Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pokhara - escaping from it all, eating bad chicken, fighting the good fight on a glimmering commode


Pokhara is a small city about five hours west of Kathmandu - an adventurer's Shangri-la.  People come here to para-glide, start treks around the Annapurna range, hunt spiders, get food poisoning, climb mountains, go rowing in the lake, and other stuff. 

Kristin and I came here to see the sunrise over the Annapurna range of the Himalayas, among other things.  After a butt clenching 6 hour drive from Kathmandu on a two lane road filled with garishly adorned trucks and buses, we arrived in Pokhara, thankful for cheating death on the dangerous mountain bends.  The traffic went both ways, many a head-on collision was narrowly diverted, and at one point, we got stuck in a traffic jam behind a guy trying to shove a newly purchased coat rack into his small car.  It didn't work.  He drove off in what I imagine to be a fury of disappointment. We were also starving.



One of the follies of travel we fall prey to again and again is eating conveniently rather than intelligently.  I suppose the essence of being a chubster can be summarized by a similar dogmatic misstep, but when traveling in distant pockets of our world, adding rolls and pounds are the least of worries.  We ate at a suspicious restaurant near our guesthouse, and for the next several days my stomach would feel as though demons were playing badminton with Sauron's eye in the bowls of my large intestine.

I suppose our two night stay following that first carefree evening could be summarized with one stat line:  14 rolls of thin ply toilet paper, far exceeding the two roll per day customary allowance.  Kristin was fine, and indulged in inexpensive spa treatments and other light adventuring.  I toiled for some sort of normalcy.

When I finally became a serviceable travel mate, the Nepalese Brahmin class went on strike, blockading the roads or something.  This happens frequently, and later in the journey, the striking would threaten our departure out of the country.  For now, in Pokhara, we were resigned to the use of our legs for transportation, be it on bikes or walking around like cavemen.

We biked.  We hung out at lakeside.  We ate Italian food and watched impromptu street cricket. Pokhara is a damn fine place to be marooned.  When the strike finally lifted, we sped south to Chitwan, where tigers hunt men and elephants roam free.       


Lakeside in Pokhara 

Where I fought an intestinal war

Biking, my bike was called the honey catcher 

The local Wal-mart, a smallish operation 

Pokhara has many eating options and is a very laid back place 

Buffalo 


Street cricket 



The boats looked a little iffy, and we could see several faintly beneath the water's surface. It did not inspire us to take to the lake in the wooden vessels.

A doorway to nowhere

Hard to bitch about this view 


Nepal is really a lovely place 



An island temple 

Nepalese boating 

The mountains tend to frame your insignificance
Tickets to the lake temple 


birds 


Moondance worked wonders for replacing my faith in the Nepalese food industry 
Any ideas?

The friendship pagoda looms in the background 

These heffers are like royalty here 

Sunset from a mountaintop 

Weather was rolling in and the mountains looked ghostly 


The cities nestle into the valleys like water

It is interesting to see people living so high up, carrying along like its nbd

Stormy

Same view in the morning at about 5am 

Just breathtaking, probably the most profound place I have ever stood 

Remnants of last nights storm 

Clouds below us 


The sun kissing the peaks 

Some monks take it in.  They were first on the mountain.  We were third and fourth.  There would be more,  many more.

They began piling in 

It didn't matter 

Take 1


Busy place 

Pretty much morning at this point.  I have hundreds of this same picture.

The sun peaking 




Take 2 - great picture

Stuff to buy 

The drive back down through the clouds 


5 comments:

  1. Great pictures!

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  2. great pictures but even better captions ... the cities nestle into the valleys like water ... good stuff!!

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