The hippies are here! Right here in Pokhara. I’ve never seen so many gathered in one place in my life.
I like hippies. They’re free, easy-going, and have a wealth of knowledge about pretty much everything. Then you have the ones that are a little too free. I’m talking about the mega hippies. The difference is real. The ones who completely forgot where they came from and behave like superior beings above all others, especially over typical tourists, and usually look down upon them. Their only friends are native locals and other mega hippies. I’ve dealt with a few of them during my travels and it’s never ever a fond memory. The woman from the movie The Beach, Sal, the leader of the group on the island is the perfect example of a mega hippie. I wanna roundhouse kick one right off their high horse.
Mega hippies look similar to regular hippies so it’s difficult to spot one unless you talk with them for a bit. Don’t get it confused though, regular hippies are really fun to be around. Mega hippies on the other hand are not. With that being said, I’m bound to run into a mega hippie sometime here in Nepal. And they usually mistake me for a typical tourist based solely on my American accent.
Getting to Pokhara
There is no easy way to get off this mountain into the city. We could take one of two early minibus’s down which consisted of a van that looked like it was transportation for a school of circus clowns. Or we could hire a taxi, but since no taxi’s ever pass through the village, that option was out. Or we could hike down which could take up to two hours! We chose the circus bus. It was only 50 Nepali rupees which equals to about 50 US cents.
Upon entering the late bus, we were packed like sardines in a hot metal canister. The roads up here are terrible. Just imagine being packed uncomfortably close to smelly strangers in a hot, dusty van while an earthquake is happening that lasts for 25 minutes. That’s what it was. And we made it to the bottom just in the nick of time because I was on the verge of puking my dal bhat dinner I had the night before. Emre, Tim, and I skipped the dal bhat breakfast and headed straight for Lakeside Pokhara, the “happenin'” area of town, for something to eat other than rice and veggies. We found a spot called the Perky Bean Cafe that had some good food and Wi-Fi! I’m normally okay with not having any Wi-Fi while I’m traveling, but I need it mainly for blogging purposes.
While there we ran into a few other volunteers that we were split up from in Kathmandu. Matts (Sweden), Steff (Australia) and Millie (Australia). It was great to see familiar faces again. Later on, we reunited with a few more volunteers via Whatsapp numbers we exchanged while in Kathmandu. Tané (South Africa/Australia), Jess (Australia), Alexis (USA), and Natasha (Denmark). We all had a plan and that was to do something fun every weekend! The weekends were the only times we would be able to meet, as getting down and back up the mountain is a time-consuming trip within itself. What should we do this weekend?
Before we did anything, Emre, Tim, and I had to find a hotel or hostel to stay in. As we were going around the main street trying to bargain cheap prices for the local excursions, we came to one tourist agency called Simrik. There we met a travel agent named Arun. We haven’t had any luck with the previous travel agents we came across in Pokhara. Either their English was crap or they just didn’t make any sense with their prices. Arun is Nepali but speaks perfect English and he’s a trustworthy guy. I could tell upon meeting him. It’s that intuition you get from your gut. He had all the info we needed on excursions like camping, canyoning, and paragliding. He also had the perfect place for us to stay, right there at Simrik which doubled as a hotel. He gave us a fair price of $5 a night in a cozy room with three beds, a hot shower, and internet. Arun became our main contact and go-to guy for any information we needed in Pokhara.
Once we settled in, we invited Tané, Jess, and Alexis back for a fun relaxing night of Nepali beer, spirits, and hangout spots. That same night we met up with more volunteers as we compared our home stays and accommodations with one another.
It sounded like my home stay was the most primitive, but our school was the most receptive to volunteers. I wouldn’t trade my home stay with anyone else’s. We goofed around that night and wandered around the city searching for the only place around that had any grub and activity going on. Nepal shuts down early every night, but us volunteers always managed to find the one place that remained open.
The next day, we didn’t have anything planned, so Emre, Tané, Alexis, and I rented a row-boat and went out into Fewa Lake for a couple of hours.
Fewa Lake is small and calm. To the south of the lake is a temple where you can feed the fish and birds. To the west, Fewa begins to turn into a marsh and forms into a river that snakes along. Just to the north of the lake is the mountain which I live on and just beyond that you can see the rugged, snow caps of the Himalayas poking sharply into the atmosphere. I’ve never seen mountains so intimidating before in my life. It was unnerving even just looking at them. Just imagine the climb. Just imagine Mount Everest.
We did more of the same in Pokhara including rummaging through the cattle that coexist with the cars, buses, and motorbikes along the roads.
We ate more food knowing that on Sunday night, we’ll be headed back to dal bhat, dal bhat, and more dal bhat. As of this post I’m not sick of it yet, but it’s only a matter of time. But before we go back up that mountain, five of us were scheduled to paraglide over Pokhara, Nepal…one of the best places in the world to do so!