There are a few towns during our travels that we have truly fallen in love with and it usually more often has to do with the people. Tansen, known by locals as Palpa is such a town. We arrived here from Bardia National Park after yet another long, dusty, and tiring ride. The town at night didn't look very special and we wondered how long we would stay here before making a run back to Kathmandu.
The town was full of serendipitous moments, such as when we were walking past the still constructing Tansen Palace burned down by Maoist, ran into Gulam Rasul, a police sub-inspector who upon hearing our Urdu decided to first give us a tour of the off limits palace and then treated us to chai and paan. He introduced us to a wonderful couple (Amir and Ayesha) that have a little watch shop and have been at the same corner for 39 years (a sign proves it). We came to be in there wonderful company for the ten days that we spent in Tansen and not once would they allow us to pay for chai. They invited us to their homes for several home cooked meals and Sabeen still raves about the chicken.
We also met Mr. Mohan who runs a tourist information desk and asked him about volunteer opportunities, who introduced us to the staff of Palpa Paragon English Boarding School (PPEBS), which happened to be on the day they were having there second annual school function and what better way to meet all the staff, hear wonderful speeches, watch kids perform, and even get introduced as special guests from America. We have a shirt lapel to prove it......
The PPEBS staff was wonderful, we loved all the kids. Sabeen especially liked nursery and I loved reading to them in the mornings. We even took a picnic with the staff to a lake, ate sugar cane, and ate lots of food at the Shiva Ratri mala to celebrate the coming of spring.
The watch couple's son Israel offered to take us to Ranighat, known also as the Taj Mahal of Nepal, which was a beautiful hike with views of the Himalayas, water falls, mountain streams, and great company sharing snacks along the trail.
There aren't enough wonderful things to say about Tansen from the familiar faces we would see everyday going about their routine to the many salams we would offer to our newly made but felt like old friends.
Our hotel would even prepare sumptuous meals for us, charge us pittance, and sit with us while we ate and discuss the day and their lives. We learned about their family histories, interests, and played and joked with their kids.
It was hard leaving so we said our teary goodbyes to our new friends and know we now have a second family there and will soon be back.