Monday, May 7, 2007

Pokhara

After spending nearly a month in the magnificent Annapurna Range, it was finally time for me to come in contact with civilization again...

I wasn't too sure about the idea of returning to traffic, hawkers, and pollution again, but my overpowering desire to have a big steak, hopefully ice cream, and beer helped me to overcome Pokhara's shortcomings from the serenity of the Annapurnas.

Luckily, the gang and I were all going to be in Pokhara simultaneously so that we could have one last (civilized) celebration!

I stayed in Pokhara for nearly a week, gaining back all of the calories I had lost during my stay in the Himalayas. Steak at least once a day, ice cream two times a day, and beer will do that to you... I am sure I gained 10 lbs during that week-- then again, I needed it! Since coming to Nepal, I had lost more than 40 lbs!

Pokhara was a truly wonderful experience and is a place, where I was able to relax with friends, enjoy the nightlife again, and meet new local friends... all while being constantly a stone's throw from Phewa Tal. A much needed and very relaxing experience.

I have included the photos from my relaxation period in Pokhara below. I hope to include a more detailed description of my experience in the near future.

Most of the gang back together again after the Sanctuary Trek. (photo provided by Yael Pesotchinski)

(L-R): Yuval, Me, Nick, Yael, Tomer

Having a good 'ole time. (Yael Pesotchinski)

The sun begins to set. (Yael Pesotchinski)

Sunset in Pokhara on my first night back with the group.

The next morning, Tomer, Yuval, Yael, and I rented a boat for the day at 6am (because it was nearly half price before 6am).

This photo is from the island in the middle of the lake that houses a Hindi temple.

Yuval.

We decided to go to the World Peace Pagoda above Phewa Tal (the name of the lake) early in the morning so that we could get a good glimpse of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Ranges before the monsoon clouds set in (typically around 10am).

Machapuchare ("The Fish Tail") dominates the landscape from Pokhara.

Looking back toward the city.

The gang at the World Peace Pagoda.

(L-R): Tomer, Me, Yael, Yuval


The World Peace Pagoda.

The Pumpernickel Bakery, one of our favorite hangouts in Pokhara.

Race day and our crews. Well, one crew... I don't know what you'd call the other...

Knowing that we had planned to hire a boat for the entire day, Nick thought to get in on he action as well, but, naturally, at a more reasonable "British" hour.

So we decided to make a wager... He would find the most powerful crew he could muster and meet us in the middle of the lake at 11am, where we would start the first annual International Paddle Race of Pokhara (IPRP). The prize? A 650 ml cold beer for each member of the winning boat.

Naturally, the race started late... Nick was still assembling his team at 11am on the shore-side, trying to recover from the night before, so we decided to stop for a bite to eat at the Pumpernickel Bakery.

The race started... eventually, after chasing down Nick and his crew, who were resting on the shore-side less than an hour later, and then pirating their ship.

We won handily... by nearly ten boat lengths. Hardly a race.

(I'm still waiting for my beer.)


The winning crew. (Yael Pesotchinski)

Yuval and I swimming in Phewa Tal.

After the race, the boys and I decided that dip was in order. So we dropped Yael on the shore with our things (we were afraid that we might tip our boat and our valuables in the lake) a jumped into the refreshing water-- quite possibly highlight of our trip to Pokhara!


The captain of the boat.

Nick and the boys on our boat at sunset.

After docking our beauty on the shore and grabbing a bite to eat, I decided to take a nap and get out of the sun for a while. Nick and I arranged to meet the boys later on the shore-side. I was a little late, so they had to pick me up... In any case, we enjoyed another fine swim and sunset on the lake. A wonderful end to our day... and the beginning of a fantastic night too!


Bringing us back to shore.

Sunset from our boat.

The Sanctuary entire posse (minus Tomer and Yuval) at dinner on nearly (Yael and I stayed) everyone's last night in Pokhara. (Yael Pesotchinski)

(L-R): Me, Nick, Zelda, Raj, Alexis, Yael, Mateo, J.P., and Natalie


Nick and I, with our friends (not in the photo) at the Busy Bee, the favorite tourist hangout, the night of our amazing boat experience.

(Nick and I would spend the next few nights at the 'Bee watching the Champions League Semi-Finals on the big screen outside on the patio. The games started after midnight and lasted to the wee hours of the morning. The capper? His Liverpool team making it to the Finals against AC Milan on his last night in Pokhara.)

The Busy Bee by daylight.

(The TV is in the far left corner and the patio would be completely packed most nights, but especially on the nights of the soccer "footy" matches.)


Tomer, Yuval, Yael, and I decided to visit a nearby Tibetan Refugee camp. Here is the temple of the village-- behind it, you can see where the monks have their boarding (they learn on the premises.)

A prayer wheel located near the temple. (Yael Pesotchinski)

Carved and painted mantras on a boulder next to the temple.

A look inside a Tibetan class room.

(They are learning math in this class room.)


We also visited another nearby temple and school for monks. Here a monk is preparing candles for the full moon holiday on the Buddha's Birthday. (Yael Pesotchinski)

Yuval and I on top of the bus headed toward our second lake in the Pokhara area, Baharai Tal.

Baharai Tal and a resting Yael.

A view of Pokhara from the other side of Phewa Tal.

I decided to take a walk on one of my last days in Pokhara toward the older part of the city. I wound up walking to Sarangkot, where I would enjoy the peacefulness of small town life and the serenity of nature.


On my walk, I met the friend of a man who was fishing along the shore. A conversation ensued-- the result of which ended up with me meeting the fisherman. A few minutes passed, and I told the men that I needed to go before the sun began to set. I had planned on taking a dip before I headed back, though, and told the men such.

Moments later, the fisherman, who I had just met, offered me his boat so that I could swim in the middle of the lake. I was floored! Yet another example of the kindness and friendliness of the people of Nepal.

Here is a view from the boat.

My fisherman friend.

Me and the fisherman's friend (my interpreter).

The fisherman and his 4.5 kg fish.

(He earned over 2000 rps for his catch-- a LOT of money by Nepali standards.)


The same day I met my fisherman friend I also met a pastor/founder of a local Christian church, whereby I was invited to attend their Sunday service.

Here is a photo of their service, which is located in the same complex as Pokhara Joe's Cafe in Lakeside Pokhara.

Singing a hymn.

The sermon lesson, given by a patron.

Me and my pastor/founder friend after the service.

The view of Macchapuchre "The Fish Tail" from my guest house.

During my stay in Pokhara I often visited a local eatery for good (and cheap) noodles, a staple of the Nepali diet (after Dal Baat, of course!).

Here is the friendly family who runs the restaurant.


A view of the small locale.

Pokhara is famous for its liter fruit milk shakes. This is the best place in town...

...Especially for Israelis. This sign says, in Hebrew, that the shakes cost 75 rupees.

The menu says 125 rupees (for everyone else).

Yael and I on our last day together in Pokhara. (Yael Pesotchinski)

1 comment:

Crissy said...

Do you know the hebrew translation for "Life's a Journey, Not a Destination"?