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Clare’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 06 Apr 2008

Location: Pokhara, Nepal

MapWell its been a while since my last update (you may notice I've backdated it) and I'm nearly at the end of another country - seems quite wierd after so long in India to be moving on again from another country so soon, but its going to speed up alot in the next few months so I'd better get used to it!

My journey in Nepal started as all good backpacker journeys should with a mammoth overland travel combo which took me from Bodhgaya in India at mid-day one day and finished at my destination of Pokhara in Nepal 42 hours later. Considering the two places are at most 500km away from each other, thats a pretty drawn out journey! It involved travel by cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, train, taxi, foot and bus. Luckily I met two nice young English boys at the train station so did nearly all of it in their company thus saving a bit of cash and meaning I could relax a bit knowing I would be left alone by everyone. Still, it was quite a trek and I was very happy to stumble off the bus in Pokhara at 6am having been on the damn thing for about 12 hours - note to future travellers in Nepal - don't take the local bus from the border...its knackered and though it might boast 2X2 push back seats, none of them actually work. On top of that the driver will stop for a nap at about 2am for a couple of hours. I don't mind that - in fact I whole-heartedly encourage it, but it would just be nice if they would tell you that before you board rather then promising arrival in Pokhara before nightfall!

My hurry to get to Pokhara was heightened by the fact that my very good friend Amy was finishing her trek at the start of her travels and I wanted to spend some days with her there... we had previously thought we wouldn't be able to meet until Thailand. Anyway, as luck would have it she stormed around the 22 day Annapurna Circuit in 17 days and we ended up literally bumping into each other on the street a day earlier than expected! Obviously I was delighted to get to a place which not only served meat, but more importantly alcohol - and yes Mum I know you can have a good time without alcohol, but I can assure you I had a complete ball with it! In between happy hours we also found time to go Paragliding - move over bungee jumping, this is my new favourite extreme sport! There is an outfit there which also offer Parahawking - a kind of falconry, Paragliding combo. They use trained birds of prey to find the thermals required to stay in the air and you have the added fun of having Kevin the Egyptian Vulture land on your gloved hand as you are flying in the tandem glider. Very cool - I'll put some pics up asap. The mainly English Parahawking lads also provided us with drinking partners for a day or two before they packed up for the season and headed off to Kashmir to go skiiing.

Amy and I explored the lake by canoe - well, Amy tried to paddle the canoe, but after we'd spent about ten minutes going in ever-decreasing circles, I took control again! We also found time to get completely lost following the 'scenic' route down from the Peace Pagoda and ended up hiking through thick forest in flip-flops before needing to be rescued from the wrong side of the lakeshore by a small boy in a boat who realised the economic value of his timely rescue from the afternoon thunder storm by charging us handsomely for the 30m boat trip back to civilisation.

A dawn taxi ride up to the viewpoint at Sarangkot to see the Annapurna Massif finished our little Pokhara excursion and we both temporarily headed our seperate ways, Amy to Chitwan National Park and me to Kathmandu to go trekking.