Saturday, 13 September 2008

hanging out by the lake

The sky is blue, the sun is out, it’s warm and I don’t have anything to do! Welcome to the lakeside town of Pokhara. I’ve been here a few days and until yesterday morning I haven’t done much of anything…

The town itself is large but the tourist bit is small. This is nice because it doesn’t take long to get to all the restaurants and bars. The main draws of the place are the mountains and lakes and the fact that it’s the jumping off point for trekking into the Himalayas.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I actually got off my fat arse and went for a walk but it started out by me sitting down. The small boat glided across the calm waters of Phewa Tal heading to the other side of the lake where the trail to the peace pagoda started, which is perched high up on a mountain ridge. After an hour’s walk up moss covered steps I made it to the top, little bit hot, slightly sweaty and with a right hip that was starting to ache (am i falling apart?). The views were 360 fabulous and through gaps in the clouds I saw huge snow covered mountains looming large whilst still being 60 miles away.

Chilling out in the nearby café, a local pissed up alcoholic kept me amused with his rantings. Even though it was in Nepalese I understood every word!

Fully rested I took a different and longer path along the ridge, down the mountain and into a valley. Many steps and a few hours later I was strolling through paddy fields and by now my right hip had the company of my left knee in whinging…honestly I really am falling apart!!!

The main tourist season doesn’t start till October and as such it’s not hard getting a table in any of the numerous restaurants or bars. However, as it is only a few weeks away the local police are reminding all the bar owners that the local bribe season starts at the same time. The bar I was in tonight was told to shut at 10pm by the police, the night before it stayed open past 1am.

Thursday: today I did something new again! I ran down the side of a mountain and soared into the air on a tandem paraglider like an eagle. For the next 90 minutes I rose high into the sky on the billowing thermals as beneath my dangling feet 100s of metres below me was the very solid looking ground. Do you know what…I loved it!

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that the next day I signed on to do a 10 day paragliding course. As the course doesn’t start till mid November ( currently all the training take off and landing sites are being used to grow rice which they don’t harvest till then) I still have plenty of time to do nothing. Of course, once I am a fully trained paraglider pilot I’ll be spending December and January flying. So here’s the plan…I am able to stay in Nepal till I’m at least 39 years of age so it looks like I am over wintering here in Pokhara. This could become a theme in my travels; I mean everyone needs a break from the day job! I have already looked at one flat which I can rent for less than £30 a week. It’s a two bed apartment, so if anyone needs a holiday

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