Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 18: Hangin’ in Pokhara

Starting the day with a breakfast burrito from Mike’s restaurant (a Pokhara institution) we enjoyed delicious freshly squeezed OJ while watching the locals board row boats for work on the other side of the lake. Picturesque wouldn’t begin to describe the scene.

Sunrise over colourful boats on Lake Pokhara
Then it was off to do mundane things like picking up laundry, catching up on e-mails and a few last minute bargains (sunglasses and a jacket) from an authentic Nepalese fake goods merchant.

Once sorted we decided to head off on a cruisy recovery ride to explore the Pokhara that is so popular with tourists. Clearly we were suckers for punishment, as the ride quickly distorted into a granny gear sweat- fest timed to coincide with the worst mid-day heat.

Climbing the road to the World Peace Pagoda proved more strenuous than initially anticipated, but once finally at the sacred Buddhist site the breathtaking and strangely peaceful views helped quell spiking heart rates.
World Peace Pagoda above Pokhara
The Annapurna range which we had been so close to only days prior was peeking through the clouds and made a dazzling backdrop. Yet again we were reminded of the sheer scale of these mountains.
Gigantic mountains peeking through the clouds
Leaving for some well earned downhill the trail took us down a step laden descent to a dead end. It seems that even on our day off we were destined to carry our bikes, and 15 minutes of toil brought us back up the hill to where we had started the descent.

View down to Lake Pokhara from the peace Pagoda
To save more hard work in the oppressive heat we descended the scary fast access road which was nuggety enough to fulfil the need for sketchy speed.

Rolling back into town, a bakery lunch and nap prepared us for a night on the town, Pokhara style. We were joined by some Swiss-Australian friends we’d serendipitously met in Pokhara after initially meeting on the trail at Thorong Phedi.

Beginning with a return to the steakhouse for half a cow worth of steak, we then attempted to hire a boat but were refused, the proprietor of the rental service citing fading light. Undeterred we danced up a storm to a local DJ’s beats, cutting shapes to a terrific light show complete with lazers and smoke machines. A fitting end to our time in Pokhara.

Up early tomorrow for 6 hour bus to Kathmandu.

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