I woke up today at 05:30 and got packed and ready to leave town by 06:00; I left my small backpack with my laptop and tripod (which I already miss) at the hostel for safe keeping while I venture in to the Himalayas for the next three weeks or so; I then had a small breakfast of corn flakes and coffee with the German man who I had hung out with the night of the 17th since he too is traveling to Pokhara, albeit to do another trek. At 06:45, we left the hostel and walked to the Green Line Tourist bus terminal; we checked in and boarded the bus, which left at 07:30. After we had passed through Kathmandu, the road began to wind through rugged Nepalese terrain with many mountain sides terraced to grow rice and barley. The journey did offer some nice glimpses of snow-capped mountains in the distance, past the green terraced mountains that surrounded our bus. We stopped several times along the route for breaks and at lunch time we stopped at a resort with a tropical garden where we had a buffet of Nepalese food – I had rice, dal, chow mein styled noodles, and a dish with potato chunks and spices covered in a sauce. After lunch, we loaded back on the bus and continued our journey. The views were already fantastic with rustic houses, small vegetable gardens, flowers, rice paddies, and, of course, the mountains; it was a pleasant change from the dusty, chaotic, crowded streets of Kathmandu. Finally, at about 15:00, we reached our destination at Pokhara; to my surprise, the manager of the hotel I booked with was there waiting for me (I never alerted the hotel when or where I would be arriving, he just figured I would take the tourist bus); I said farewell to the German man and then climbed up on to the manager’s motorbike; he then drove me the short distance to the hotel. At the hotel, I checked in, arranged my bus tomorrow to Besisahar, and then walked out toward Phewa Lake.
I walked westward to the lake, passing by many colorful shops; already I liked the quieter atmosphere found in this smaller city. I then made it to Phewa Lake and walked north along its shore on a pedestrian path; in the lake were many boats rowing around with a lot traveling to and from Tal Barahi temple located on an island within the lake (the majority of the boats in the river were docked up and down the shore awaiting passengers); inland were quite a few outdoor dining and drinking establishments populated mostly by tourists. After walking by the lake and getting a nice view of a tall snow capped mountain peering over the surrounding hills, I headed back to the hotel, stopping along the way to withdraw some more cash for the trek (I am coming very prepared with 120,000 rupees – roughly $1,200 USD – see how convenient it is to convert Nepali rupees to USD) and to have one last western meal before going out trekking for three weeks or so; for dinner I had a beer, popcorn, and a large Margherita pizza with pineapples. I then bought some water for the first day of the trek at a local supermarket before returning to the hotel (for the trek I bought a Steripen, which uses ultraviolet light to kill all bacteria; hopefully that works, but, if not, I have iodine tablets and chlorine drops as backups – I am coming very prepared . . . and my back will feel it). At the hotel, I researched the first few days of the trek and I’m not so certain I will be able to do this in my originally planned timetable of eighteen days since there are so many side treks and places to visit along the route (I’ll just need to remember not to stick to rigid schedule and to definitely take my time to enjoy the small villages and culture and amazing scenery). I then typed out today’s journal entry on my iPhone (it sucks not having a laptop) and talked with an English man who had just come from India, before going to sleep.