99 Kilometers to Kathmandu

MAJHIMTAR, Nepal — Driving on the Privthi Highway through Nepal’s southern mountains, there were precious few road signs to help travelers know what town they’re in. The few signs that cropped up were mostly in Nepalese, naturally, except for one announcing Majhimtar.

One rare sign announced Majhimtar.

The municipality is small enough that it doesn’t show up in a Google Maps search, though I did find a rough approximation on a travel site.

One other website suggests that it is a coffee-producing region in Dhading province, though I only inferred from a few uncaptioned photos. Otherwise, online information about the town is scarce — except for a video of the aftermath of a bus crash labeled as having taken place in Majhimtar.

Having seen a truck having run off the road at the outset of a trip and feeling as if some of the large-vehicle traffic on the winding mountain roads was traveling a bit faster than prudent, I became concerned but not worried.

So, when I saw a sign that said, “99 km Kathmandu,” I was relieved that I would soon be back on solid ground with my own two legs, which were now quite numb from the weight of my tiny but dense Dickies backpack.

At normal highway speeds, 99 kilometers — roughly 60 miles — would take about an hour. But I had no way of knowing how much longer it would take on these mountain roads.

Still, 99 kilometers sounded easy-peasy.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.42.55 PM
Majhimtar is too small to be found on Google Maps, but this is an approximation.
A logging truck drove in front of us for a while. (Photos by Bruno J. Navarro)

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