Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
44Trip End Feb 24, 2011
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Up early, (again!), for an elephant ride into the jungle hoping to spot rhino's, which unfortunately we didn't, although some of the other members of the group did. We saw various birds, wild boar, wild chickens and got up close to deer, but it was good fun before it got too hot. It has been about 40C outside during the day. That will all change when we get into China in a few weeks time, where we are expecting of up to minus 30C! (the part of the trip I am most dreading, as I don't do cold well!!).
We lazed down by the river and saw the elephants being washed. Up to a couple of weeks ago we could have helped, but someone was killed when an elephant rolled on top of them, so now it has been stopped
We had a short 6 hour truck day to Pokara where we went through beautiful scenery and saw waterfalls, mountains and lots of lush forests. Children were playing with basic things such as sticks or stones and making up games with bottle caps. I love the simplicity and imagination and they seem quite happy. There are swings made of bamboo about 30 feet tall, just rustic but look beautiful.
I have noticed how much more smiley the people are here than in India, there is a sparkle in their eyes. Stopped off for a quick lunch where we choose food from a street stall and it was cooked to order. They invite you to sit in the room behind alongside the family.
Pokara is set around a lake with the mountains in the background, but is a tourist magnet as it is a base for trekking, which is why mosy people come to Nepal for and it is high season so rooms are difficult to come by. We couldn't stay in the hotel we thought we were going to, which we were quite excited about as it had a good write up in the Lonely Planet
We start our 2 week layover in a couple of days time, where the truck goes away for mantainence and we all go our separate ways and meet up again in Katmandu. I am staying in Pokara for a week before moving on to Katmandu for the second week.
Just pottered around town looking at cold weather gear, which is reasonably priced but probably fake but as long as it does the job that's OK by me. I will buy in Katmandu as don't want to cart it around just yet.
I am loving Nepal but it has a darker side...Women have a low status and rise early cooking and cleaning before doing more arduous work than the men
Female babies are thought to be a serious financial burden in the family and many thousand are trafficked into sexual slavery in India.
We changed hotels because we were already booked into it and will be here for the next 5 nights. Accommodation is cheap, it's the food and drink that runs away with the money. Tried to get my tent pole fixed, but they can't do it here, will try in Katmandu.
We had a design a trip T shirt, but I didn't like the design, so rebelled and a few of us did our own design and got them embroided with our names on the sleeves. I think they look pretty good!
Up at 4am to take a trip to Sarangkot (5500 feet) for the sunrise
I was one the first heading back down, whilst the others stopped of for coffee, and took a wrong turn, which the 2 of us soon realised and had to make our way back up, which I didn't need.
Our room was smelling foul on our return due to drains, so we had to change rooms yet again.
Went to have breakfast, which included baked beans, yeah! After our early start and exercise we spent the day at a local hotel using their pool and swimming..after all we are now officially on holiday as the truck left today.
Went to a local Italian for dinner and made the most of 'happy hour'. We all went to bed early and slept for hours.
Hired some bikes to ride around the lake and went to visit an orphanage, where they were happy to show us around
There are about 15 of us still in Pokhara and a few more have gone trekking or 3 day rafting. We are all doing various activities, mainly in groups to keep the costs down.
Pokara feels very safe after India and I have no problem going off on my own and walking around.
A first for me as we went white water rafting on The Upper Seti River, which is classed 3-
We made to shore, re-grouped and carried on. I loved it, though I was cold by the end and my fingers were so numb I couldn't feel them, (doesn't bode well for China!). Jen and Kate helped me out of my wet clothes and looked after me. Even after a hot shower it took quite a while to warm up properly.
Fortunately I didn't see the cobra in the river as others did!
Had an argument over my bill in the restaurant last night and was ripped off
I lost a filling and now have a gaping hole so will have to get it looked at in Katmandu next week.
Lazy day...again, as I am feeling lethargic and not sure why. I have had a cough since Delhi and sure it started because of all the pollutants. Have taken my first course of anti-malaria tablets, with no side effects. At £2.50 per tablet, I am only taking them in high risk areas. Should be 'safe' now until Laos as we are are at a higher elevation, although I have been bitten over the last few days here.
We have been advised to buy anit-AMS (acute mountain sickness) tablets and maybe a tank of O2 for when we get into Tibet/China. Reading up on the symptoms, doesn't sound too pleasant, but I am more worried about hypothermia!
One of the nicest things about the trip is travelling with our group. They are all great and we all look out for each other and there is always someone who wants to do the same thing as me. Never short on companions and have your own space when you want. It works well and it's always good when we do stuff together and can share the experience. The age range is 21-70. We tend to share rooms with the same people, but join whoever during the day. It is like a big family and everyone supports each other. We just get on well but I suppose we all like travelling and have the one goal in common of making it to Oz.
Quite a few of the younger ones have working visas for Oz and others are retired and don't have a time scale to get back to UK. Think I am the only one who has to go back, should have put more thought into getting a longer employment break and thought beyond getting to Oz!
Hired bikes again today and went to Devi's Fall, named after a woman who was washing in the river and a big flood came up from Lake Fewa and she drowned. The waterfall was quite spectacular. Then we went on to some caves, which led to the waterfall. It was quite dark and not easy to see our way down. H&S doesn't happen here!
We then cycled through a Tibetan Refugee Camp, built in the 60's made of pre-fab. The Tibetians who live there stay as they can continue with their culture etc. What they would really like to do is go back to Tibet.
Spitting is rife here, as in India. I find it disgusting as they make so much noise getting the spit up and often it is the first thing I hear in the morning! Yuk!
There is no problem getting Western food in Pokara, as they are all geared up for tourists. Daal Bhaat is the favoured food of the locals made up of rice, lentils and curried vegetables. Some Nepalis eat it twice a day, every day of their lives and don't feel they have eaten properly without having it, and some people say I eat boringly!
This is the longest we have been in one place and I feel I have done everything I wanted to do here and itching to get moving again. Going to Katmandu on Sunday and will be there a week before we meet up with the truck again. Plenty of time to get my warm weather gear.
We may have a problem in China with the Internet, as some sites are banned and e-mails etc are censored.
Took a floating pontoon across the lake to a restaurant this afternoon. You can get canoe trips but judging by the number of canoes at the bottom of the lake, it didn't seem like a good idea. Two Britons drowned in the lake last week, giving more reason not to go.