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Day 58: Kathmandu to the Chinese border

Kodari, Nepal 
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Friendship Bridge, Kodari. The frontier between Nepal and China (a red Flag flies on east end of bridge). One of only two north-south road connections through the Himalaya (the other is Kunjerab Pass in Pakistan)
Michael Palin - HimalayaThe disorientation continues. Not only does the traffic drive halfway across the bridge on the left (Nepal) and the other half on the right (China) but, because of time changes, one end of Friendship Bridge (China) is two hours and fifteen minutes ahead of the other (Nepal). Propelled suddenly from mid-afternoon to early evening, we load up and drive as fast as we can, which means extremely slowly, up the six miles of slippery, winding track between the bridge and the Chinese immigration and customs post. Across the valley I can see Kodari, the last town in Nepal, receding below us. The gorge is steep and very beautiful but scarred with piles of rubbish, regurgitated from the backs of the buildings and spilling down to form scummy, foaming pools at the water's edge. In every country we've been so far private cleanliness and public squalor seem to quite happily co-exist and I've never really been able to work out why.

We arrive at Chinese immigration as it is about to close, and it's only pressure from our local hosts that stop us having to spend the night in the vehicles. We're allowed to take an overnight bag and walk up to the hotel, but everything else must be locked in the cars overnight.

Later: Room 505 of the Bai Ma Hotel, Xangmu. TV but no heating. Communal lavatory and bathroom down the passage. Single strip light, thin, inadequate curtains that are no match for the street lamps outside, and windows that seem specifically designed to funnel jets of cold air into the room.
Kodari, Nepal 
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Porter with Sisyphean load pushes open the gate into Nepal.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 58: Kathmandu to the Chinese border
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Book page no: 137

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