Passing Through the Border Town of Sunauli

SUNAULI, India — For what is supposedly the busiest crossing from India into Nepal, Sunauli was a surprisingly barren and dusty border town.

A cow in Sunauli.

Although I had heard about being marked as a tourist ripe for fake-ticket scams or bicycle-rickshaw rides I didn’t need, no such solicitations materialized. At least, I already knew not to accept any offers of a massage.

There were a couple of shops and “pure vegetarian” restaurants along the short walk from where passengers disembarked the bus from Varanasi. Of course, a cow graced the scenery, hoofing and foraging.

One extra-colorful Tata truck carrying what looked like sacks of potatoes and boasted on its rear end hand-painted advice to drivers: “Blow horn” and “Use dipper at night.”

Huh? The word “dipper” made me think of ice cream — maybe because of Dippin’ Dots, the dehydrated novelty dessert I’ve never actually seen anyone eat — and the Big Dipper constellation. Try as I might, I couldn’t make sense of either in the context of attempting to communicate with a potato truck.

Sunauli felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, but I didn’t mind — even though I was eager to set foot in Nepal and discover what awaits.

What a day of travel will do: Me in Sunauli, with a bicycle rickshaw in the background. At top, a Tata tater truck heading for the border. (Photos by Bruno J. Navarro)


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