The crossing was uneventful, no ticker-tape parade or marching bands to greet me. Just a few pedestrians and bicycle rickshaws. And lots of dust, even on the leaves of the few trees that dotted the scenery.
The Nepali customs office was a small shack that could’ve been mistaken for a bike-repair shop if not for the official-looking signs out front. I paid my entry visa fee and had my passport stamped.
“Will I be able to return to India?” I asked the Nepali official behind the wooden counter. I had read that re-entry could pose some difficulty, so I figured it would be better to know now than later.
“Yes, no problem,” came the reply.
I wasn’t completely assured by the response, but found myself happy to be on my way to Kathmandu.
A nearby restaurant looked like a good place to get a soda — a small bit of comfort, seeing familiar soft-drink brands from home — and figure out where to stop for the night.
Almost a full day of traveling didn’t make me feel like boarding another bus, but just a few kilometers up the road in Siddharthanagar, or Bhairawa, were more hotel options.
The choice of lodgings mostly came in the form of utilitarian, cinder-block buildings with steel-and-concrete balcony railings that doubled as clotheslines for my hastily hand-washed laundry — the equivalent of a Motel 6 or Super 8 Motel back in the States.
Without any discernible nightlife in the area surrounding my hotel on Siddhartha Highway, Siddharthanagar did have a few restaurants. I was surprised to see Tuborg, the Danish beer brand that seems to be locally brewed.
Not that it made a difference: It was good to have my feet on solid ground and a cold one in front of me.