Sunday, August 17, 2008

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I'm in Pokhara. I found Sabine (it is a rather small town, despite being Nepal's second largest, so this wasn't a challenge) and we've been hanging out for the last two days. Upon arrival I was immediately accosted by taxi drivers. I stupidly believed them that the lakeside hotels were three kilometers away and got inside. I could easily have walked -- they definitely exaggerate the distance. So I won't be hiring one for my return to the bus stand when I leave on Tuesday. My driver didn't have change, so I went to the little shop across the street from the hotel I wanted to stay in and asked if they had change. They had the larger, small bills I needed, but not the small bills. So I gave him what I had, 120 instead of the agreed upon 130. He tried to argue, but I explained that I wasn't going to pay him more just because he refused to break a bill. This is his business if he is going to accost tourists when they arrive and then contrive great distances to get them in his cab, then he better make sure he has the change they will inevitably need. He left.

Pokhara is a lovely town on a beautiful lake. People basically come here to start their trek, but as the weather is really bad right now, most people here are just hanging out. Sabine ended her trek early (which is why we can hang out -- I had originally thought I'd just be here by myself) because it rained every day and she got sick. So see, it isn't so bad that I haven't been trekking yet.

Instead, we've been renting a boat to row to the other, cleaner, side of the lake to go swimming. It has been rather nice. We dock at a resort that is closed for monsoon season, so we have the place to ourselves. Well we did, but I guess now they are starting to clean the place to open, so there were people coming and going today. And then there are all the boats of men who row over to stare. But we are totally covered, so their efforts are really in vain.

The water is really nice. It is clear enough to see your feet and the sun warms it up to a pleasant temperature. The rain is mostly in the mountains and Pokhara sits in this little valley where it generally only rains at night.

Lakeside, where all the guesthouses are, is basically for tourists. This is where you find all the hippy clothes and internet cafes. Today, in the morning, we went into the proper town. There you find the Korean blankets, spices and herbs for any ailment, proper Nepalese hats for men, material shops for sarees and salwar kumeezes, etc. We wandered around with Sabine's trekking guide and then returned to Lakeside. We took the public bus both ways -- they fill the bus pretty full and then men sit on the top of the bus, but it is still not as crowded as in Sri Lanka. You pay the same fare whether you are seated, standing or on the roof.

Tomorrow we plan to rent bikes and ride out of town to see a bit of country side. Then we are heading back to Kathmandu.

The last few days have been very relaxing.

1 comment:

Meghan said...

wahoo bikes! have an awesome time. i can't wait to see pictures of this place, your description sounds amazing.