Pokhing around Pokhara (CONTAINS VIDEO)

Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
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Trip End Mar 21, 2008


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Flag of Nepal  ,
Tuesday, April 10, 2007






Pokhara is known as Nepal's second city.  Whether this designation is related to politics, population or tourism I'm not sure but I would guess the latter.  The familiar swarm of frenzied touts that attacks us as soon as we get off the bus is an unsubtle reminder that, after two months of non-touristy living, we are back on the road. 
 
The touristy part of town, known as Lakeside, curls around Fewa Lake and is a long strip of cozy restaurants, travel agents and shops selling knock-off trekking gear.  They all cater to the two types of visitor to Pokhara: the trekkers (as in hikers, not as in Star Trek fans) and the scenery-watchers.  Having already done our dash with trekking, and with Jane having her leg recently swiped by a motorbike, and not being particularly keen on Star Trek, we opt for the scenery.  Pokhara is the quintessential Nepali postcard vista - jagged snow-capped Annapurna peaks climbing high above a crystal clear lake.  Unfortunately, the closest we get to this postcard view is in the many souvenir shops.  Nepal's hot weather and lack of rain has created an unchanging smoky haze that completely blocks out the mountains and makes the lake look grey and cold.  It is just our bad luck and we don't mind too much, as we had a good squiz at the Himalayas a while back.
 
One thing that Pokhara does have is a lot of shady-looking guys trying to sell pot to the stream of hippies that roll through here, and in fact to anyone white.  Each has their own unique way of approaching a potential buyer, as I discover while standing on a corner waiting for Jane to buy something. 
 
"Hey", says a little guy who had silently materialised next to me.  "Where you from?"
 
"Uh, hi.  I'm from Canada."
 
"Ah. Canada.  Capital is Ottawa."
 
I'm not sure if he thinks he is informing me of this or trying to impress me.  Unenthusiastically I nod and say, "Yes, I know."
 
"I know the capital of every country", he continues in a low, drug-seller's voice. 
 
"Oh yeah.  Good for you.  What's the capital of Uganda then?"
 
"Um, that's um, good question.  That's definitely, uh, Uganda City."
 
Now, I wouldn't know the capital of Uganda if I fell into it, but it sure as hell isn't Uganda City.  Continuing with the African theme, I ask him what is the capital city of Tanzania.
 
"Tanzania.  Capital city is Sofia."
 
"Sofia?  No, mate, that's Bulgaria.  Europe.  You're miles off."
 
"Hmm", says the guy, realising his stock is dropping.  "Wanna buy some pot?"
 
 
Our three days here in Pokhara are mainly to delay going back to India, the thought of which scares us a little bit.  Biting the bullet, we buy tickets to Delhi on the non-tourist local bus.  For some reason (probably because we are tight-arses) we always seem to end up on the grotty local buses but I guess they make for the best memories.
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