Published: April 29th 2009April 29th 2009
This morning I spent 2 hours on the bus to work. I really need to organise a bike for myself as this is getting a little crazy. The road from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur is being upgraded to a 6 lane highway from a 2 lane highway and as such this is causing complete chaos (on top of what there already is) on the roads. Fortunately there is a backroad to Bhaktapur which goes through rural land is not nearly as busy. On the weekend I went to Pokhara, a quiet town based by Lake Fewa at the foothills of the Annapurnas. It was beautiful to visit and a stark change from Kathmandu. Now the road trip to Pokhara was not without incident. We left KTM at 6pm and at about 9pm were faced with stopped traffic. Great, a Bandh we thought. Anouska, myself and the driver got out and walked for about 1km until we could see what was really happening. As we walked we passed many buses crammed full with people and the further we walked, the more car lights were turned off. I listened and heard a gutteral snore coming from a taxi. They must have been stopped for quite a while. Word got to us that there had been an accident where a baby had died and as such the traffic was banked up. In Nepal if you are in an accident you must leave everything exactly where it is on the road otherwise insurance won’t look at it and as a result, there was no moving of the traffic. I had almost fell asleep when I was awoken by Soren who jumped in the van and slammed the door shut. “Too Dangerous” he said before abruptly turning on the engine and beginning a 3 point turn back towards where we came from. “Ke Bayo? (what happened)” I asked. “Big Fight”, janne kati ho? (how many people? ) I then asked, “Minimum…..100” he said. It turns out that the people stuck in the traffic jam had started drinking and ended up in a massive fight at the accident scene. We drove away from the bandh and after driving through a few ghost towns found a guest house to stay in in Manakamana. The boys all shared a room and myself, Anouska, Celeste and Dee had our own beds in the other rooms that we only had to share with geckos and spiders. The following morning we woke up and Aimun was covered in bed bug bites. Veronica had been getting bitten so much sharing with them that she went and slept outside on the front balcony. After a quick tea we drove the rest of the way to Pokhara and headed to our guest house.
Celeste, Veronica, Aimun, Rishi, Toby and I headed up to Sarangkot for Paragliding. It was at an elevation of 2000ish metres so was pretty high. Benoit was my pilot and told me to run at the edge of the mountain when he counted three. Whilst this went against all my instincts, I calmed my nerves and did as he requested. Initially, the thrill was amazing. I was swinging in the sky. All of a sudden the wind changed and we were being pushed into a ridge to the left of the jumpoff point. We spiralled down and I began to think we would be making an emergency landing. I could read a little boy’s shirt who was standing down on the ground waving at me. Would this be the end of me? Benoit began to breathe heavily, straining against the wind, trying to catch a thermal upwards. Powerlines were coming into view. An uneasy quiet fell between us and all I could hear was the rush of gusts of wind against the parasail and Benoits raspy and heavy breathing. At the last moment, the wind changed again and we were racing upwards in a spiral as I leaned with Benoit into the thermal. The rest of the glide was still a struggle but nowhere near as dicey as earlier. We touched down for a soft landing in a field by the lake and it was over. What a relief!!
Saturday and Sunday was spent motorbiking around Pokhara and on the Sunauli road to the Indian border. Motorbiking is a lot of fun and I can see how easy it is to become addicted. Saturday evening we hired a couple of boats and went out onto the lake at sunset. I only wish I had brought my togs so that I could have gone for a swim too. All in all it was a great weekend and I wish it didn’t have to end. Veronica leaves Nepal tomorrow to head back home to California so tonight we will be heading out for her farewell. I will miss her, she is a great girl and I have had loads of fun with her!