Nepal – Andrew Beharrell (issue 11)

Enfield Overland magazine Nepal”Pacheunu!” (Follow that bike!) barked the border policeman, jumping on to my friend Dawa’s pillion seat. A heavily laden Hero Honda had failed to stop at the road block and was suspected, we later learned, of carrying black market goods from India into Nepal. He didn’t stand a chance against the Enfield’s thundering 28 horsepower. For an exhilarating two minutes I lived my dream of participating in a fast-pursuit police chase, weaving between trucks, pedal cycles and livestock. The chase ended in apprehension, shouting, negotiation and a handshake. Just another quiet day on the Himalayan Highway…Nepal Enfield Overland

We had met up in Kathmandu, and planned to start by exploring Dawa’s Sherpa homeland in the foothills of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. Sitting next to him on the Buddha airways internal flight, with a panoramic view of the high Himalayas, he was able to name them all and had climbed a good many, including Everest.

Little Bhadrapur airport has no arrivals hall, just an open-sided shed surrounded by beds of red carnations. I was re-united with licence plate number 5622, which I had ridden three years before from Kathmandu to Muktinath in the Mustang region, when her black, cream and gold livery was bright and new.

We left the frenetic Mahendra highway and headed up into the hills towards Ilam, stopping for lunch at a roadside place from which the view of tall cypress trees (if you half close your eyes) resembles Tuscany with tea bushes for vines. They seemed to be preparing for a riot when we arrived; crowds of men walking purposefully down the main street, shadowed by a police detachment with shields and batons. However, it was just the aftermath of a football match, and the police were in holiday mood as they headed for their barracks on a pretty hill outside town…