A bus, that is so full that people are sitting on top of the luggage on the roof, winds its way up a narrow road in a rural setting
The original of this image was a slide. I projected it onto a wall and took this photo.

I initially posted this photo on September 3, 2023, but offered no context for it. Following the reception to my story about a photograph that I took of Mt.Everest at sunset and encouragement of Miraz and Maique, I have decided to revisit other photos that I have posted of my travels, as well as ones yet posted, and share their story. Retelling the story behind the Mt. Everest photograph took me back to a time in my life that was important to me, reshaped my life, and delving back through my journals deepened my memories of those journeys.

This story starts almost where the Mt. Everest photo left off. My trek to the Solo/Khumbu region of Nepal, where Mt. Everest sits, ended at the small village of Jiri. From there I had to catch a bus to Kathmandu, a day long journey. I had been out trekking for thirty days, and was sad to be leaving these mountains, though illness was calling for me to rest.

I arrived in Jiri on October 28, 1989, with my stomach feeling none too good. That night I had to make two runs to the toilet, explained in my journal as being made…

…none too easy by the fact that the toilet was a good 70m away outside and I had to get past 2 locked doors to get there.

As I read that entry, I could picture the battle to get to the toilet that night. I think that I had giardia due to the sulfurous burbs that were accompanying the upset stomach. Dirty water, or food were probable causes.

I was considering staying put in Jiri for another day just to rest, but sooner or later I would need medication to fight the bacteria in me, something that I was unlikely to find that in this village. The next morning I felt a definite improvement, skipped breakfast in order to give the bacteria nothing to feed off (and my body nothing to get rid of!), and an American couple gave me four tablets to “nuke it."

I got on the bus early, put my pack under the seat instead of on the roof as it had amongst other things the underdeveloped slides of the trek that I gratefully still have, this image being amongst them. However, by the time that the bus left I was feeling tired and nauseous, not helped by the man next to me smoking. Two hours into the bus ride, we stopped. I used the opportunity to grab my back and climb up onto the roof. Surrounded mainly by porters and a couple of westerners, I spent the rest of journey on the roof top. Again, I’ll share from my journal,

No rain, just sun, blue skies, a little wind and beautiful views. The Himalaya rose up abruptly behind terraced hills and lower lying cloud. Orange flowers decorated houses, dogs, cattle. People picked more <flowers> as today is the 2nd day of the festival marking the new year. I dozed for a while and marveled at the country side…

Along side the road chautara (or store rest stops) appear by paths. I wonder whether this is part of the old trail <coming all the way from Kathmandu> or just another trail between villages. Gaurishankar and the surrounding range become even more impressive than yesterday, rising up shear and dominating the skyline to the north.

On the way we passed a bus going in the opposite direction, the photo that is at the top of this piece. I did not record how the two buses past each other, but be sure that they did as I am writing this now!

The tablets that I was given in Jiri must have done their work, as I was feeling better by the time that we reached Kathmandu. The city was busier than when we left. Trekking season had arrived. I had picked just the right time to head up to the mountains. The hotel where I had left the rest of my gear, that which I didn’t need during the trek, was full. Despite the friendly staff, I was silently happy that I could not stay there as the area surrounding the hotel was now busy and noisier than before. I repacked everything and headed across town to find a quieter hotel.

That evening, with a settled stomach and having not eaten all day, I had some dinner and then headed to bed for a good night’s rest.