So we reached Pokhara on June first. A very short flight, and we missed the mountain view seats! I did get the window seat, but it was the windows facing the wrong direction from the mountains. Nothing to see but clouds and hills. Not so nice. While flying into Kathmandu, I did get a good view of the mountains, but at that time, my camera batteries had run out. I couldn’t take any photos. And what’s the point of seeing something so beautiful if you can’t preserve it on a photo? My mind is not that photographic anymore.
But then, I didn’t really complain a lot about getting the wrong window seat. After all, I was going to Pokhara, where they say you get these incredible views of the snow-capped Himalayan mountains! And there is a lake I’m told which you can see the reflection of the mountains on this lake. So I was excited!
But Pokhara turned out to be hot, and I didn’t want to leave the room immediately. So we spent the morning idling in our hotel room, the fan rotating overhead. We had lunch on the balcony, which had a view of the stupa—some kind of a Buddhist structure.
Then we started to explore the town, when the temperatures were much cooler. But the moment we stepped out of the hotel, it started to rain. A heavy downpour. A bad omen, actually, for this is about the time the monsoon starts, and I was told that when it starts raining here, it can go on and on for days without end.
At least as we took shelter from the rain, I found a shop that sold skirts. Remember I had searched for these all over Kathmandu and failed to find any. But Pokhara has a sizeable number of Western people living here, and so finding western kind of clothing is much easier than in Kathmandu City. I picked myself a couple of great-looking skirts that will knock their teeth off in Bor! Here I come, Mr. Director General!
When the rain ceased, we went off exploring the town. I got a map, and this helped us find our way without a guide. Like in other parts of Nepal, men offering to guide us kept pestering us. Saying, “good price” and “almost no price” and “very cheap guide.”
Well, the town was rather empty, and actually it’s only one man who pestered me with this guide thing. We came during the off season time, when there are no tourists, and so the town looked like one of those small towns you see in modern western films, a sleepy town, seeming very quiet, as if some virus had killed off everyone.
It was nice, though. So we didn’t have to bump into a tourist every step we took. However, when we went to the lake, the famous Lake Fewa, we thought we would have the beaches all to ourselves. But we were mistaken. There were hundreds of Nepali folk about. Many of them were couples in love. They say that Nepal is a traditional society, but if you come here, you find couples holding each other in very intimate positions, without caring of upsetting anyone.
We did find a nice spot to sit, where there wouldn’t be anyone within listening distance to us. But no sooner had we sat than a Tibetan woman came to us. She was so polite. We didn’t know she is Tibetan then, and she said “hello” and started a conversation with us. She wanted to know whether we were from America, and though we kept saying no, she sort of tried to insist that we are Americans. Maybe because my friend was African and they often get mistaken for Americans.
Anyway, as we were wondering what this was all about, she started telling us about Tibetan crafts, and if we would like to buy some. Then it hit us. She really wasn’t just being nice and trying to get a conversation going with us. She was a saleswoman, and a very nagging one. The worst of the kind. Invades privacy in a way that pisses you off. At least if she had come brandishing her goods at us, we would have known right away. But just as we were getting talky about Tibet, and how they are surviving in Nepal, we discover it was all a sales gimmick. That kind of hurts.
That first evening by the lakeside passed with the Tibetan ladies pestering us to buy their products, one after another they came, in regular intervals, and so we didn’t have a lot of time to ourselves, to enjoy the peace and beauty of the lake. It was kind of annoying.
To worsen matters, we failed to see the sunset, or the view of the mountains. It was too cloudy. We did console ourselves with rays of the sun bursting out from behind the clouds and streaming onto the lake like a scene from a religious doomsday film, but that was really it. A disappointing first evening at the lakeside.
Disappointing because we didn’t get to see the lakeside sunset, or mountains, but there were nice views of people in the boats. And just listening to the water lap against the shores had a calming effect on my heart.
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