Today was our transfer day, so were were up for a bright early 6am breakfast.
Because the trip started in the Annapurna region, we had to do a road transfer to our starting village of Bagarchap. Jason and Blair had warned us it would be long day, with about 9hrs driving, but we weren’t counting on a general strike across the country.
Due to some difficult to understand local politics, most the Nepal had shut down for general strike action. This meant that travel was restricted and most shops were closed. Luckily, the army which set up roadblocks at every town were still letting tourist buses through. However, we had a mandatory stop at all road blocks, which meant that travel was slow and tedious. On the other hand, it gave us a chance to stretch the legs, and some riders even getting involved in a cricket match with the locals.
It was well past mid-day by the time our bus rolled into the lunch stop. We hungrily wolfed down the buffet, enjoying the magnificent splendour of the Himalayas now rising before us.
After lunch, our tour bus could no longer take us further, as it was a rough 30km jeep track to our starting village of Bagarchap. After a furter delay, we got into our convoy of 4WD jeeps. It was fun for about an hour, as the jeeps negotiated the impossibly steep road into the Annapurnas, negotiating boulder sized rocks with steep drop offs along the way. The novelty soon wore off, however, as our backsides and spines felt the effects of the trail. It was getting dark, so we would be arriving rather late to Bagarchap.
At least two of our jeeps fell to pieces, with one losing the driveshaft and requiring roadside repair. At one stage, all the riders had to get out of the jeep to walk across a dangerous section of the track with our flashlights. We were told there was a cliff on the side and only the drivers would put their lives at risk!
By the time we arrived in Bagarchap, were were exhausted and ready for bed. We had been travelling for 16 hours! Our hosts did have a hot meal waiting, but after wolfing it down, we headed to bed, covered in soot from the 4WD adventure.