From Pokhara we embarked on yet another 8 hour bus journey, this time landing us at the border with India at Sunauli. The bus dropped us in town from where it was a short cycle rickshaw journey to the border, which we crossed on foot. Passing beneath one archway marking the end of Nepal we ambled across 100 m or so of no man’s land, complete with two lines of slum shacks facing each other going into the distance each side of the border itself. A second archway welcomed us to India. The snack shop-lined road entering India was jostling with people, trucks and rickshaws and somewhere, hidden amongst the shops, was border control (once again easily missed). It turns out however, that in order to enter India you first have to officially leave Nepal. So after only a couple of minutes in India we scuttled back through no man’s land into Nepal to be stamped out (if only somebody had suggested visiting the Nepal immigration office on the first pass through…).
Upon officially entering India we once again boarded a bus, this time for a short (3 hour) bus journey, accompanied by a fantastically confusing Bollywood film, taking us to Gorakphur (a town in Northern India). For us Gorakphur didn’t have a whole lot going for it but served its purpose as a stop for the night before tackling the 17 hour train journey to Delhi. On the way, we encountered the many colourful tented temples, a grubby hotel with empty (and dirty) swimming pool, and our first taste of spice.
Unfortunately I succumbed to food poisoning in mere anticipation of ‘Delhi belly’ so not the most enjoyable train journey! Of course the guy in the bunk across from me (not Simon) snoring like a pneumatic drill (I’ve never heard such penetrating snoring) did not serve to make me feel any better. Nevertheless we arrived at Delhi in one piece (ok maybe two pieces) ready to begin our adventure in India…