After 8 years here we finally decided to take the plunge and recently got our driving licenses. Up till now we have relied on peddle power and buses and taxis to get us everywhere we need to, and this has been fine, and indeed would continue to be in reality.
But the opportunity to borrow a friend’s car and get out on the roads was quite tempting, mostly due to the freedom that comes with this. The roads in Nepal though are a bit of an experience, one that we’ve got used to over the past 8 years, but driving in them for the first time brought back the reality.
I remember picking up my sister from the airport when she first came to visit us. We were driving back home in a taxi, me in the front and my sister and her suitcase on the back seat. Each time I turned to face her I could see the shock spreading across her face. “The roads are crazy” she said, but I had felt it had been a fairly uneventful journey, already partially immune. And that was before she worked in road safety.
The huge benefit of having a car is to get out of the Kathmandu valley and at the weekend we did this. We jumped in our friend’s car and headed south, out beyond the city and the towns that are connected to the outskirts, and actually over into another valley. Lelle valley is a beautiful green valley, with fresh, clear air. We didn’t stay long, just long enough to wonder along by a stream and enjoy some greenery. Then it was back to the roads.
On the way back in we took some video, we’ve put a snippet of it below, to give you a taster of the roads. But to be honest, it was a quiet Saturday afternoon, so it doesn’t compare to week day traffic!