So today (well yesterday actually) was the day I blew my budget. It was worth it and bound to happen sooner or later. I am still within my original crazy budget for the trip but I have a feeling I will not be staying under my revised one.
This morning I almost missed my bus. The alarm sounded but I somehow ignored it and when I opened one eye I only had 15 minutes to pack, check out and get to the bus to pokhara! Suffice it to say it was a bit stressful. On top of that there was nobody at reception so I just left the money for my room and the key on the desk and ran off. When I got to the bus I realised that there was no need to rush. As I have mentioned previously, Nepali people have a different concept of time than we do. Everybody was still milling around buying food for the bus trip.
I left my backpack in the hold, got myself some crisps and clambered into my seat. The bus was pretty nice, with seats big enough for me and huge windows. If you ever take the Bus fro Kathmandu to Pokhara, make sure you get seated on the right hand side and that you get a windowseat. You will not regret it!
The bus trip was long but enjoyable. We made 3 stops along the way and at one of them I met a Spanish couple (Gus and Ana). They are travelling through Nepal for 40 days and are 5 days into their trip. We got on really well together so I made like a leech and attached myself to them. 🙂
As I said the trip is rather long (7 hours for 200kms) but the views are so spectacular that it will fly by. The beginning of the trip is the hardest as there are long queues to leave the Kathmandu Valley but once that is past, time will really fly by.
We go to Pokhara at around 3 pm and piled into a taxi headed to the north of the area called Lakeside. Pokhara is very clearly a tourist town. The lakeside area is full of shops and tourists milling around. There are also plenty of hotels and restaurants. It reminds me a bit of some Spanish tourist resorts in the 80s. We did not want to be stuck in the middle of all the mess so we went north looking for a smaller place to stay.
By this time it was 4pm; the sun was beating down fiercely and we were still carrying our backpacks. In spite of all that we visited several guesthouses and ended up at a great place called the Lemon Tree Guesthouse. I am paying 350 rupees (around 2.50 euros) for a single room with a bathroom. Everything is clean, the bed is comfy and I have a great view.
After a quick shower we headed into town to grab a beer and a bite to eat. I also needed an ATM. There was a lot of noise in town as it was World Tourist Day. We headed towards the noise and saw a rather measly display of two guys dressed in purple walking on stilts and one guy in a mouse costume. There was also lots and lots of military. They seemed to be worried that the 40 people there were going to rise up in arms! It all felt very strange so we decided to head up into one to the bars with a view to the lake and have a beer.
One beer led to two, which led to three, which led to us wandering drunkenly down the streets of Lakeside looking for a place that was open past 11pm. We stumbled into a place called the Busy Bee and were just in time for last call. I ordered a Long Island Ice Tea which was disgusting but felt obliged to finish it. The rest of the night is a bit blurry. 🙂
We made it back to the hostel and for once I failed to see the sunrise. I am typing this from the guesthouse eating area while cradling a hot coffee and waiting for some food to help me overcome my “slight” hangover!