May 2nd 1984

posted in: The way back | 0

The Italians were still around to haunt us.  It had rained heavily last night, so some of them had billeted themselves around the lodges – we’d even had to put up with a chattering noisy pair in our place.  Fortunately, once they’d munched their way thro’ a mountain of chapattis for breakfast, they were soon gone.  But Sue + Helen annoyed us very nearly as much, with their whingeing, whining complaints.  If you can’t do anything about a situation, then you put up with it, but you don’t make everyone even more miserable by acting like a spoilt child.  We’ve enjoyed their company, on the whole, but shan’t be the slightest bit sorry to be parting from them today.

We didn’t make a very early start, but didn’t need to – Pokhara is not really all that far away.  We all left together, but Val + I soon raced ahead, in a mad gallop down the hill to the river valley, then along the flat, picking our path between the boulders strewing the way.  And so, in an hour or 2, arrived at Sukhet, where we paused for a couple of bowls of potato curry from a stall.  This was where we were when the others joined us.  They all decided to take the jeep back to town – partly as a result of this, (+ partly because I’d forgotten how far it was), we decided to walk.  So we said our goodbyes + parted.

It was, indeed, quite a long walk, + it didn’t help that I aggravated my hip, so that, by the end, I was moving very slowly indeed.  However, we made it, + caught the city bus out to Lakeside.  On the way in, we’d been given a tip for a good lodge, so that was the one we headed for, even tho’ it seemed a bit further out than we wanted.  In fact, we weren’t able to agree with the lady there on a price, so we moved in next door instead.  The main attraction here was that we could sit on the veranda + look out over the lake.

The view from our hotel

The day was still relatively early, so once we’d showered the grime from our bodies, + scrubbed some of the dirt out of our clothes, we strolled back into town.  We sat at a café + drank a few pots of tea – we were thirsty + it seemed wonderful – + then strolled down to the lake to hire a boat for an hour.  Only 4 rupees, so one can’t complain.  It made for a pleasant time – I was even foolhardy enough to risk a swim, tho’ I made sure I kept my mouth closed – the lake is reputedly home to all sorts of germs + nasties.  Afterwards, we just wandered.  I was quite keen to get hold of some dope, + thought I had a good chance, when a young guy approached me.  “Change money?” he asked, the usual first approach.  But he didn’t follow it up in the same breath with an offer of hash – I must have looked too straight or something.  So I decided to take the initiative into my own hands.  “No, but have you got any dope?”  He was immensely taken aback, + at first seemed inclined to refuse, but after a moment’s thought, he pulled a lump from his pocket.  After a little haggling, I paid R20 for a decent-sized portion.

Back in our lodge, we decided to eat some, + test the effect.  Remarkably, I felt the familiar tingle after about 15 mins – it certainly wasn’t bad stuff I had bought.  We ate at a restaurant called Snowland, about which we had heard good things.  The ambience was very good – a rooftop restaurant, candlelit, but the food was disappointing.  We made up for this however by a trip to the Hungry Eye, just a door or two along.  This was the place we had had the marvellous cake in before we had left – it was very nearly as good again; one can’t expect perfection twice.

Back into civilisation, or at the very least, the end of the hike – farewell to our otalian and new Zealand co-travellers; in the end, we mostly do better nwith just our own company.

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