The last few kilometers of India was pretty good riding. The pavement was fair, the huge trees overhanging the road gave plenty of shade, and traffic was light. As I got closer to the border with Nepal, the route narrowed until it wound down to a single rocky path. I rolled through a small village of about a dozen huts, then, I was there.
The Nepal border check went smoothly. I would have missed the place if the customs guy hadn't run out into the road and flagged me down. I was the only westerner there that morning... probably the only one there all month.
In 6 kilometers, I reached Mahendranengar. It's a small, dusty, border town, with all kinds of funky shops in the market place. There are stores that sell backpacks, others offer shoes, there are a couple of barber shops and a hardware store where I picked up some kerosene. The proprietor asked me what I was going to do with it and I couldn't resist showing off my nifty little backpacking stove.
I assembled my stove right there on the sidewalk, primed it until a few ounces of kerosene dribbled out of the jet, then struck a match. Nothing happened. I struck another match, then, another. Still no flame and I was starting to worry that my big show was going to be a dud.
I could tell by the expressions of the 5 or 6 people who had assembled that they were beginning to doubt whether my fancy American contraption was really going to work. There was a slight breeze blowing and I thought that might have had something to do with the failure, so I got out my windscreen and tried it again. This time the stove came to life with a roar and soon I had the whole crowd laughing and clapping as I ran my MSR through its paces.
As we all sat together waiting for my stove to cool off enough to repack, I quizzed the group about my proposed route to Pokhara and then onto Katmandu. "You'll have no problem," one young fellow assured me, "the road is good all the way and there are lots of places to eat and sleep. There are some hills you will have to climb, but other than that, you should not worry, there are no robbers, lots of police and you will have a very fine trip."
That's what I like to hear.