A journey from Nepal to China

Photos: Prajwal Nepali

My journey from Nepal to China was an unforgettable adventure filled with unexpected twists and heartwarming acts of kindness. It all began at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, where I embarked on a trip to Chengdu, China, with a layover in the bustling city.

Arriving at Chengdu International Airport, I felt relieved to reach my destination safely. Upon reaching Chengdu, I immediately contacted my brother, who promptly arranged accommodation at the Joyhub Air Hotel conveniently located within the airport premises.

The hotel, with its serene ambience and comfortable amenities, provided a much-needed respite after a long journey. The night before my flight to Beijing, my elder brother Frank da-ge who was always considerate of my well-being, urged me to wake up early to ensure a smooth journey. He emphasised the importance of being punctual for my 7:30 am flight. Taking his advice to heart, I set my alarm for the crack of dawn, determined to start my day on the right foot.

As the first rays of sunlight filtered through the curtains, I roused myself from sleep, feeling excitement and anticipation for the day ahead. Despite the early hour, I greeted the morning with renewed vigour, eager to embark on the next leg of my adventure.

After freshening up, I made my way to the hotel’s dining area, where a delicious breakfast spread awaited me. Savouring each bite of my meal, I mentally reviewed my itinerary, ensuring that I had everything for my departure. With my stomach full and spirits high, I bid farewell to the cosy confines of the Joyhub Air Hotel and headed towards the Sichuan Airlines ticket counter, confident that I was well-prepared for the journey ahead.

However, my sense of readiness was shattered in an instant as I approached the ticket counter and received a startling revelation: my flight to Beijing was scheduled to depart from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), not Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU) where I currently found myself.

Unexpected setbacks in the journey

A wave of panic washed over me as the gravity of the situation sank in. In that moment of realisation, time seemed to stand still as I grappled with the enormity of my predicament. How had I overlooked such a crucial detail?

With every passing second, the prospect of missing my flight loomed larger, casting a shadow over my carefully laid plans. Despite the rising tide of panic, I forced myself to remain calm, knowing that succumbing to despair would only worsen the situation. Drawing upon reserves of resilience, I resolved to find a solution to my predicament, no matter the odds stacked against me. Little did I know that this unexpected setback would pave the way for an extraordinary display of kindness and solidarity from an unexpected source, reminding me that even in the face of adversity, there are still moments of brightness and hope.

Amid my escalating panic and mounting desperation, a glimmer of hope materialised in the form of a kind-hearted Chinese taxi driver. His reassuring presence offered a ray of light amidst the chaos, promising to help me navigate the daunting distance to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, where my flight awaited.

Summoning every ounce of determination and resolve, I embarked on a harrowing 70-kilometre journey through the bustling streets of Chengdu, the minutes ticking away with relentless speed. With each passing mile, I clung to the fragile hope that somehow, against all odds, I would make it to the airport in time. As we hurtled towards our destination, the relentless hum of the engine seemed to echo the frantic rhythm of my heartbeat. Every second felt like an eternity, yet I refused to succumb to despair, spurred onward by the unwavering belief that fate was not yet finished with me.

In a stroke of serendipity, fate intervened in the form of a compassionate stranger, a fellow passenger on this tumultuous journey. Sensing the urgency of my plight, this benevolent soul took it upon themselves to intervene on my behalf, reaching out to the airline in a desperate bid to secure a reprieve.

With a stroke of luck that felt almost surreal, the wheels of fate began to turn in my favour. Thanks to the selfless intervention of this unknown Samaritan, the airline granted a brief extension, buying precious moments that could mean the difference between making my flight and being stranded in a foreign land. Upon arriving at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, I was met with a whirlwind of activity as I raced against the clock to complete the check-in process. With the assistance of my newfound ally, I navigated the labyrinthine corridors of the airport with a sense of purpose, determined to overcome every obstacle standing between me and my destination.

In a breathtaking display of synchronicity, I reached the boarding gate at 7:35 am, mere moments before the scheduled departure of my flight. As I stepped onto the plane, a wave of relief washed over me, mingled with gratitude for the strangers who had become my unlikely saviours in a time of need. With a heart full of gratitude and a renewed appreciation for the kindness of strangers, I settled into my seat, ready to embark on the next chapter of my journey. Though the road ahead may be fraught with challenges, I knew that as long as compassionate souls are willing to lend a helping hand, no obstacle is insurmountable.

As I finally boarded the aircraft, a sense of palpable relief washed over me, accompanied by a deep sigh of gratitude for the kindness and assistance bestowed upon me by the anonymous Chinese helper. Their selfless actions had ensured my safe passage to Beijing, a destination that had seemed so distant and uncertain just hours before.

As the plane soared through the sky towards the bustling metropolis of Beijing, I could not shake the overwhelming sense of gratitude for the stranger who had intervened on my behalf. Their compassion had been a beacon of hope in my darkest hour, guiding me through the turmoil and uncertainty with unwavering support. Upon landing in Beijing, I was eagerly welcomed by my Frank da-ge, whose relief at seeing me emerge unscathed was palpable. Embracing him tightly, I felt a rush of gratitude for his unwavering support and concern throughout my journey.

Stay in Beijing

During my stay in Beijing, I made sure to explore some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the avant-garde 798 Art District. The destination left an indelible impression on me, offering unique insights into China’s rich cultural tapestry and vibrant contemporary scene.

First, my journey led me to the 798 Art District, a sprawling complex renowned for its avant-garde art galleries, studios, and exhibitions. As I wandered through the maze of industrial buildings adorned with colourful graffiti and striking sculptures, I was struck by the district’s palpable energy and creativity.

Everywhere I looked, there was a sense of artistic innovation and experimentation, with each gallery showcasing the diverse talents of China’s burgeoning art scene. From cutting-edge contemporary works to thought-provoking installations, the 798 Art District provided a captivating glimpse into the intersection of tradition and modernity, leaving me inspired and enriched by the experience.

Vibrant atmosphere with rich cultural heritage

Likewise, my time in Beijing was filled with exploration and discovery as I immersed myself in the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere. Another highlight was my trip to the Great Wall of China, a monumental feat of engineering and a testament to human ingenuity.

Standing atop the ancient stone ramparts, I could not help but marvel at the sheer magnitude of this awe-inspiring structure. Stretching for thousands of miles across rugged terrain, the Great Wall stood as a symbol of China’s indomitable spirit and resilience throughout the ages. As I traced the path of the wall with my fingertips, I could not help but feel a sense of awe and reverence for the countless generations who had toiled to construct this magnificent edifice. Each stone was a testament to the enduring legacy of those who had come before, their labour immortalised in the very fabric of the wall itself.

Standing atop the ancient stone ramparts, I could not help but marvel at the sheer magnitude of this awe-inspiring structure. As I traced the path of the wall with my fingertips, memories flooded back to me of studying it in grade three.

I remembered the textbooks filled with images and stories of this magnificent wonder, never imagining that one day I would stand in its shadow. For me, the Great Wall of China was more than just a historic landmark – it was a living testament to the power of human perseverance and determination.

Standing on its ancient stones, I felt a deep connection to the past, as if I were a part of something much larger than myself. Reflecting on my journey, I realised that the Great Wall was not just a physical barrier, but a metaphor for the obstacles we face in life. Just as the wall had withstood the test of time, so too had I overcome the challenges that had threatened to derail my journey.

Leaving the Great Wall behind, I carried with me a newfound sense of strength and resilience, knowing that no matter what obstacles may lie ahead, I had the courage and determination to overcome them. As I continued my journey through the enchanting city of Beijing, I did so with a renewed sense of purpose and gratitude for the incredible experiences that lay ahead.

After immersing myself in the magnificence of the Great Wall, I joined my elder brothers for a well-deserved treat. We indulged in a relaxing body massage, allowing the soothing hands of skilled therapists to melt away the tension and fatigue accumulated from our travels. Rejuvenated and invigorated, we capped off our day with a delightful Korean dinner, savouring the tantalising flavours of traditional dishes amidst lively conversation and laughter. It was the perfect way to unwind after a day filled with adventure and exploration, creating cherished memories that would linger long after the journey had ended.

During my extensive travels across China, from the moment I landed in Chengdu to my exploration of the vibrant streets of Beijing, I was consistently met with an overwhelming sense of warmth and hospitality from the Chinese people.

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Nepali is a writer.

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