Monday, August 18, 2008


Mountains thick with snow and wandering yaks; crags and scarps surrounding lonely Buddhist temples; possible yeti encounters. These are the things that, in my head, would be Nepal. We didn’t even have a guidebook when we entered the country, so I’d done even less than usual in the way of research prior to arrival in a new country (which usually involves looking at the colour pictures in the Lonely Planet and then going back to watching television). I’d rearranged my pack with warmer things closer to the top, found my beloved mitten-gloves and let my beard grow thick and luxuriously insulating. So, once we were actually in Nepal, it was rather disconcerting to find myself on a bus zooming through valleys carpeted by fluorescent green rice paddies underneath a pounding sun.

As we hurtled deeper into the country, it just got hotter and sweatier, and I began to suspect we’d accidentally boarded a bus to Vietnam (travel agents and bus booking people are notoriously untrustworthy around here). It was all rather confusing. I didn’t even know that they had monsoon seasons in Nepal, let alone the vicious kind of sun that was now heating us to the point of dehydration.

Random town

When we reached our destination, Pokhara, it only got stranger. We checked in, sat on the bed and a strange, alien sensation washed over me. It was silence. After a little while, I realised I had gone a whole hour without hearing a car horn, bus siren or rickshaw buzzer. A whole hour! Since arriving on the sub-continent a month ago, we’d become so used to the constant noise of traffic that the only time we noticed it was when it wasn’t there anymore. We decided that we would stay in Pokhara for a while.

Car horn free Pokhara

No comments: