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Published: November 8th 2015
After eleven nights by the lake it was time to move on again. I took a 140 Rs (about a buck eighty) local transport from the Pokhara bus station until, two hours later, I was dumped randomly (or so it seemed at the time) on the side of the road below a town called Bandipur. I had seen incredible photos of this unique hill station with its perfect panoramic view of the Himalayas and there was no way I was going to miss this dreamy view towards the mountains. I had a few extra days before I needed to be in Kathmandu and so I clambered aboard a waiting shared jeep and for approximately 30 minutes we spluttered up the hill 700 meters to the outskirts of town. No cars allowed inside. I found a small and fairly new family-run guesthouse and procured a room, adorned with two twin beds and a small table upon which sat a beer bottle filled with a handful of silk flowers; there really wasn’t much room for anything else in this cell-like space. I negotiated the room down for the same price as my Pokhara accommodation, with the promise of staying three or four nights.
What I actually saw....
The Himalayas are out there somewhere...really
I threw down my bag, shared a glass of chai with the kind, affable owners and headed off down the cobblestone streets to see what I could see.
I couldn’t see anything. It was so foggy, so chilly, the weather so miserable and the village looked absolutely nothing like the gorgeous photos I had seen in previous days. The fog didn’t deter me, however, from exploring, admiring the interesting architecture and as always, scouting out a little local joint to feed my rumbling tummy. I proceeded to order a thukpa (a spicy noodle soup) for my lunch, much to the delight of the proprietor, a middle-aged woman overjoyed yet flabbergasted that a Western traveler picked her
place to have a meal. Tourist restaurants, beware, you won’t see me eating at your overpriced establishments and besides I enjoy eating when surrounded by only locals, or, in this case, no one else at all; not even the restaurateurs were in view while I enjoyed my hot, steamy delicious soup.
I had another chance encounter with a fellow traveler I had met in Manali, India, about seven weeks prior. We shared in a cup of
chai and a bite to eat, catching up with our latest adventures.
I stayed four nights in Bandipur and the clouds never lifted. Of course I was sad when it was time to leave this special place, but the lack of views could only possibly mean I must head back there someday, right? Right?
I had a bit of drama getting into the capital city, Kathmandu. We were on the outskirts of town when an overhead power line came crashing down onto my bus, startling everyone and breaking at least two windows in the process, including the one directly across the aisle from me. A couple people got cut in the face from the flying glass (fortunately not badly) and I came away with only a small nick on my finger – we were all very lucky indeed. For this, the driver stopped. For accidents involving other vehicles, drivers rarely stop. As my driver had to wait for the police and fill out numerous lengthy accident reports, we passengers were told to find alternate transport into town. I didn’t want to stick around any longer than needed so I somehow found a local bus
A great way to get around the city
to get me closer to the neighborhood where I would be staying a few nights.
Arrived in Kathmandu, the weather still quite cloudy. It is supposed to get sunny tomorrow and partly cloudy the next day, the day I fly out. Flights are grounded right now because of the weather, which apparently is very unseasonal. It should be sunny and clear with the best of views...but no....I am unlucky, in this way.
With only a few days to explore Thamel, the neighborhood overrun with foreign travelers, inexpensive accommodation and low-priced local restaurants as well as a plethora of vendors and shops selling everything imaginable under the sun (and then some), I was seriously on overdrive, but also ready to move on to my next country: United Arab Emirates, where I had a Canadian friend who had taken up residency in Dubai a few years prior.
Soon I was on the plane, having requested and gotten a window seat on the right side so I could have a wonderful unobstructed view of the mountains and as luck would finally be on my side, the day I left was the most
beautiful morning in Nepal that I have seen thus far. Kathmandu was sprawled out below me and the Himalayas were in perfect view for at least the first hour or more of the journey.
After a five-hour layover in the Bahrain airport I was soon up in the air once again, and before I knew it, once I touched down in Dubai, into the welcoming and familiar arms of my friend Natalie.
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