Sleep eluded me. The thought of not having enough fuel for the trip made me uneasy. I was certain that if I don’t fuel in Peo, I might have to stay back. In any tightly scheduled trips, such delays meant disaster.
Route: Kalpa -> Recong Peo -> Poo -> Nako
The Old Lady
Luckily for me, a private bunk offered to lend me some petrol for a nominal cost. My plight caught the sympathy of a service man, who went over the limit of 5 liters per vehicle. As I bid goodbye to the kind service man, I felt a strange sense of satisfaction. I took a shortcut to reach Peo-Nako highway. An old couple stopped my bike just around the time I moved to full throttle. The old woman wanted a lift till her village Poo as there was no bus service that day. Over past few years these “Pahadi” people have been very kind and generous to me, and it was time I paid back my dues. Without hesitation I accepted to take this woman to her village. The old lady did inform me that it would be the first time she ever sat on a bike, a warning which I should not have taken lightly.
I was holding on to the bike handle as hard as I could to keep my balance. The old lady, in nick of the moment realized that bikes are actually scary and decided to clutch my jacket as tightly as she could as if her life dependent on it. A biker’s nightmare is a pillion rider who keeps on shifting themselves at crucial movement of negotiating a turn. Calming her down did not help as she was unsettled. The combination of bad road and clingy old lady made the drive from Puo to Poo a nightmare. Relief came in the form of a taxi that was heading up to Poo a little short of 10kms. I managed to corner the taxi for the old lady. Bidding farewell to her, I drove peacefully down the gravel road to Nako.
I had very little expectations of this Buddhist village of Nako. The monastery of Nako was not very famous; however I was told that the village was spectacular. A 7 km link road branched off form NH a few kilometers after Ka to connect Malling and Nako. There is an interesting story about Malling’s present location. Originally located across the stream of the same name, it was the scourge of one rat which forced the move. A more scientific explanation may be the fact that due to frequent tectonic movements, the area on the right bank of the stream rose too high for crops to mature forcing the move to the other side.
On the other hand Nako at the altitude of 3625m has a more stable location beside a beautiful little lake. The village of Nako welcomed me to a small tea stall on the main road. The owner Direndra Singh is an affable man. Sensing that I was hungry and tired, he prepared some food and tea. After a very intense drive all morning, I decided to take it easy for the rest of the day. I met a group of Israelis who were stranded in Nako since two days due to the bus strike. They were quite bored and wanted to move on as quickly as possible. I managed to strike up a conversation with few of them which eventually led to one of them wanting to travel with me to next town. I assured my new friend that I would give him a lift the next day. I spent rest of the day wandering around the village for photography. The lake is perhaps the most spectacular feature of the village. Situated adjacent to the village, it brings out a very calm and serene environment. I must have spent five hours at the lake reading a book.
I was greeted by my friends in the evening at the same place. This was where I met another veteran biker from England. My first impression of him was that of a burnt out hippie. After hours of talking to him, I realized that I had misjudged him. He is perhaps one of the most interesting people I met in my life so far. Before the night fell, a deal was made that three of us (Me, the English guy and Israeli) would travel to Tabo the next day. Each of us had a separate mission in mind for the next day, I was to explore Tabo monastery, while the Englishman would get his bike fixed and the Israeli would find his “lost” friends.
The glass clinked as we raised a toast to travel and life. To life! To life! L’chai-im! L’chai-im, l’chai-im, to life! If you’ve been lucky, then Monday was No worse than Sunday was, Drink l’chai-im, to life.
Helpful person for booking hotels and taxis in Nako – Direndra Singh (8988108581)