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Sightseeing in Pokhara, but not really

NEPAL | Saturday, 20 February 2010 | Views [508]

Bhai met us at the hotel around 8:45am for our day of sightseeing. Saroj had also materialized that morning and he asked if he could crash our sightseeing expedition. I said that he could not realizing that Bhai had our entire day planned including breakfast at his mother-in-laws. Both Saroj and I wanted to go see Devis Falls and Bhai didn’t want to be rude and insist on his own plans even though Bohini’s family was waiting on us. We made it to Devis Falls, which is rather unimpressive in the dry season, and Saroj decided that he wanted to continue his sightseeing with an cute Italian INFO Nepal volunteer who had gotten away to Pokhara for the weekend. I was a bit irritated, but it worked out for the best. So we caught a local bus and headed off to his in-laws,

The bus ride was very interesting. We had just left the city limits when two women climbed aboard looking dirty and haggard. They had a meek disposition and I could tell that they did not want to draw attention to themselves, but the younger of the two women had a small child with her, and he looked as though he had slept in a barn. They sat down quietly and the younger woman offered her breast to the child to keep him quiet. As he nursed she gently, but urgently began to pick grass and debris out of the child’s hair. She was just a little brown skinny thing and I was surprised that she could produce milk at all. The bus stopped and my attention was diverted from the two women when I heard what”” sounded like a baseball hitting the side of the vehicle. I was in the back of the bus and when I heard the sound a second time, I turned around to see a goat being handed up to a fellow on top of the bus. They were pulling them up by their horns, which looked very painful, but the goat didn’t seem to mind. The noise I heard must have been the sound of his hoof hitting the bus. There were goats on top of the bus. There were goats in the trunk (one of their horns poked me in the butt). And finally, there was one goat in the bus. I turned to Kathryn and said, “there’s a goat on the bus.” This obvious bit of reporting made her chuckle. The woman with the child seemed happy that the other passenger’s attention was on something besides her and her child. The goat moved back towards us because he could smell the other goats in the trunk. I didn’t mind sharing my space until he made noises like he was going to be carsick. Then he had to go. Bhai was kind enough to push him away. Not long after that we were at his in-law and the bus with the two mysterious women and the goats traveled on down the road.

Even though I was a growing a bit weary of Nepali food at every meal, I thoroughly enjoyed the spread that Bohini made in our honor. I suppose though, if you only prepare one kind of food, that gives you a lot of chances to improve. I was curious if any of them had tried any other kinds of foods, but I though that I would save that question for another day. Again we were made to eat first and we did our best to make conversation with her parents, but they had no English and we had only a few words in Nepali.

After lunch our first sightseeing stop was Begnas Lake. Not Phewa Lake that is adjacent to Phewa, but Begnas Lake. First we had to walk there. It was at least 5km, but it was level and I had just had a big lunch so I was not complaining. This seems to be the lake where all of the Nepali people go. There was a picnic going on with people dancing to Nepali music. I got a kick out of seeing some of the younger people put modern dance moves to the folk music. There were young couples out for an afternoon stroll. There were young Nepali women decked out in their casual best wearing ankle socks and wedgie heels. I felt a little out of place. After all that walking we didn’t end up staying long, even though I was content to rest and people watch. The afternoon was slipping away from us and there was still more to see.

We managed to catch a local bus to the Hindu temple in Pokhara, but this ride was a lot less eventful. As soon as we got there, a self-appointed tour guide began with our small group of Bhai, Bohini, her little sister, Kathryn and myself. Bhai didn’t say anything when the man started to lead us around the temple. He was too polite, but I was going to nip it in the bud. I stopped him and said, “thank you, but we don’t need a tour guide.” He insisted. I said that I wasn’t going to pay for any tour guide services today. “Please Ma’am, just a couple hundred rupees.” I told him no. The Nepali members were a bit surprised but more relieved by my boldness. They didn’t want to have to tell him to get lost. We got a good look at the temple, and then Kathryn said that she had had enough sightseeing for one day and she was ready to call it quits. I was ready too. The days weather had gone from slightly cloudy to overcast and I have seen enough caves in my day to pass on the one in Pokhara, which was the next place on the list. We went back down to the bus stop; Kathryn and I got into a cab, and the others got on the bus out to Bohini’s house.

Tags: homestay, volunteering

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