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The Fort William of Nepal

Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara was a bit disappointing. It was the view I had come for and although the mountains may have been there in the distance, there was too much cloud to see anything but the boring small nearby hills. The town itself reminded me of Fort William. There is no real feel to the place at all because, I think, it only exists because of tourism. It seems to be purely a staging post on the way to the Anapurna Circuit. It is far more expensive than Kathmandu and the shopping there is nowhere near as interesting or varied; fine if you are looking for walking gear or a new tent but that's about it. Even the momos only came in eights instead of the usual ten!

When we arrived at the hotel is was chucking it down. The hotel owner offered us an umbrella and explained that it was monsoon. We had been very lucky: while Pokhara and the Anapurna Circuit were getting soaked, Kathmandu had also received some rain we heard, but our trail up the Langtang Valley has seen only a couple of drops and most of the time it had been fine weather. We sent Al and email to tell him where we were and he arrived at our room later that day. We went our later and he introduced us to Dominik, a German guy, and Roxy from Australia whom he had both met when he arrived.

Al was still keen to go on a trek, but was put off by the Rs2000 park fees you have to pay. We had no plans except for writing postcards and reading. The rain in particular put me off walking again and Joanne's feet were definitely still not up to it. Besides, we couldn't really afford the time; we did want to spend some time back in India although we weren't really rushing back.

We just spent a couple of day hanging around. The lake was quite nice, but the weather restricted the views a bit. In the end it just looked like Scotland again, this time maybe Loch Lomond. I would never have guessed that Nepal could remind me of Scotland in so many different ways. I tried to extend my knowledge of Asian whisky while I was there and after discovering a new worst whisky (Wainscot: -1/10), we tried Spey Livet. What a find! At only Rs180 for a peg it was still at the cheap end of the market but it actually tasted nice, and like whisky. A closer inspection of the bottle revealed that it was actually pure malt Scotch whisky. No wonder it tasted like real whisky.

After a couple of days we got bored and booked a bus back to the border. We had already booked the train from Gorakhpur to Delhi online, deciding to treat ourselves to 2A, which is second class A/C or “two tier” A/C. Al asked us to book his Sleeper class back to Delhi as he didn't have a credit card, and reimbursed us in Indian Rupees. The class system on Indian trains is about as complicated as the caste system. So far we had only experienced Sleeper Class, but there are far more to choose from. In ascending price, the lowest is Second Class, which is a bit strange considering that it's the lowest of seven! Next up is Sleeper Class, then Chair Class (A/C), First Class, 3A, 2A, and 1A. That evening we discovered that Dominik was getting a bus at the same time as us but, curiously, his bus was to have a different registration from ours. We said goodbye to Al, who had found out about a short walk that avoided the national park and the fees this attracts. He was planning to start it the next day with Roxy, who wanted to extend her stay in Nepal as long as she could so that she did not have to spend much time in India.

permalink written by  The Happy Couple on June 14, 2009 from Pokhara, Nepal
from the travel blog: Michael's Round-the-World honeymoon
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