AsiaNepalPokhara

Pokhara : A little calm after the chaos.

Pokhara Travel Blog

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Yves rushes off with Bibi to see if his passport etc are still on board the bus "zoooooooooooooom!"

Well yesterday caught a bus from Kantipath, Kathmandu to travel to Pokhara.  Pokhara is Nepal's second city and sits approximately 250 km west of the capital.  Now for the most part, most tourists to Pokhara are heading there for one of two reasons.  To get some chillout time after their varying (often negative) reactions to the sensory maelstrom of Kathmandu, or to use it as the logical jump off point for so many of Nepal's incredible trekking routes in the central Annapurna region of the country.  Tourists rarely wander away from the super laidback stretch of hotels, shops and bars that run along the more northerly banks of the very Phewa Tal (lake).

Boats upon Phewa Tal (lake)

Arriving in town with my new 'Five Minute Friend' from the journey Yves (an early retired U.S. Army Flight Nurse Major) your first taskis to battle your way through to some sense ofcapacity to think straight whilst you are harrassed to within an inch of a mental breakdown by all the hotel tout-come-taxi-drivers who all look and sound like they will expire right there on the spot, there's lives a worthless failure if you do not choose their hotel.  Obviously usual rules apply.  Have somewhere in mind already to blag your way through or HAVE somewhere booked.  Yves and I though have a bit of chaotic fun trying to stick to one of hisfavourite laws of travel - he's done a LOT of travel! - which is "Always ignore the 1st person to reach you, as they're TOO desperate.

  Also ignore the 2nd person to reach you, ashe's just the same he just didn't get to ya quick enough.  Number 3?  Well yeah, maybe."  I'm not sure we stick to this template but end up bunged in a taxi to the Peace Ganga Hotel courtesy of Madhab... whose life it seemswe have verily saved through our agreeing to "just look at the rooms and FREE taxi first!".  It's all ok but somewhere between the bus stop and the hotel Yves realises his shoulder travel-pouch with his passport (and visas), credit cards and oodles of dosh has gone 'missing'.  TOTAL WIPEOUT!  Nowhere to be found.  Not back at the bus or (we're told) in the taxi.  The police say for sure it's bus bag thieves and the report is filed as such.  I bail Yves out to the tune of 6,000 Nepali Ruppee to get back to Kathmandu and the US Embassy.
The 3 ladies who kindly showed me the path up to the Peace Pagoda (we bumped into each other again later in the day)
  And so suddenly ends yet another 'Five Minute Friend'.  I would now dub these FMF's and bequeath this to the international blogging lexicon... but "OMG!" Steve can't stand acronyms so maybe not :)  LOL  (<-- oops!)

The next day is just about me, introducing myself to Pokhara and giving some last minute thoughts and preparations to a proposed two to three weeks trekking in the Annapurna region.  First of all though it's time to put the leg muscles to the test and see if they're ready to wake up for the task ahead.  I decide toroad test them with a nice gentle hike up the hilly far shore of Lake Phewa to the high-set Vishwa Shanti Stupa, more commonly referred to as 'The World Peace Pogoda'.  This shrine sits some little way over 1,000 metres above Phewa Thal and I believe was bequeathed to the Pokhara skyline around about a decade ago by The Japanese Buddhist Society.

  It's rather curious looking and very well kept in its small hilltop garden grounds.  The walk up to it is very pleasantly cast through sun-dappled leafy woods.  Initially I have a few problems finding the start point from the hill base at Damside (from the south-east point of the lake across a bridge).  Luckily 2 Nepali women and a young girl heading the same way amuse themselves with helping me out and saying "no" everytime I ask "Does it start here?", "Here?", "ok, here?!" every 50 yards or so.

Sat at the top a small group of fellow trekky touristssit on the pristine white steps of the Stupa chatting and eating in the hot, hot sunshine.  Yes the weather again is cracking but sadly the conditions around are not perfect today for the main reason people make their way up here (although I'm sure the Pagoda's stated aim of promoting world peace comes a close second! :) .

.. that reason being an unparallelled view of the whole breadth of the Annapurna range visible from Pokhara.  Today most of the snow-capped mountain tops can only be occasionally glimpsed through a low-lying bank of heat haze clouds.  To the east can be seen the sprawling urban landscape of REAL Pokhara city, the place where few or no tourists actually bother to go... and my name is added to that number despite my recent enjoyment of Kathmandu.  Pokhara's about slowing down a bit.  A jump off point to Nature, and not more Megalopolis Chaos.

So I head back down.  Purchase a brightly coloured long swatch of cotton-stitched material of a withered Old Soul of a smiling Tibetan lady which will become my 'good luck' trekking belt once tied about m'waist.  Back in Base Camp Pokhara Lakeside I buy a few last minute trekking essentials.

The World Peace Pagoda.
  Trek backpack, sweat-top, socks, water purification tablets, map and LOADS of Snickers bars.  Dinner this evening is at the Rice Bowl and extremely pleasant courtesy of Buffalo Momos, beer and the company of my latest FMF, an aspiring poet, Beverley, from Swindon (now Sheffield) England who's just finished a 1 month trek to Everest Base Camp.  Impressive. 

...darn it!  I used that acronym again didn't I! ;D

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Yves rushes off with Bibi to see i…
Yves rushes off with Bibi to see …
Boats upon Phewa Tal (lake)
Boats upon Phewa Tal (lake)
The 3 ladies who kindly showed me …
The 3 ladies who kindly showed me…
The World Peace Pagoda.
The World Peace Pagoda.
Bus from Kat to Pokhara (abstract)
Bus from Kat to Pokhara (abstract)
Boats upon phewa Tal with annapurn…
Boats upon phewa Tal with annapur…
Boat lady bails out some water.
Boat lady bails out some water.
Lake Phewa.
Lake Phewa.
The bridge across the south-easter…
The bridge across the south-easte…
Laundry by the lake.
Laundry by the lake.
Phewa Tal from higher up.
Phewa Tal from higher up.
Base of World Peace Pagoda entranc…
Base of World Peace Pagoda entran…
The World Peace Pagoda.
The World Peace Pagoda.
Peace Pagoda (detail)
Peace Pagoda (detail)
Peace Pagoda (detail)
Peace Pagoda (detail)
The urban city scape of Pokhara se…
The urban city scape of Pokhara s…
Candle at dinner.
Candle at dinner.
Pokhara
photo by: Makkattack