Namaste! This week’s blog post had to be rewritten too, since it was one of two weeks’ content that was lost due to the thorough hacking on our friend’s hosting site. My tangential thoughts and related reflections have waned, just as details of a dream so often quickly fade upon awakening… and I am feeling a sense of loss. Fortunately, our photos are a tremendous help in remembering where we were, some of the people who we met, and what we did.
Namaste means, Hello! in Nepali, as well as “I bow to the Divine in you.” This week, we left Kathmandu by Tourist bus headed 7 hours west to Pokhara, to be closer to the Annapurna Range for our upcoming trek. On the way, both the bus ride and the scenery were incredible. With just 3 stops – two for 10 minute toilet breaks and one 20 minute lunch, we wound our way around a multitude of massive, steep, green covered mountains. We then came to see enormous snowcapped peaks that tower over the green giants. These peaks are not to be confused with clouds! And, many of the cabs of the trucks we passed were brightly decorated, each as if in prayer. I later learned this glitz was “just for show,” but the Hindu and Buddhist themes in some of the decorations were unmistakable. We also passed several long pedestrian suspension bridges along the way.
We stayed a week at a Homestay AirBnB, which was quite special. Our view from the open air common area overlooked Lake Phewa, also spelled Fewa, and seeing it and all the activities in and around it each day was refreshing. We we soaked up more of the rural/village feel of our AirBnb explored some of Pokhara which was within walking distance to the Lakeside tourist area and further downtown. We also rented bicycles one day, and found some time to continue planning our travels for after we leave Nepal.
We were here during rice harvesting and over our time the fields were converted to rice stacks, day by day. Women did the cutting and laying out to dry, men did the hauling and stacking.
One day we hired a boat across the lake to hike up to the Peace Pagoda where we were additionally greeted with stunning wild poinsettias and great views of the expansive city of Pokhara, and of the “Fishtail” peak. We hiked the long way back, down the far side of the mountain and around to return to our AirBnB. On the way, we crossed Devi Falls (yes, Devi, not a typo) on a relatively short suspension bridge, but I still felt too unsteady to even think about trying to take a photo of it.
Another day we hiked the steep steps and trail up to spend the night at Sarangkot. Who knew that in such proximity to the Himalaya we would encounter monkeys, swinging jungle branch to jungle branch overhead picking fruits to eat?
We watched the sun set, had a magnificent sunrise view of what has become our favorite peak, Fishtail. Its name in Nepali is Macchapuchre – said Maht-sah-poots-tray, and it stands out among the peaks of the Annapurna Range. Loren decided to save his knees for our upcoming trek, so we took a taxi instead of facing the many steep steps back down.