hour cab ride from the Tibet / Nepal border turned in to an NINE+ hour ordeal involving a pick up truck trip of 7 km, some walking past 50 heavy trucks blocking the road, another pickup truck ride of 30 km to Barhabise, walking past another roadblock, taking a bus 5 km to another town to avoid yet another roadblock, hiring a third pickup that dumped us 35 km from Kathmandu, where we caught a crowded local bus in to the city. There we finally caught a cab to our hotel.
Here is a story from the The Himalayan Times that I would certainly have ignored on any day other than today:
Transport Enterprenuers Disrupt Traffic on Arniko Highway
Sindhupalchowk, October 16
Transport enterprenuers of Sindhupalchowk today organised a Chakkajam on Araniko Highway against extortions.
According to the organisers, they were compelled to halt traffic on the road after spate of donation sprees. According to them there has been an increase in donation demands from Maoists and other local youth groups.24
“Nepal Transport Free Workers’ Union, Araniko Route, Truck Unit Committee called strike on the Highway as forceful donation collection activities increased on the Highway,” said Arjun Sapkota, chairman of the Committee adding that the concerned authorities should act immediately to end extortions and intimidation.
Following the Chakkajam, business transaction at Tatopani custom office was affected. Transport workers obstructed the highway placing vehicles on different road sections at Barhabise, Khadichaur, Dolalghat, among other places, locals said. Workers also accused the youths of Miteri Youth Club, Liping of intimidating Bhakta Bahadur Gurung, driver of a cargo container van on Sunday, said Sapkota.
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