Pokhara

Today is a national transport strike.

No buses or taxis, nor apparently domestic planes.

We’re off to Pokhara, but luckily in a private van! We left at 9am and zoomed out of the city – there were basically no vehicles on the roads. Total contrast to the past few days.

There was a large gathering of protesters at a junction, surrounded by riot police, but it all seemed peaceful and they let us through easily. And soon we were at the top of the hills, heading down into the valleys. Round and round and round. Past terraced hills growing mostly cabbage, small villages, small streams and dried up rivers.

It was really pretty. And we didn’t see a single other vehicle – wow.

We ended up arriving at the lunch spot by 11am – so quick! A hillside restaurant with great views across the valley and a river. I ordered a jogi bhat (£2) with no idea what that involved. Turns out it was fried yellow rice, with coconut and cashew nuts. It was ok – I just really don’t love fried rice….!! (Too much of it in Malaysia!)

And back to the winding roads…. We were making good progress. But after about an hour, we came to a standstill. There was a police block, they were collecting all the tourist vehicles (only ones on the road were private tourist minibuses!) to drive as a police escorted convoy. Was feeling quite safe until now…!!!

We didn’t stop for long before carrying on. And no wonder people were staring, we must have looked ridiculous. A whole line of tourist vans (which all look the same) moving along the roads in a line.

We eventually arrived at 4.30pm. What a long drive!!

I spent the next hour and half (yes, it took me that long) repacking all my stuff so that I had all my trekking things in separate bags. No idea what I actually need to take with me though….! New to this whole trekking thing.

We left for a walk at 6pm. The main touristy street was cute. Much like any other touristy place in Lao or Thailand etc – lots of touristy tat shops and cute cafes. It was cool. But even better – the lake that is just behind.

Phewa lake is the second largest lake in Nepal. It was so pretty. Wooden boats scattered along the shoreline that you can hire to paddle around. The mountains cascade down either side of the lake, misty in the distance and the sun was setting, casting shadows across the water.

Despite being nearly dark, the shores were still busy with people washing clothes, eating food and hanging around! Next stop – dinner. I was so hungry!! We ate lunch so early! (Although I have snacked all afternoon…). I got a curry with some nan bread – it was ok, not the best I’ve ever had. Then tried basically every single ATM on the whole street before one would finally give me some money. So annoying.

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