Pokhara - the final instalment!


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October 7th 2012
Published: October 9th 2012
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7th Oct ‘12

The extent of our activities today was walking down our road to the taxi area, being claimed by our previous driver and then going to the Ghurkha museum. This was a very interesting place detailing the history of the Ghurkas from the start to present day. There were displays highlighting campaigns they were involved in, personal stories of extreme valour and courage, medals won, uniforms worn, lots of photos for each of the regiments. All this was accompanied by sound effects of battles and bagpipe playing.

An elderly gentleman in his uniform kept appearing next to us commenting now and then on things we were looking at and he also operated the sound effects buttons. He followed us around the three floors of exhibits until we reached a spot not covered by the security cameras, here he whipped out a handful of replica Ghurka regiment badges, showed Howard where to pin them and then tried to sell him one. Howard thanked him but said he didn’t collect such things which the man accepted.

Then we reached the end and our man pointed out the toilets and asked for a tip, we just smiled, thanked him and handed over some money.

You couldn’t help but be amazed at the Gurkhas’ skill, valour and loyalty – their motto ‘It is better to die than be a coward’ kind of sums it up. I was pleased to see a photo of Joanna Lumley during the campaign to get Gurkhas equal rights with other british soldier and to see the letter awarding them such, there is no doubt in my mind they earned this!

Our taxi driver came into his own today providing us with lots of extras, he stopped at the Seti River Gorge park so we could go in and we walked down to the bridge spanning a narrow but very deep gorge with water boiling through the bottom, here we met a am who insisted on showing us a photograph he had of an American dog!

Then we were given a guided tour of Old Pokhara where we saw lots of the original Newari houses which are built out of decorated small red bricks with lots of small carved wooden windows, a couple of shrines and two bustling local markets selling vegetables, spices and ‘cheap clothes from China’. He stopped so we could take photos and was really informative.

He also gave us an excellent price for this trip and to get to Bandipur which we think we may do for a couple of nights.

8th Oct ‘12

Nowt to report, just did the usual walk to ‘town’ and sat on the bed watching the Himalayas out of the window until the sun went down!

9th Oct ‘12

After unsuccessfully trying to get Howard up at 7 am so we could do the walk up to the Peace Pagoda while it was still cool we decided to take the easy option and catch a taxi up there instead! Which suited me just fine, or the theory did anyway. We were hoping to spot the taxi driver we had used the last two times but there was no sign of him, I showed another driver his card and was told he was doing a run to Kathmandu, luckily another guy came over and said he was Bikram’s best friend and I explained we wanted to book him to go to Bandipur, which he had already given us a price for. His friend then called him on his mobile and between us both we managed to sort out a pick up for tomorrow morning. The original driver I had spoken to first then wanted to take us to the Peace Pagoda but Bikram’s friend insisted he should as he was the friend! Oh dear, a subdued slanging match occurred (people do not raise voices or shout in Nepal) during which it was very clear what was being said even though we didn’t speak Neapali and once in the car, ‘the friend’ explained the other guy wasn’t happy but it was his problem and not ours, so off we set.

In practice the taxi could only get so far up the road to the Peace Pagoda and then the road deteriorated really badly and was so broken up into rubble he had to stop and join the group of other taxis waiting by the roadside. We then had to walk up the rest of the way and then climb about 400 steps to get up to the top. Well it was baking hot and we had to keep stopping and at one point I felt sure I was about to die as I just couldn’t breathe – I kept calm as I realised panicking would make it worse and managed to find my inhaler but it was really hard to breathe that in and then hold my breath! Luckily it kicked in and my breathing eased off but I just felt really sick. So we had a break in one of the mountain top cafes and looked at the amazing views out over the valley before tackling the last flights of steps up to the pagoda itself.

It is a beautiful structure all in white with four huge golden Buddhas set one into each side and the views are phenomenal, on the way down we passed a Nepalese guy who asked what we thought of the views, I said fantastic but going up nearly killed me, he replied ‘only by going up high to the top can you get the views’ very true……but it still nearly killed me!

We got back in the taxi and rattled and slid back down the mountainside and carried on back towards Pokhara. We made another stop to visit the Devi Falls, a kind of ramshackle park containing a lumpy concrete replica of the mountain views and a short walkway down to look at the waterfall, which was nice, not great but nice. The exit led you past a series of stalls all selling jewellery, bags, scarves, hats, masks and other souvenirs and the owners who had been practically asleep soon came to life when they spotted us! A german couple were walking out at the same time and luckily for us started looking at the wares so we were able to get out quite easily. We could have gone to the cave but I just couldn’t face it so we headed back towards the hotel instead.

Our driver dropped us off slightly away from the usual taxi point – I’m guessing the earlier run in accounted for this and told us not to worry he would speak to Bikram again and he would be waiting for us in the morning at 9 am, so let’s just see what happens tomorrow. We thanked him and walked back up to our hotel to collapse.

So tonight we
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Mountains at sunset
went for our final meal at the Laxman and ate the same things we did on our first night, it also rained again tonight (just when you think the monsoon is over!) and the cow we saw on our first night re-appeared and took shelter with the men under the bus stand type place opposite, just as it did before………and so we came full circle, so it really must be time to be moving on! We shook hands and said goodbye to the lovely lads that work there and that was it, no more of the best Chicken Tikka Masala in the World for Howard, he seemed quite sad!


Additional photos below
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Peace Pagoda PokharaPeace Pagoda Pokhara
Peace Pagoda Pokhara

Looking down at Lakeside
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Peace Pagoda Pokhara

Beautiful countryside
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Peace Pagoda Pokhara

Yep i'm knackered!
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Pokhara

Devi's Falls
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Pokhara

And the cow took shelter too!


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