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Long Bus trip and the Purple Hat.

Pokhara Travel Blog

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Group photo Kathmandu

Nepal.

March 13th 1990. Bus trip and the Purple Hat

 

We had to be up early, packed and ready for a long 7 hour bus trip, both for all of us who were continuing on the tour and also for the ones leaving to go trekking in the Annapouna Ranges part of the Himalayan Mountains. We met up with several new members of our tour joining us for the rest of our exciting journey.

The bridge deviding the small town
There was a husband and wife team of Doctors from South Africa and an ex resident of Nepal returning for the first time with his young son, and a couple of English people to get to know. Before we left the grounds of the Shangrilla Hotel we all lined up for another of our group photos, then all pilled into the small buses which were all they could use as the roads were not very good and were all mountainous narrow and largely unsealed. Julies bus full of trekkers left half an hour before us.

I was especially lucky to secure a front seat on the small bus along with Eric and John, we chatted happily most of the way and amazingly I didn’t feel carsick once, but then I had taken the precaution of taking a tablet before we left. There was so much to see and watch along the route. First thing we noticed was just how very long these mountains had been farmed, there were terraces on every single possible piece of land all the way up mountains, each narrow terrace was growing something, mostly all water must be carried on someone’s back all the way up the mountains to keep everything growing.

John at the Manakamana Hotel restaurant
They grow a lot of potatoes, wheat, mustard mainly for oil, and ofcause rice. So very much work must have gone into constructing their terraces, there deserve to get good crops after all the hard work. We saw lots of young children working alongside their parents to grow, water and nourish the crops often barefoot in the soft muddy conditions.

Half way through the mornings drive we came across Julie and the other trekkers bus broken down on the side of the road, majorly broken down, we thought it was a broken axle or some other thing under the bus had collapsed onto the road, another bus had been called to take them on so our bus continued on its way over quite large rocks and through deep pot holes and up steep hills.

We stopped at a small town for lunch, beside a really beautiful river, I took photographs of the bridge we had just driven over which was in the centre of the town, then John, Eric and myself walked back over the bridge to enjoy a truly Nepali meal in this town.

Mountainous terrace farms Nepal.
We were the only ones game enough to do this, so we dined in a native restaurant called Manakamana Hotel, with a stamped flat mud floor and rickety old worn-out wooden tables and chairs. But only after checking out the big pots we could see bubbling away on the open fires within the building, we decided everything was well cooked and as hygienic as possible under the conditions, we did however very carefully wipe all the plates and utensils with our packs of ‘wet ones’ we all carry for just this purpose to try and insure we didn’t eat any more germs than necessary. All the others just nibbled on pre-packaged food from the garage dairy on the otherside of the river.

Our meal was so yummy, what it was is anybodies guess but it tasted great! For just 28 Rupees it was good value. The streets were very wide with just gravel, no tarseal or footpaths at all, not a lot of people around and very little vehicle transport, we must have been very important visitors, bringing money to their town, we were made welcome with lots of shy smiles from everyone.

The streets of the small town, blue building is the Restaurant we ate at.

In the entire tour I had been most astute in my bargaining, priding myself on always getting a bargain, but in this small town I made up for it!

 We saw a small lad coming down the street wavering and stumbling as he went, the boy came straight up to me and said ‘Please nice Lady buy hat” in very poor English. I looked at him, as did Eric, the Doctor, and saw almost blind eyes, with cataracts, running with pus, a grimy dirty face covered in pock marks and sores, his whole body shaking uncontrollably, probably from malaria, his poor legs were bowed with rickets his feet were bare and his cloths scanty and ragged, my maternal instinct (and Eric with his medical knowledge) told me this boy was extremely ill and I inwardly screamed to take care of him.

Lake Fewa at Pokara
So I gently asked the lad what he was charging for his purple raffia sunhats that I would normally have scorned for some better made, better coloured product, he said without and hope at all a huge exorbitant price equal to about $15 NZ, much more than I would have paid at home, another kindly look at this lad had me digging in my wallet for every penny he asked for in the hope that just a few of the rupees would be spent on medications to heal the dear wee chap. I wore this purple raffia sunhat all through the rest of our tour, and still have it all these years later, though it is no longer purple it has faded to a dirty dusty grey colour but I still wear it with pride in memory of the little sickly Nepali boy. Both John and Eric also bought some little trinket from him, his day was made I am sure.

Back over the bridge to join the others who were being amused by a small tame monkey tied up to a pole by a long thong.

On the road to Pokara
He was being encouraged to turn tricks for rupees, which he carefully caught as they were thrown to him and placed them in a small bucket for his master. A pretty clever monkey, and his master were making good money.

Just as we were about to leave Julie and the trekker’s bus finally pulled into the town for a late lunch, a quick wave to them as we left, having eaten all the lunch! I am sure they found something good to eat somewhere. We shan’t see them again for about fortnight.

We continued on through some very beautiful country, the scenery was nice and we three sat back and dreamed away the time together til we finally arrived in beautiful Pokara at the Crystal Hotel. First thing we found was that the loo didn’t work and then that the shower also was out of action, but all was well in time after a few complaints and a nice restful lie down Sharon and I had everything working properly and were ready to join the rest of the party on a trip across the Lake Fewa to Fish Tail Hotel to watch Nepalese dancing and music, the show was very enjoyable if rather noisy but I was so tyred I very nearly fell asleep in the middle of it! Had a nice boat trip back to the Crystal Hotel where we all dined together enjoyably before Sharon and I decided to have an early night, not so the boys who all hit the town together, apart from saying they had a great time we actually never found out just what they got up without us!

Sharon and I slept really well; we couldn’t have enjoyed an evening out anyway.

Me wearing the Purple hat!

reikunboy says:
sounds so sad but beautiful at the same time
Posted on: May 31, 2008
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Group photo Kathmandu
Group photo Kathmandu
The bridge deviding the small town
The bridge deviding the small town
John at the 
Manakamana Hotel res…
John at the Manakamana Hotel re…
Mountainous terrace farms Nepal.
Mountainous terrace farms Nepal.
The streets of the small town, blu…
The streets of the small town, bl…
Lake Fewa at Pokara
Lake Fewa at Pokara
On the road to Pokara
On the road to Pokara
Me wearing the Purple hat!
Me wearing the Purple hat!
Pokhara
photo by: Makkattack