Martin-from-Wales spent a week in the room across the hall from us at Andyâ€™s. We crossed paths and shared smiles and stories many timesâ€”on the rooftop, the front porch, or down the road at Sonamâ€™s Kitchen. After our last breakfast together, Martin waved goodbye from the narrow street outside. He was off to Siliguri; he would decide what to do from thereâ€”south to Calcutta, east to Assam, or West to Nepal were his options. The next day I received this message:
after i left you, i wandered into a taxi, stepped out in siliguri, ate some lunch, took a 10-rupee rickshaw to another taxi, walked across the nepal border, spoke to a very nice man who had spent 59 days at everest base camp, plus 23 more walking to and fro. he advised me to stay overnight and travel in the morning, but to confirm my ticket in advance.
i strolled around the corner bought a bottle to drink, asked about the bus, “there is one leaving now” …iwantedtodotheovernightstuff, i like it as a little test. the only seat left was in the back row, by 2 a.m. my face was aching from my eyesockets bouncing on the roof of my mouth.
but i am here now and it turned out to be rather pleasant, a young nepali woman entertained me with conversation for hours.
damn my forgotten youth.
I never actually met this next guy, but I found his scrawling silhouette hunched over a journal and a pot of tea at numerous Darjeeling restaurants: