Jason Heppenstall went trekking in Nepal and ended up being robbed, getting fever and consorting with lice

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The Independent Travel
MY trekking holiday in Nepal began to go badly wrong when I caught a fever, then set off from Kathmandu back to India....

Saturday, Kathmandu: most of the night sitting in bed, soaked underpants on head. Fever doesn't appear to be subsiding. Sunday: torturous bus journey to Indian border, crammed in with roughs. Decided to sit on roof. Reached Butwal to descend into jabbering madness of beggars and fornicating three-legged dogs. Ate noodles with flies at truck stop. Realised I had been robbed. Border guards advise return to Kathmandu.

Monday morning: after fitful sleep under attack from shoe-sized beetles, staggered on to "last bus to Kathmandu" with $20, no passport, no tickets and no hope. Now hallucinating. Gazed out of window counting goat and buffalo executions for holy festival. Trickles of blood leading from every porch.

Monday evening: reached Tara guest house. Bippin, the owner, says I can stay free until I get money. Tuesday morning: in sweaty confines of room for hours, pondering predicament. Self-diagnosed pneumonia. Need to find amoxicillin. Disturbed by Nepalese Elvis walking into room and handing me a cup of tea. He is Bippin's brother and a policeman. Wednesday morning: staggered through grimy streets looking for drugs. Bought the amoxicillin and took a dose. Fever and hallucinations not noticeably better, breathing still shallow and phlegm being mass-produced.

Wednesday evening: went with Bippin on motorbike to police station/prison. Waited with deranged American girl until told to "come back tomorrow". Trip to British embassy a soothing respite - all air-conditioning and sympathy. Staff faxed London and issued me with a sheet of paper declaring "Authentic British Citizen". Thursday: zig-zagged Kathmandu in a variety of three-wheeled vehicles. Visited police station, embassy (no news yet) and Thai Airlines.

Friday: I am supposed to be meeting a friend in Bangkok on Monday. Police commissioner has gone on pilgrimage for the day. I am issued keys to his office, rubber stamp, typewriter and form. I fill in my own police report. Back at the guesthouse I crawl into bed, realising before sleep that I am now infested with white lice. Saturday: embassy informs me that new passport may be issued on Monday. It estimates a 50 per cent chance. It is enough to book my flight to leave, then Thai Airways say there is a chance I can leave for Bangkok on Monday morning, space allowing.

Sunday: hassle Thai Airways to ensure I can get on tomorrow's flight. They say "it's full". Despair, but bump into Israeli friend from trek. Joy - she is supposed to be flying to Bangkok tomorrow but wants to delay. Frogmarch her to Thai Airways and say "not enough space eh? Now there is." I get my ticket. Now all I need is passport. Start to pray.

Monday morning: frantic embassy on phone. Bad news is new passport has not been issued. Good news is someone handed in old one. Take rickshaw to embassy, however driver gets lost. Get out and run. Just make it to embassy. Taxi race to airport via bank. Climb ladder up to jumbo jet and collapse in seat. Passport and money now stowed in underpants. Happy ending.