7 Days in Nepal
Pokhara Farewell…Home Again
Rough Start to the Last Day
I awake at 8:15 and feel like I could sleep a whole day. I crawl out of bed (everything on me hurts) and get dressed then head down to breakfast. A nice mix of eggs, bacon, porridge, fruits. A few cups of coffee to wake me up. I head upstairs and shower, dress and head out to see some sights. I missed what I understand to be a incredible sunrise view of the Himalayas, but I am mountained out for now anyway.
Despite the clouds moving in, I decide to go see the views from atop Sarangkot. Out to the main street I meet taxi driver Bavuram Timilsina who offers to drive me for Rs 1500. I ask if he can do it for 1200 but he’s not wanting to barter…and neither am I, so I agree. We head off with little conversation, though I quickly appreciate his calm and polite demeanor. It’s a nice break for the last day. He points out where his village sits to the west of us up in the hills. We begin a long winding climb along a narrow dusty road, sharing the space with scooters, cars and buses. The conversation is occasional and peaceful.
Paragliders & Vistas
After a short stop at a road construction site, Bavuram asks if I want to see the paragliders taking off. Given that Charlie had such a grand time and I considered going myself, I am excited to see them firsthand. We park and walk down the steep pathways to the cliff side where instructors are setting up and launching one person after the next. It’s fun to watch the flight staff get the chute setup then get the passenger into the air. They get going with a “walk walk walk” then they run and the glider pulls them into the air over the ledge and out into the sky. I watch this for 15 minutes with Bavuram nearby. He has a tough job, taxiing people up here to watch this amazing view.
We hop back in the car and drive the rest of the way up to the summit where we climb steep steps for about 7 minutes. It is exhausting, our breathing very heavy, where we reach 5500 feet and see a wonderfully calm and quiet view of the Annapurna range.
The view from the top is amazing even with the clouds and we stay for about 20 minutes. I feel I could have sat there all day. The mountains (himal) are so massive the clouds around them seem to be standing still. On the way down, I am stopped by a couple of nepalis who say “You Busy Bee Cafe?” I don’t recognize them but ask if we played pool and they very joyously responded yes. Namaste!
We drive back down the steep winding road and into town. I ask Bavuram if he knows any good restaurants by the lake and he drives me right up to the entrance.
Relax By The Lake
I enjoy a cup of coffee along with a chicken (very tough chicken) and potato dish, then a rarely found glass of wine. The view is so beautiful and relaxing. I walk down along the lake to see that there are a dozen or more little restaurants all nicely decorated and open to the sunshine and fresh air. You could spend a whole week here. I walk out past the boats Charlie and I took the day before and head back toward the hotel along the main strip, stopping in a few places for last minute souvenirs. I’m late getting back to the hotel and ask them to hold my 2:30 driver for a bit. I shower, pack up neatly, and checkout then get a ride to the Pokhara airport. The flight is delayed and I sit in the terminal for about 1.5 hours.
Final Landing (In Nepal, At Least)
The flight lands in Kathmandu and I’m out front by 5:20pm. I don’t want to sit in the airport for over 3 hours for my 8:55pm flight, so I text Joe for some ideas nearby. He doesn’t respond. I find a taxi driver dressed all in black who is older with slick black hair, tinted sunglasses, and black driving gloves. I tell him I’m just wanting to get out of the airport for a bit so he drives me to one place that is not very desirable. Then he takes me to a cafe in Aloknagar. It’s amazing how run down everything is in Kathmandu especially now that I’ve been in Pokhara. The driver offers to come back for me at 6:45pm.
I sit and have momos and sandeko and tap out my journey on my iPhone. The time goes by quickly. I pay my bill and hop in the car–my driver is right on time. It is about now I realize I need to pay him and I’m not sure I have enough money. He throws on the light for me and says “your choice” when I ask what I owe. He says it normally would be Rs 1600 but I only have about 160. I offer him an additional $10 American and he is happy to accept. I check my bag and get through security and immigration easily, then go up to the restaurant that has just two other people. I continue to write. After calling jamin at 8:45, my first plane is boarding for the long journey home.