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March 28th 2007
Published: August 6th 2007
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Imagine if you will - one Aussie, one Kiwi, three Polish, four Indians, a handful of Tibetans, five dozen Nepalese, some caged pigeons, a musical busker, eight sacks of rice, insane amounts of personal baggage, and forty crates of fruit and vegetables all crammed into (and on top of) a forty seater bus. Welcome to the public buses in Nepal!

From the Indian border to Pokhara it took nearly twelve hours (another overnighter!) to make the 100km trip, along narrow roads that wound steeply through the hills. The bus stopped constantly to load and unload supplies, pick up and drop off more people, stops for meals, and one curious stop to investigate by torchlight a site on the roadside where a vehicle may or may not have plummeted to a grisly demise.

We arrived into Pokhara tired and weary just before sunrise and were greeted with the most stunning view of the Machhapuchhare and the Annapurna mountain range, and a lovely lady who sought us out on the street and offered us warm croissants.

Pokhara embraces tourism warm heartedly and the people here are amazing. It's service and smiles without all the hassles. The main drag is lined with shops offering services from haircuts to freshly squeezed juice, and a plethora of shops selling everything from Tibetan handicrafts to fake trekking gear (and no one seems terribly concerned about copyright infringement, proudly boasting that they're Nepali made!). Restaurants abound, and our favourite little German Bakery claims to have organic vegetables and vegetarian chickens (check out the cute sign)!

We've enjoyed unwinding here in the fresh air, and enjoying stellar views of the mountains and pretty lake. We've also found some solace in the local pub where we've downed a few beers, watched some World Cup cricket games, made some new friends and consequently picked up our first hangovers in months.

It was from here that we took the plunge and went Paragliding. We launched from Sarangkot a 1000m high ridge that overlooks the lake and town below. The flights were tandem and Suz was piloted by the hunky Jamie from England. Dave having missed out on the Patagonian hottie, was instead was paired with the frustratingly French Hugo who claimed "oh laa laa ... wee wee .... vees are ve best vermals ever .... ve are so luckee ".

The visibility wasn't ideal for photos, but the flying conditions were awesome. Using eagles, vultures and birds to guide us towards the thermals we climbed upwards in circles to nearly 2400m, well above the cloud cover. From here we were face to face with the mountain range ahead and it felt like we could reach out and touch the majestic snow capped mountains. We stayed up for 45 minutes and our descent involved some air acrobatics in which we twisted and turned, spun in a 360, and had a rather unstylish crash landing. All in all, good value!

Next we're off on safari!

Our Route:
INDIA: Varanasi > Gorakhpur (by train) > Saunali (by bus) > NEPAL: Belahiya (by cycle rickshaw) > Bhairawa (by bus) > Pokhara (by overnight bus)

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Suz in flightSuz in flight
Suz in flight

Pokhara below
Dave midflight Dave midflight
Dave midflight

Check out the mountains in the background!
View from aboveView from above
View from above

The hills surrounding Pokhara
Machhapachhare "Fish Tail" MountainMachhapachhare "Fish Tail" Mountain
Machhapachhare "Fish Tail" Mountain

View from the paraglider
Overlooking Lake Fewa Tal and the World Peace pagodaOverlooking Lake Fewa Tal and the World Peace pagoda
Overlooking Lake Fewa Tal and the World Peace pagoda

That's Dave below in the Paraglider
Music to drive by!Music to drive by!
Music to drive by!

Busker on the bus

4th April 2007

Hey Cleary - Nepal looks amazing! Thanks for the awesome updates and you + David have a happy easter on your travels! Ciao` Simon
4th April 2007

What aTrip
These travel journals are spectacular. I want to be there and the photographs are great. The air is changing in Melbourne and winter is on the way. It is a long weekend coming up and religious festivities are on at all the churchs. However the Rabbit and its relationship to Easter is debatable..Look after yourselfs.....all the best Sally
4th April 2007

WOW!!!! Shirl says "hi".

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