29.10.2011 15 °C
It isn't a burst of creativity that is causing all of the blogs to show up today, things are getting a little hit or miss when it comes to internet connectivity. This morning we woke up before 6am to grab a bite, pack our stuff and head to the bus which was leaving at 7am SHARP for our six hour trip to Pokhara! Our guide and porter were both ready to go and met us at the guest house nice and early. We loaded our gear into the bus and climbed on board and waited for the bus to fill up. People were trickling in, then a puppy, then some gold fish, then some more people, but no one seemed too rushed. The other 10 buses parked together all started to pull away and still we sat watching our little circus roadshow come together. Finally our guide came to us and explained that "due to the festival" our bus driver was running a bit late. For a religion that doesn't drink, we have seen a lot of mishaps caused by this little festival. Finally, at the crack of 8:30, we were off like a herd of turtles and into the traffic confusion. We made it almost two kilometres before stopping to pick up more people and then another two kilometres and we stopped for more people and some gas. We had been promised a six hour trip and at this rate of progress, I was guessing it was about a 50km ride.
The fuel stop would be the last for awhile and we started to wind our way out of town. Yesterdays tour had shown us a lot of the city, but it doesn't cease to amaze with the organised chaos of people, animals and vehicles all going about their daily lives. I'm not sure if it is pollution or dust, but it was a few hours before the air started to clear and we could enjoy the fresh air of the countryside. Mostly rice, fruit and vegetable farms terraced into steep slopes make up the rural areas we drove through. The bus did stop a couple of times so we could stretch our legs and on the second stop, our guide organised lunch for us. No McDonald's drive thru here, freshly cooked fried noodles with veggies and curry paste went down pretty well.
The trek we have booked is an all inclusive 10 day package; bus from and back to Katmandu, our guide, our porter, all of our meals, hiking permits and guest houses each night along the way. We think it's a pretty good deal for $540, the stuff we saw on the internet was in the thousands of dollars and usually shorter treks.
We arrived in Pokhara around 2:30 and checked into our hotel. Hot showers and a (very) firm mattress are the highlights of our little room with a view. Our guys took us on a tour of town and offered to take us on a boat ride to an island temple on Phewa Lake, but we passed on that and just grabbed some pictures. This town is bustling full of backpackers of all levels ready for or returning from a long list of treks available in the area. We went out for dinner and had dumplings with chicken curry called "Mo-Mo's" and a coconut cream based veggie noodle soup called "Thukpa", if we keep eating like this, I'll need the long days of hiking.
Just repacking our bags now, we are lightening our load as much as possible and just making one bag for our porter. He is very good humoured, but I don't think that would last long if we loaded him down with all of our stuff. The hotel can store the rest of our gear while we are away. Tomorrow is supposed to be an easy day, but that is all relative from the stories we have heard.