So on the road to Pokhara we saw some mighty impressive scenery and lovely mountainsides and villages. We stopped to take some pictures and also stopped on the side of the road for some super noodles at a local's house.
We played 'hit the bicycle wheel with the stick to keep it moving'' with the kids and headed onto our hotel in Pokhara. This was to be myself and Lindsey's last stop with the G gang.
Our hotel was named Middle path hotel - named after the Buddha's teachings. He was born into a very rich family and decided this was not going to help him reach enlightenment so he gave it all up and decided to live as a poor pauper. But he soon found out that living as a starving homeless man was no better for reaching enlightenment so he decided to recommend living somewhere in the middle with less stuff - hence the middle path.
Dushyant took us on a walk around Pokhara. It's a cool town, with streets packed with shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and travel agents all situated near the lovely Fewa Lake.
The lake is also surrounded by low mountains (hills) and on a clear day in the background, you can see the peaks of the Himalayan Annapurna Range which is spectacular. We couldn't see them today though (didn't see them many days!), as it was very dull and we couldn't see much. Our walk was going rather well until the heavens opened on us. But for some reason we kept walking in the rain. WFT?? I couldn't understand why our group kept walking in the lashing rain, while all the locals were sheltering! :D I had rain gear on, but it turns out my rainjacket isn't exactly jungle rain proof! Why we didn't pop into one of the many bars and restaurants along the way is beyond me!! By the time we got to the Moondance restaurant, everything I was wearing was soaked. As I still hadn't recovered from my cold in Delhi, I was very irritated by this stupid decision to keep walking. Myself and KAt decided to go back to our hotel and get changed. We grumbled about this stupid rain walk all the way back to the gaff. Finally when we changed and returned to the Moondance place, we ordered Greek salads and desserts which were desmegginglicious.
After dinner we all went to Busy Bees, a local bar / disco for a few beverages and some rockin tunes.
The next morning we got up at 4 am to go see the sunrise at Sarangkot. I was not particularly bouncing out the door at 4am but I got up. Only half of the group got up. Kat was sick, Maree was sick, Steve and Jennifer didn't get up, neither did Hugh and Sean, and Sandra was sick. The rest of us bussed it up the hill. Well as the sun rose and the clouds cleared and the Himalayan Annapurna range appeared, our tiredness was forgotten and we became immensely excited. The peaks were popping out in all their majestic glory. WAHEY!
We got the near the top of Sarangkot, stopped shy of all the tourists and watched in awe and wonderment as the sun rose and the glorious snowy peaks appeared. I have never seen anything more awesome in my life!! It was spectacular and I was very moved. I felt very lucky to have been able to see such amazing natural works of art! It was fantastic and I nearly cried my head off.
We stood watching as every second of the sunrise revealed more of the snowy mountain tops and basked the sky in pinks, yellows and purples. Treeeeemendous!
Afterwards Mum (Dushyant) bought us some cinnamon buns and chai and we scoffed them on the hill top before heading for breakfast.
Then we collected some of the others who didn't believe us about the gloriousity of the mountains, until they looked out the window and saw that the peaks were clearly visible peeping up behind the hills round the lake. Then it was off PARAGLIDING!!!! :D Pokhara apparently has the best paragliding in the world! And after the sights we had seen at sunrise, I'd well believe it. We had booked to jump with Fly Nepal. We bailed into the back of a truck and jostled back up the hill past Sarangkot and on to the jump off point.
(I wasn't really too sure what paragliding was when I signed up - I thought it was hanggliding - the one where you hold onto a bar and fly off the mountain. Turns out paragliding is when you strap yourself to a man, who in turn is strapped to a big parachute, then you both run off the side of a mountain and the wind grabs the chute and off you float into the air.)
We watched in excitement and awe, as a few of our gang were strapped into their gear, and onto their pilots and encouraged to run off the mountain. Sam had a rough start. As she ran, she kind of stumbled backwards into the guide and fell onto the ground. She was basically dragged off the mountainside. It was SOOO FUNNY to watch. It didn't look too sore, think she just got a few muddy knees but we were in tears laughing. And also slightly worried about our own take offs. :D
My pilot was a very nice young Frenchman called Vincent. We chatted away and he asked me all about myself and my job and whether my parents minded me not being married yet.. (ahem... )
(sidenote: I think that's why these lads do this job - to pick up chicks. Kat's guide asked her out later, to which she replied a terse 'no'. hahaha - but he was a bit of an oddball. He later found us in the pub and asked to join us, but then was all weird and defensive!)
