I have obviously arrived home, but these are my final thoughts on Nepal and our trip.
On a side note I have my next appointment on the 26th of November to see how quickly my pet friend is growing. Fingers crossed its barely progressed, but it will have spread a little, nature of the best and all that. I’ll keep you posted and the next blog post will be back on topic 🙂
Pokhora is much more western than anywhere else we have stayed on our trip. It reminded me of Cuzco in Peru, with millions of touristy ships, all selling the same stuff, and lots of activities to do. It has a lovely lake though and you can get some amazing views of mountains and scenery from anywhere. The hotel was nice , clean and friendly and the whole place seemed more affluent.
That night we discussed activities for the best day. One option was the longest zip wire in the world, but this turned out to be malfunctioning and shut. Another was white water rafting and a third paragliding .
In the past I’ve been sky diving and bungee jumping but never paragliding. So even though my insurance didn’t cover it I signed up to it. You only live once right?
We headed off the next day, Jo, Dean, Lykara, Rob , Eric and myself. The experience was 10000 rupees or for us , £65 (it’s like Monopoly money) We got a ride up to the top of the hill/mountain we were starting from in a jeep. This was the scariest part of the experience. We were inches from thousand foot drops and at times I was really concerned we might go over. We had some good back and force gallows humour before we got up there.
Once up I met my pilot. A huge Swiss guy called Sebastian who looked at least twenty stone.
For those of you who don’t know a paraglide is a kind of parachute which can catch wind and lift as well as allow slow descent. It uses thermals to get up and banks in a circular motion to climb.
Seb strapped me to him and the glider and we then both faced the edge of the cliff. Below was a good fifty foot drop. A tandem jump works the same as a solo. Seb sitting at the back and navigating with me sitting just in front of him strapped to his enormous chest. We counted down and then ran towards the end of the land we were on. I had been told to just keep running over the edge so I did.
There was a resistance to the run but then just as we got to the edge we were airborne.
It was an amazing experience. Seb wasn’t one for small talk so other than occasionally humming (from Seb, in no way sinister) we spent the next twenty five minutes floating around, up and down in silence. At times we were just above trees and others we could see for miles, the whole lake. It was great, beautiful and peaceful.
All good things come to an end and we went far out into the lake and then banked back to land on the beach. Seb had tersely warned me we would need to get up speed before pulling and sharp so we were going quite fast until the second my feet hit.
I loved it but Jo had been a little air sick (surprisingly like sea sick). We all agreed the views were spectacular anyway and before long we headed off to pick up our photos and video.
After a walk around the lake to see the sunset (picturesque with the mountains looming over the lake and a crescent moon in the sky) and the dinner.
The next day we had a nine hour bus journey to Katmandu, which was tiresome and winding but once we got there we went straight to the monkey temple.
There were lots of monkeys. That was pretty much the charm of the place and it did what it said on the label. Monkeys are cool!
That evening and the next morning went by ion a blur. With only a short time left we had a brief explore of Kathmandu and I got the impression of a thriving metropolis, with bendy winding roads, bargaining and a sea of humanity. In this case India has jaded me and I thought it was nicely busy. There are temples all over the city and I wished I had more time to explore it, but sadly as this was the end of our trip we ended up at a restaurant for our final dinner. We had it in a restaurant called the Rum Bar and it has lots of card feet that people sign. These feet are big. Yes Big feet. I got it anyway.
The next morning was an early one and we headed out for our scenic flight to Everest. The plane was pretty small and standing up was not an option. Packaged like sardines we felt the biplanes engines kick off and we were airbourne. The panorama was amazing. Snowy mountains rising majestically out into the sky. There snow caps glinting pure white against the blue sky. We were up for about an hour or so and each got to go into the cockpit. This involved a kind of crouching stumble, but it was worth it for the view. The windows in the cockpit were much clear and the scenery was breathtaking (as it would be if we crashed)
I have a confession to make at this point. Everest looks like all the others mountains. There I said it. It’s only a big deal because its slightly taller than the others, otherwise well you die trying to climb a massive mountain whether it’s the biggest or the second biggest don’t you.
So to sum Nepal was nice. I really liked it. After India I felt everyone on the group draw a collective sigh of relief. It has similar banter in markets, and shops, but far less people. The weather is cooler (which I like) it doesn’t smell as much and there are far less beggars. Really I could recommend it to anyone.
The tour group we had this time were great fun too. We have had good tours in the past, intimate tours of 6 or big tours of fifty, but this was a nice size and some people I really got on with. I hope we can stay in touch.
Happy travels to any of your reading this and to everyone else.