I quickly headed back to India, having been out of the country for only 24 hours. A friend had suggested that I might want to stay out longer, but I decided it would be OK since my next trip out of India will be longer. I was going to stay longer, but really didn’t like being there and something came up I needed to be in India to take care of anyway.
Since the guy at the hotel told me that local drivers would charge around 3,500INR to take me to Haldwani because they charge both sides, I just called the driver who brought me and asked him to pick me up. He only charges Rs1,600, though I gave him another Rs100 as he came the night before to meet me so early. If you come from Haldwani or Kathgodam, negotiate with the drivers at the station and then get their number if you may need to get picked up again.
It seemed to me that an electric rickshaw would be the best way to go, but I wasn’t successful at finding one to take me all the way—maybe because it was only 6am. So I got an e-rick, as they are called, that took me to the Nepal Immigration office, which is 7-8 km from Mahendranagar. He charged me 200 Nepalese rupees for that ride. That was as quick and easy as the first visit.
From there, I got on a cycle rickshaw, who took me the rest of the way for 150INR. The man at the Nepal Immigration office said someone could take me on a motorcycle, no problem, but I declined.
Again stopping at some checkpoint between the offices to show my passport, I went on to the Indian Immigration office. This time, I had to fill out a form, and he took me into the back room and took my photo and ran my passport through a scanner. There was another man there—presumably the one in charge—so this visit went faster than when I left.
While I was sitting there, a couple of young German guys came up and it was clear that they were going to have some major problems as they had overstayed their visas. I had asked if they wanted to change money for the Nepalese rupees I had, but they declined, saying that they only had a few hundred Indian rupees and about 10 Euros. I have no idea how that played out, since they would have to pay a fine for overstaying. And I was wondering what they planned to survive on in Nepal—maybe they thought they would deal drugs or something? I hope they are smarter than that. In theory, or at least on the immigration form, you are supposed to declare sufficient funds to support yourself in Nepal. They didn’t ask me, but these two looked pretty broke, so they might have checked. If someone did check on their resources, they could have really been stuck. Anyway, the reason they overstayed was pretty foolish, given how things go with Indian bureaucracy. They had waited until the very last day and showed up too late in the evening. No one came, so they hung around until morning, by which time they had blown it. Hopefully, they had the money for their Nepal visas, but what if they didn’t have the money for the fines—not to mention little essentials like food, etc? A little research and advance planning in matters like these is essential. Just saying.
The rest of the ride back to Banbasa was completely uneventful. I got there earlier than the 8am time I had told the driver, but he was faithfully waiting for me.