Pokhara Pokhara Pokhara! What a city! I fell in love with it the second we (German man & I) stepped into Lakeside! The food is to die for (especially after 20 something days of eating the same trekking food), the lake is beautiful, the vibe is soooo chilled out.
Day 1: After arriving, Nathaniel brought German man and I to the hotel. Only one room was ready, so I gave it to German man, seeing that Nathaniel and I had been sharing tea house rooms for the past three weeks. I put my stuff in Nathaniel’s room and we went out to go shopping. I needed some new (and more importantly, clean) clothes since I had left everything besides what was in my rucksack in Kathmandu. Nathaniel ended up with two shirts, as did I (+ a pair of pants). We grabbed a snack and then headed back to his room, where we hung out until dinnertime-ish. We went to go get German man before dinner, but his door was locked from the outside (meaning he wasn’t there) so Nathaniel and I grabbed dinner just the two of us, then went to sleep (when my room was ready). It was one of our latest nights; we went to sleep at about 11 pm.
Day 2: Such a lovely day! German man left early in the morning for KTM, so it was just N & I! After dropping off some laundry to be done (for 100 rupees!), we decided to rent a motorbike… He drove, as I’m too scared to learn to drive a motorbike, and also (and very importantly), I don’t know how to drive (cars). He also had been motorbiking in India previously. I hopped on the back of the bike/was navigator instead. The first place we headed to was the World Peace Pagoda, situated at the top of a hill. Getting the motorbike up the tiny path was interesting… I ended up walking about halfway up, as it was just too bumpy/difficult to drive up (especially with the extra weight of a passenger).
At the top, there were more stairs to climb, then we were there! The views from the top would have been amazing, had there not been smog. Apparently on a clear day, you can see the Annapurnas! After the peace pagoda, N & I headed over to the Mountaineering Museum. What a lovely little place- I learned tons tons tons about the mountains we had been climbing through, past expeditions, Nepali culture… It was such a great little find, and it inspired me to want to climb even higher! Nepal certainly has turned me into an amateur altitude junkie!
After visiting the museum, we headed back to Lakeside, stopping for lunch at our favorite cafe, The Umbrella Cafe. After that, we decided to head up to Sarangot, a viewpoint famous for paragliding. We didn’t do any paragliding, but we did attempt to soak up the view, which was sadly obstructed by smog. Oh well. We got tea and crisps so all was well. The crisp flavors cracked me up… “India’s Magic Masala,” “American Style Cream & Onion,” “Spanish Tomato Tango…” The viewpoint was like the pagoda, on a very very high hill with very very steep roads that were less than ideal for motorbikes. Nathaniel was a wonderful driver, being super careful and putting safety first, however, sometimes roads have minds of their own.. Or slippery gravel on curves. We crashed. Last thought I had before the bike went down was, “hey, we’re going off the cliff.”
Luckily, Nathaniel and I both somehow jumped off the bike before it went down, and we were scratch free! Actually, neither of us even jumped… We kinda just walked off. Lucky lucky lucky! And fortunately, the bike got caught on some plants and didn’t end up at the bottom of the mountain. And there wasn’t even a scratch on it! After that, we were even MORE cautious, but again, sometimes it doesn’t matter how careful you are, things just happen. As we were making a turn, a dog in the middle of the road attacked us, and we SPED away from it, down the mountain. Don’t worry, we sped carefully. We decided that we had enough motorbiking for the day and returned the bike, then hung out in Lakeside that evening.
Day 3: Another wonderful day! And productive! Nathaniel and I spent the morning planning our trips. He bought a flight to Lukla, the start of the 3 passes/Everest Base Camp trek, and I bought a ticket home for the same day, two days from the time of purchase. We then got info about the buses to Kathmandu and decided to take the local bus rather than the tourist one. The rest of the day was spent on a boat in the middle of Pokhara’s lake. We played odds and Nathaniel had to jump off the boat, and for some reason, I decided to jump out of the canoe into the water as well. It was refreshing and lovely and ugh so good. Unfortunately, there was a storm on the way, and the wind made for a super super difficult time paddling back. Somehow we made it back to shore before it started pouring! yayay timing! The night was spent in random cafes, eating hummus and drinking lassis and enjoying our time together!
The next day was spent on a bus. We woke up at 8 and were on a bus by half 10. The ride was supposed to be 5 hours, but of course, with our luck, there were not one, but two accidents on the road. Nepal roads are winding and pretty much one lane, so a car accident means the road will be blocked for kilometers. The bus ride took about 9 hours; we arrived at half 7 (pm). Nathaniel and I split a cab, which dropped me off at my hostel first, and we quickly said our goodbyes outside the cab. I was proud of myself for not crying until AFTER he was out of sight. I’m bad with goodbyes and I miss him loads. LOADS.
The day after that, I packed up! My sleeping bag was attached to the outside of my rucksack the entire trek, so stuffing that actually inside my bag was an effort. I’ve never seen my bag so stuffed or large! After packing and checking out, I ventured around KTM, hitting Durbar Square and the shops around Thamel to get some last minute souvenirs. And tea!! Lots of lemon and masala tea so I could bring some mountain morning rituals home with me.
I got a cab to the airport at 6pm after a last meal of daal baht. #DAALBAHTPOWER. I was planning on surprising my mum and dad and sister by coming home early, but my mum’s in Jakarta for a little weekend girls’ trip, and my dad and sister are at work and school, respectively, sooooo great planning on my part. I’m writing this on the plane, I’ve been traveling for 7 hours so far and I’m almost home! As soon as I get home, I’m going to get my disposables from both SEA and Nepal developed!
It’s hard to believe my gap year travels are over. It’s back to reality now, which is so darn bittersweet. I’m beyond thankful for all the memories made and experiences had, and as strongly that I feel my travels are ending prematurely, I’m excited to begin my internship and move to university! It’s a new chapter! But it’s weird settling in one place, and the nomad in me is not happy about it! I’ve already got a list of places to be explored! I’m currently trying to figure out when I’ll have enough time to motorbike/roadtrip/train from Singapore to Europe, check out Mongolia and Tibet, save enough for Bhutan, travel safely to Iran, get around Central Asia, explore South America, and of course, do more trekking! SoooOOooooOOOo much to see, so much to do!