– ODO- 13669 – 13722km
– Location- Kathmandu, Nepal
– Weather- 23-36 Super humid
I’ve found my limit.
Last night I camped out on a sandy riverbank between two Nepalese villages. I rolled my bike down the steep stone sidetrack and set up my tent on the sandy shore by the flowing rapids. As I lit my stove a man with three buffalo came past and smiled. I could see clouds forming but I crossed my fingers that the storm would pass me by. Nevertheless, I hastened my cooking. The gust front came through just as I turned off the stove, filling my pan with sand and blowing my coat down the bank. I sat on it to keep it from flying away with the streams of sand whipping skyward. As I finished my current book – The Catcher in the Rye – the clouds passed and the gusts died down. The sun had already set behind the grey and the riverbank was lit by the moon.
The day before I’d really struggled with the heat. I was recovering from yet another bout of travellers stomach too. But what really made it unbearable was the humidity. The lush trees provided some decent shade along the road but kept the air sodden. I left at 6:30 am to try and avoid the worst of the heat. I only had 80km or so to ride but it was all up hill. Kathmandu sits at 1400m above sea level. By 8 am the sun had slipped into the valley and the heat kicked in. As soon as my tyres pitched up onto a steep climb and I had to push hard on the pedals I began to sweat. Because none of it evaporated I was dripping instantly. My shirt, my shorts, my arms and my face. Drops of salty sweat hit my phone screen and left white trails on the glass. The dust mixed with the suncream to form a layer of black on all exposed skin.
As the climb really kicked in I put a podcast on and got my head down. I reached my bodies limit and after 2 kilometres the heat forced me to stop. Once I got in a cafe I cooled down and continued, stopping under every shady tree that lined the road. The temperature wasn’t helped by streams of slow moving trucks. Each one sitting on their ear splitting air horns as they passed within inches. As I reached the pass I let out and audible sigh. Freewheeling towards the dusty city, air blasted the moisture from my dripping clothes and exposed skin leaving dried trails of dust and suncream across my body.
I’m in Kathmandu for 2 weeks arranging visas for my next leg – Kathmandu to Vientiane, Laos. Three more countries along the way to South East Asia.