“You know, it’s weird that we’re trying to see Asia – I mean, I’ve never even been to Nebraska.” – Devon
“How can one country [India] get so much wrong, so much of the time?” – Steve
It was a combination of these sentiments that led to The Nebraska Pact, a nebulous pseudo-contract that may or may not be called upon sometime in the future to end our trip prematurely. The basic idea is that if we are beset by some disaster on the trip too stressful or obnoxious to deal with, we will cease all traveling activities, find the first flight to the most boring place we could think of in America (no offense to Nebraskans), and hitchhike home. Unlike most governmental constitutions, which draw from the thought of Rousseau, Voltaire, and other Enlightenment theorists, The Nebraska Pact bases itself solely upon a bitter abhorrence to adapting to new cultural contexts, and a glorified, idealized, almost BirdDog!ian version of America that we certainly didn’t have when we lived there. Sacrificing a once in a lifetime trip on account of a minor setback, the pact is extremely short-sighted, self-indulgent, ethnocentric, and petty. But, if fulfilled, it would at least allow us to drink tap water again.
The Terms of Engagement:
Though we still have yet to get drunk (the universally accepted mental state for adequate pact-formation) and write out the official terms of the pact, this is the basic criterion for the pact.
-If we lose our luggage through theft or idiocy, we immediately find a flight to Omaha
-If a “big spider” crawls across Steve, we immediately find a flight to Omaha
-If Steve poos blood, and not in a funny way, we immediately find a flight to Omaha
While the provisions of the pact have not yet manifested, there have been instances on the trip where they looked dangerously close to being fulfilled. These included the following:
1. Waiting at the bus stop in Srinagar (before heading to Leh), the bus took off at 5:45 am, with our luggage, and didn’t return for two and a half hours. It had been filling up its gas tank and collecting giant bags of mail to deliver along the way. We had been planning our taxi ride to the Srinagar airport, and our first meals back in the States (Carl’s Jr. and cheesesteaks).
2. The Srinagar Spider Episode
3. On the bus from Kargil to Manali, we were forced by space constraints to strap our backpacks onto the roof. They were on the very back of the bus – a place that, as we had been told by several travelers previously, luggage was prone to “flying away”. We too prepared to fly away. To Omaha, baby.
4. In Leh, Steve secretly plotted to single-handedly execute a bastardized version of the pact once his bowels started emitting slimy green liquid.
In Other Pact News! In Poole, a deal was made that if we ever met the writer of Hallmark’s “The Poseidon Adventure” (see here for context), preferably in the deserts of Central Asia, we would murder him and bury him in the sand.