Hello all, hope you are doing well. We are fine here, having finished at the soup kitchen and begun our travels. Please read on...
Having trouble trying to leave Nepal. Our plan was to go to a national park for an elephant safari and rafting, then go by bus over a couple of days to the eastern border with India. However! not so simple in this interesting country! ...a few riots, roadblocks, deaths, protests and general disruptions have meant a change of plan. (see Annies earlier blog).
We now have gone back on ourselves to Kathmandu and plan to fly to Biratnagar to attempt to cross the Indian border there. We had intended to fly directly to the border crossing that we were heading to by bus, but the airport there is closed for a month for maintainence work. Biratnagar is the next closest airport, although we had read that it was not a border crossing point for tourists, but have double checked this with travel agents AND the british embassy who give us a Nepalese guarantee (...erm, well, probably, ...ahh, hopefully, good luck sir!) that we can cross at this point as we have our Indian visa. We will then get ourselves to Darjeeling as planned.
So, to backtrack, we finished at the soup kitchen with mixed emotions. The last day felt celebratory with the biggest turnout of customers, many of whom had bought us thoughtful gifts like purses, jewellery and scarves. They wished us all well and we took a long time to say our goodbyes. We then had to dismantle, clean and transport it to ROKPA's childrens home which took a couple of days. We had an enjoyable last meal together before people went their separate ways- back home, onward travelling or trekking to everest basecamp!
We headed to Pokhara via an interesting bus journey through the countryside/mountains. Pokhara is a beautiful city with Nepals 2nd largest lake. Popular with tourists for paragliding, trekking, rafting and relaxing by or on the lake. Unfortunately Annie was ill again, so as the dutiful husband/nurse that i am, i made sure she had a plentiful supply of loo roll before heading out to hire myself a motorbike. 5 quid to hire a bike for the day! I don't have a bike license nor have i ridden a bike with gears before. But i did have hard currency, so took the bike and spent the first hour or so learning how to ride it, then hit the open road to learn how to avoid lorries, buses and potholes - don't worry mum i'm fine and the bike has been returned!
Annie wasn't ill all the time in Pokhara (and is now better) and we did manage to bike up to the top of a mountain for a view of the "real" snowcapped mountains at sunrise which was great, especially as they have been mostly covered by a misty haze during the day. We also walked up another mountain which gave us great views of the town. We hired a boat (and boatman) to get to the other side of the lake for that walk. A few of the others from the soup kitchen have been around Pokhara, in between rafting and trekking so we've hung out with them too.
So fingers crossed for our great escape tomorrow...
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