I was flagging from the jetlag so decided to have a quiet meal at the Yak restaurant of veggie mo mo with a Nepali thali. After this I took a walk around to see the bright lights of Kathmandu’s bustlin nightlife then headed back for an early night in my rooftop room at the Thamel Hotel.
It really was a rooftop room as well. On the 7th floor roof there had been built one block on it’s own with views out over the mountains. They don’t actually suggest this room to people though because the when the electric goes off twice a day for 2 hours at a time they turn the generator on – which is next to the block. I didn’t mind because I was out for the evening stint and up before the 5am stint in the morning. Having said that I was in the shower when the electric went off in the morning, so I had to feel my way around in the pitch black to get my towel and get dressed, by which time the generator had come on and emergency lighting resumed.
I decided to take a local bus to Pokhara partly because that’s where the flea ridden, barking local life is and partly because of laziness. I knew where the bus station was and knew how to get there and have always been willing to put up with a roller coaster ride.
So it was off to the long distance bus station at 6am after getting up early am to do a bit of work using the hotel internet connection (not a bad connection, although slow enough to bring back memories of dial-up in the UK with it taking a minute to send a 1mb file by email). I trotted up the road and waited with the locals for a taxi bus that cost 10 rupees (less than 10p) for the couple of miles to the bus station.
When I got there I was mobbed by touts trying to get me onto different buses, which at that time of the morning got me snarling a little bit. I kept my temper though and made it onto a ropey nissan that seated about 20 people with a squeeze. I was lucky in the fact that there was no phsyical way that they were going to fit another human on the seat by me so I had room to put my bag that served as a great pillow for the journey. The rest of the bus filled up with chilly early morning people and we set off through the crazy Kathmandu traffic.
I quickly made friends with a chatty man that was off to the mountains to liase with clients of the bank he works for. If you got bankers in the UK to put the same effort into keeping clients happy (he had to trek to get where he was going) then they’d not be getting up to as much mischief. He kept me informed of the route and why hold-ups were happening and corrected my bad and very minimal Hindi.
The journey went better than I thought except perhaps for the last hour or so which seemed to last forever. By that time I was tiring of the awful suspension and the constant beeping as we careered into the path of oncoming traffic. The thing that amwazed me was the near misses, I have seen bad driving before but there were a few times when if it wasn’t for an emergency stop we would have had a few Tata trucks stuck in the windscreen. But all good, we arrived just after 2pm having taken just over 6 hours to make the journey.
The bus fare to Pokhara on the local bus was 330 rupees, this is less than 3 pounds. I really can’t figure out how they manage to afford to buy the bus at those prices, although they do seem to squeeze every bit of juice out of that lemon.
Right now I am in Pokhara. I turned down the touts and walked to the edge of town anti clockwise around the lake. Here I found a place that seems to serve local tourists with cheap food like mo mo and pakora, it also has a few rooms overlooking the lake. No internet, but I can live with that as long as I’m organised and get my work done ready to upload at one of the many eating places with wifi in town. I am tying this off-line in my room using a wordpress plugin for firefox called scribefire, it allows me to write a draft offline, save it to my computer and upload when I get to a connection, it doesn’t deal with images so I just save them to my desktop for later. Sorted.
It’s 7.13pm, I’ll head into town and upload this blog, fire off a few emails and find out how Spurs are doing against Aston Villa. Then it’s time for rest, I have got my briefing for my paragliding course tomorrow night and want to be rested for that, the course starts Monday.