May 22:  Varanasi to Bhairawa

Up at 4:30am.  In the lobby Varun said that he was up all night at the hospital with Janie and Abdulla, the latter of whom got dehydrated as a side effect of Imodium and needed an IV.  The lobby was teeming with mosquitoes.

We left at 5:30am on a full-sized bus (not an efficient way to transport 15 people, but I assume it was the best option) which was a half hour late arriving at the hotel due to traffic.

At a rest stop, Jamie tracked poop onto the bus.  It was way worse than Oliver's j2 incident in 2000.

Except for a few brief toilet stops, we rode from 5:30am to 4:30pm.  That's a long day on a bus.  And then 4:30 was just a stop for lunch.

I had surprisingly good chicken curry here, with butter naan and an extra strong Kingfisher.  We all ran out of the restaurant coughing after paying our bills, on account of a mystery airborne irritant.

Somehow I had "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" stuck in my head.  So I played this on my iPod to get it out.

We arrived at the Nepal border at 6:30pm.  While we were waiting for Varun to bring our passports back from India immigration, a guy came up to the bus offering "duty-free" items through the windows.  I bought a 7-7.5% Tuborg, not to avoid duty, but because I wanted a beer.  There was a dispute as to whether the driver would take us another 1 km through the border zone or if we'd have to walk with our bags.  Varun apparently pulled something because we got back on the bus.

I love crossing international borders by foot, especially at night.  I think was my second time doing so, after the 4am drunken return from Tijuana a couple years ago.

At 7:45pm (Nepal time, 15 minutes ahead of India) I got my passport stamped, as you could see in the above photo if it was full size.  I think I was the only one in the group to have gotten a visa beforehand.  You can get one here at the border with US$25 and a photo, but I didn't want to be walking around Varanasi trying to find a 1-hour photo place.  And I wanted Nepal to have a copy of the photo I used for my passport and as my Facebook photo for 7 months.  Despite my sister's abhorrence of the photo (her advice on what to do with the remaining copies:  "glue them together, face to face, and throw them away"), it's gotten mostly positive feedback.  As a result, I was the first one in our group to officially enter Nepal (country #45).

The duty-free guy was lingering around me and I bought another beer from him, but he was really pushing some kind of 60-proof wine, and I didn't have a desire for anything beyond a low buzz, so I eventually shook him off.

We arrived at the Hotel Nansc and had dinner at 9pm at the hotel next door, although the receipt has on it, so maybe the hotels are the same hotel.

I had mutton rogan josh (already mistaken here for goulash), which I'd been wanting to order off Indian menus for a while.  This mutton was mostly bone.  I originally ordered mutton korma because it was spicier, but they were out of spice.

I waited up in the lobby with Megan and Janie (who said we could use her laptop and Wi-Fi when she was done), but then Megan left and I got tired before Janie finished with the Internet and went to be at 11:30pm.  Tonight was a weird night.  It felt like we entered the country illegally.