A resort all to ourselves

Trip Start Feb 06, 2005
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Trip End Jul 2005


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Sunday, May 1, 2005

The bus ride to Pokhara was craaaaaaaap. Even more people were crammed on the bus than on the way to Gorkha, and I swear the seats were smaller. It was lucky for the granny standing next to me that I was wedged in and couldn't move, cause otherwise there would've been violent response to her alternate elbowing and umbrella poking my face. Maybe she was deaf, because my yelling at her didn't even get a glance.
I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. Everyone is deaf after a long bus ride in Nepal, due to the ubiquitous (I love that word, don't you?) 'shim shim paani'- the only pop song Nepal has. This tune is high-pitched, annoying and goes for approximately half an hour after which the tape turns over and- lo and behold- begins again. Over and over, the whole trip. Even the 10 hour trips. They love it, especially at top volume on already-blown speakers.
Luckily, Pokhara is worth it. We were lucky to land on our feet again- a swish pad that would fetch $15 a night anywhere else for $4. This fantastic room became the week-long base camp for our mission to relax after being incarcerated in Thamel.
In Pokhara we discovered a 2km stretch of tourist restaurants, tourist guesthouses and tourist shops almost completely devoid of that essential- tourists. But they don't let that little irrelevancy get in the way of business, and the already relaxed lakeside resort has developed a wonderfully slow and friendly atmosphere. So it was here that we spent our week deliberately not going on the Annapurna trek, and just hanging out: hiring scooters, walking, boating and playing lots of pool.
Our second day in Pokhara we decided to demonstrate our unadventurousness and go and do something mundane- like golf. We forgot that in Nepal nothing is mundane. The Himalaya golf course is an 18 hole course that appears normal enough at first. Despite the heat there is a dress code, a club house with a very civilised lawn and great tea service.
The first clue that something is a little strange about the course is the urging to carry quite a few spare balls and to hire a ball boy. The need for this becomes apparent from the tee of the first hole. No matter how bad your shot is, it is guaranteed to go at least 200m. That's cause it'll go straight down... into the enormous ravine that is hidden from view until you're almost on top of it. The surrounding terrain is completely flat and so, from a distance you cannot see the canyon.
So our 9 holes took 4 hours, and we (that is to say, I) managed to use all our spare balls, even with the eagle-eyed ball boy. The river meandering through the course contributed, but so did my complete and utter lack of skill. The walk back up the cliff (for, as the laws of physics in Nepal say- what goes down, must come up) is guaranteed to make the clubhouse money in sales of cold drinks. It was a good day, but you'd have to be an athlete to play on the course every day (which, incidentally, rules out most golfers doesn't it?).
Pokhara is also home to the world peace pagoda, the walk to which explains why world peace isn't likely to be achieved soon. For starters, world leaders would have to walk up the big hill to get there, and though little Johnny Howard likes his excercise, I think even he would struggle. We decided to work off our week of slothfulness with the short trek up to the pagoda, and definitely felt that we had made up for it when we got up there. The way back was great though... all the way down, with only one brief pause when a very old man in the middle of the forest tried to sell us some weed. Then, a boat ride across the lake just in time to escape the evening rain.
The rest of our time was spent in cafes and bars. What can I say? It's a good life, and it was with great reluctance that headed back to Kathmandu to sort out tickets and get my camera back.
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