Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Pokhara

Nepal is full of surprises. The first surprise is that my cell phone won't work here. A very small surprise but thought I'd mention it just in case anyone was trying to get hold of me. A much bigger surprise, a delightful surprise was getting a second mountain flight today on the way to Pokhara. Kathmandu domestic terminal is a bit of a treat, a hub of noise, people coming and going and callers calling for the next flight.

Mine was delayed so more time to people watch and to get to know others, this time a very friendly family from Dubai but originally from Kerela. Yep, after the conversation I really must visit there. We sat on the bus in the warm sun while the congested airspace cleared then up we went alongside the high range, past Mt Everest. I got a couple more photos of the majestic peak rising above the clouds, very special to see up close.

Pokhara is a lovely place, very peaceful. Even more peaceful because my travel companions have gone home and I'm on my own. Solo traveling is not something I've done very often, my jury's out as to how much I enjoy it, especially after having such fun with my friends in Kathmandu. I walked along the lakeside and had chia (tea) with some young American girls, one of whom had traveled overland from China through Tibet. She had some stories to tell, made me want to travel that path.

Clair and I went for a wander yesterday starting after a dramatic drive up a very bumpy road through some spectacular scenery. The Toyota bumped it's way over roads more suited to a 4wd and dropped us at a monastery high in the hills above the Kathmandu Valley. The view was outstanding, the inside of the monastery stunning. It's a new monastery, the painting inside was still being completed. 23 men including a couple of monks were busy at work painting the intricate patterns, the traditional stories of the place. Clair and I took heaps of photos but were not allowed to inside.

The walk down the valley was restful. Through the rice paddy's and small villages where the families were doing what families do later in the afternoon of a working day. I will add to this story when I can upload the photos, photos of the place, the people and my travel companions. An excellent day out topped off by some Nepali chia in a local cafe. Clair and I dined in style at the Thai restaurant just down the road from out hotel, sharing a treat to warm us up, a hot toddy of spiced rum. Delicious and warming. A perfect end to a perfect day.

We were sad to leave our friends at the Ambassador Garden Home Thamel's Finest Boutique Hotel. It certainly was the finest, made fine by the people. Anything we wanted, they provided including flights, trekking guides, hot water bottles at night and the yummiest breakfast. I took a photo of the crew and will include this and more information in a post soon. Needless to say, if you're looking for a haven of peace and tranquility in down town Kathmandu give them a call.

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