It’s nice to be off the tourist trail. We’ve been going back and forth between tourist heavy towns and cities, and places that haven’t had a westerner since the Y2K crisis gripped the world.
There’s no question that we prefer the latter. However, as we found on the first day of the bike tour, not every town is ready for us. We found a perfect in-between in the city of Tansen. It’s enough off the main highway going north from Lumbini that most travellers don’t have the time to make the stop. Or maybe they don’t have the legs. The jeep dropped us off in the bus park at the bottom of town, a mile walk or so straight up hill.
Tansen is lovely, a tight and mostly car free downtown with great Newari(an ethnic group we think?) architecture and a bustling and energetic vibe filled with people clearly proud of their home.
Our guest house, the aptly named City View, was perched right near the top. Our all-knowing host, Man, is the main reason people started going there in the first place.
He’s a one man civic booster. As his guests trickle in, he soaks in their stories of travel. Even though he hasn’t travelled himself, he has an impressive, if hilariously distorted world view. And he likes to tell the stories of his guests, the juicier the better.
From the European women who revel in “casual” boyfriends to the Brazilian man who was “forced” to take on multiple girlfriends because of the countrywide gender imbalance, he knows his factoids. and he likes to tell them. We spent four days in Tansen partly due to the fear of cliff-side bus routes.
And that’s a large part of the reason we spent the next four days walking to our next destination, Pokhara. Right now, we expect Man is regaling his guests with stories of terrified Americans walking north.