So anywho, back to Vincent. He asked me if I usually got motion sickness or anything. I said I did a bit (I do - badly) but insisted I'd be grand. We strapped ourselves together and ran off the side of the mountain quite successfully, with no hiccups. It was exhilarating. I think running off the mountain was my favourite part.
Once we took off, we got into our ''seats'', and the view was amazing! We could see so much. It was such a clear day and we could see the Annapurna range right behind us, the beautiful lake and lovely hilly mountains in front of us. We could see lots of villages and fields, the airport, the rest of Pokhara city and bits and bobs for miles around. It was fab! The cool air was rushing past us and the sun was shining down on us. It was pretty spectacular.
So I was feeling grand for these first ten minutes, and then as Vincent decided to go round and round and higher and higher and round and higher and round and higher, I really started to feel like I was going to be sick! It took all my will power and breathing skills to try not to barf and to focus on the scenery. I'm so glad I didn't get the video of the jump as it would have just been of my face going greener and greener.. :D After what felt like another ten minutes of twirling, I honestly thought I couldn't hold it in any longer. :D
I said to yer man (Vincent): ''I'm really sorry but I think I'm going to be sick, which side is best to puke out of?''
Vincent: '' Don't worry, nothing to be sorry about, it happens a lot. Try and watch where I'm going as opposed to the scenery for a minute and I'll straighten us out for a while. You get sick out of this side and I'll try to dodge it. ''
SCARLEH! and LOL
(I later discovered a few of our gang had been actually sick into bags on the jumps so didn't feel too bad. he he)
So he straightened us out and the nausea receeded and I didn't actually get puke on his shoes! wahey!
We came into land and I helped him put away his stuff and yapped away as others from our group landed around us. The paragliding itself was amazing. Wish I hadn't felt barfy, as I would have liked to have done more acrobatics, but alas my body got the better of me.
Later the gang went to a Tibetan Monastery. I hadn't fully recovered and gave it a miss. They said it was great fun and full of lots of Buddhist kids watching movies and playing football. A lot of them were sent there by their parents who couldn't afford to raise them, and they live their whole lives in this monastery. :/ Once again I felt very lucky to have been born where I was and when I was.
The next day I got up early to say goodbye to the rest of the G Adventures gang and wish them well. They were flying onto Kathmandu for the last few days of the trip. Lindsey and I were staying on in Pokhara. I had decided to join Lindsey on her yoga trek, which was starting on 3rd May. We moved into together and spent a few days chilling, yapping, going for dinner and the odd beer and generally relaxing after the hecticness of moving from place to place non-stop for the past 2 weeks.
It was super to be in such a chilled town with beautiful scenery and tons of good restaurants all serving delicious food. We did a bit of reading, interneting and snoozing.
One of the days we decided to get a practise hike in and we strutted up to the Peace Pagoda which was 1900 metres up. (Pokhara is 790m) We purposely took the long route so we could get a bit of exercise in before the trek. We walked south along the Fewa Lake,
right into the town and down to Devi Falls - a very uninspiring trickle of a waterfall that left us wanting our 20 rupees entry fee back!
So then we did the hard part and trekked up a steep never ending windy road for about 2 hours. We kept taking wrong turns up various stone staircases and had to keep turning back and starting again.
It took us yonks!! But the veiw from the Buddhist Peace Pagoda at the top was great. It was a bit cloudy and hazy and we couldn't see the peaks but the lakes and hill views were good.
The Peace Pagoda had been built there by Buddhist monks from the Japanese Nipponzan Myohoj Org to promote World Peace. After some grub in the cafe at the top, we took the ''quick'' way down. Tons and tons and tons of steps back down to the shore of the lake where we got a row boat back across to our side. In retrospect, it was really good prep for our trek and was a good taste of what was to come. We also learnt we needed T shirts and other clothes that dried quickly, less jewellery, longer socks, more sunscreen and snakcs for the way! :D