Pokhara Travel Blog› entry 2 of 10 › view all entries
October 14th, 2000 – by: Chelsea
We flew to Pokhara on the lovely Necon Air: it's not an airline for the faint-hearted. We reclined our chairs simply by leaning backwards with some force; and the in-flight delight was a dodgy-looking egg sandwich that looked like it was made about a hundred years ago.
Pokhara was very different to Kathmandu. It was a beautiful place to start our hike. Minutes after we began our hike, it started raining. We all stopped to don our raingear (that we'd all packed at the bottom of our bags, of course) and only minutes later, it hailed. It was a dreary start to our five-day hike, though it didn't dampen our excitement.
The trek started off on a muddy, sloshy road and eventually twisted around a corner and turned into a stone path. We were concentrating so much on not slipping, that it wasn't until we were a decent way up the valley that we realised we were on the wrong side!
Then, it all started to go wrong. We crossed a suspension bridge that was very slippery. Its planks were old and worn, which made it difficult for us to cross.
After I'd crossed the bridge, the first thing I noticed was that people behind me began to fall back. I thought maybe an animal had grabbed their attention, but because it was so cold and wet, I was eager to steam ahead to find some shelter. So I hurried on to catch up with the people in front of me. I walked alone for a long time. Then, I started running, and eventually, I found a few of the others.
Suddenly, a voice cried out. From beyond the veil of rain a Nepali man came rocketing down the path, yelling something in Nepalese and throwing his finger at the river wildly. The look in his eyes was a look I will never forget. It was so desperate. Still shouting and throwing crazy jestures at the river, he and more men ran along the banks of the water that was now so great.
When the others arrived, all of them had their arms around an almost convulsing Jacques. And we wondered: what on earth happened? But more alarmingly, why are men still running along the riverbank?
Obviously Jacques had been in the river. The story was that he slipped off the end of the suspension bridge and caught himself on a rock in the surging river. One of the porters then rushed down to help him. The porter jumped in, not knowing how to swim. If you saw how big the river was that day, you'd know, he was gone in a fleeting moment. I don't think they ever found him; and it was truly a sad, bewildering night that began our journey through the Annapurnas.
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