Published: April 28th 2010April 28th 2010
Kathmandu to Pokhara
Families wash by the side of the road
April 28th: Arrival in Pokhara
Yesterday took the Greenline (tourist bus) from Kathmandu to Pokhara. For $18 (instead of $10) you get guaranteed seat, bottled water, lunch at a fancy tourist rest stop and a whisper of air conditioning. With other busses over-crowed ( passengers both on rooftop & hanging out the door) this was a good choice. On the drive through the Gorkha country we wind through steep gorges of the Trisuli River. The road is narrow - no room to pass, and yet they do. We pass three accidents. Long traffic delays. The seven hour journey takes nine. Even in this pre-monsoon time the river is full, brown, dirty whitecaps in the rapids. The ride is hot & humid; once outside of Kathmandu the poverty becomes rural, not urban. Families either bathe in the river or gather at a hose by the side of the road. Most houses show no sign of water or electricity. But it’s rural poverty: even the dogs look healthier.
Nine hours later we arrive in Pokhara. It’s a tourist town too - although that doesn’t mean we don’t have water buffalo & cows walking down the middle of the road. I settle
Pokhara: Water Buffalo
Water Buffalo in the Road
in at the “3 Sister’s Guest House” - a small pink brick building on the outside of town. Electricity is intermittent. (When it comes back on people let out a cheer). Accommodations are modest.
I've made plans to trek with The Chhetri Sisters to Lo Monthang. In addition to climbing Himalayan foothills, we'll be trekking & camping in the deepest gorge in the world (windy). I need a wind-breaker . This doesn't start until May 5th. Their plan is to fly north to Jomoson & trek to Kagbeni, then head into the restricted area. Rather than wait here for 8 days I'll skip the plane ride & trek to Kagbeni. I’ve hired a porter/guide & will start tomorrow (a tea house trek) & will rendezvous with the others (for the camping) in Kagbeni.
My itinerary: Pokhara - Naya Pul - Hille - Ghorepani - Shika - Tatopani - Ghasa - Marpha - Kagbani.
My goal is to go slowly (I don't expect that to be a problem) to acclimate to changes in altitude.
Pokhara is easier to take than Kathmandu. We're on a lake, surrounded by the mountains. It's a vacation town so the pace of life is slower. There's a yogi who gives yoga lessons 2x a day who lives in a shack on a hill overlooking the lake. Yoga class today then - and onto Naya Pul in the morning.