October 11 in Pokhara.
We rented a canoe and Griffin paddled us around the lake. We saw monkeys jumping in the trees, even more butterflies, and lots of other people out on the lake doing the same thing. We also arranged flights back to Kathmandu and then onto Bangkok. Turns out “tourist season” really means something here – all the hotels we called in Kathmandu were booked. The hotel we were stayed in did us a favor and somehow got us a “nice room, not sure where, will find out when driver pick you up from airport yes?”.
As it will turn out, we got a room in a beautiful hotel right in the fun district of Kathmandu.
After canoeing we went to a roof top bar and had some cocktails, watching all the tourists that had streamed into Pokhara. The place felt very different from when we were there just 3 weeks earlier. We also enjoyed some snakes on the menu:
That night we ate at the Everest Steak House, where Griffin finally got to have that hearty meat meal he had been craving all along our trek. In a country where cows are sacred and only certain casts of society can eat meat, finding good meat, and someone who knows how to cook it, can be a rarity. And of course the power went out.
Monday, October 12 – the flight to Kathmandu
As mentioned three weeks ago, we vowed not to take the bus ride back to Kathmandu. Thus, we booked a 45-minute flight instead. We checked in, but, as things go, our flight was delayed almost 2 hours because “no one knew where it was” – well, it hadn’t left Kathmandu it turned out due to air traffic issues. Who knows. But I’ll tell you what was really helpful:
It was at the airport that I stepped on a scale for the first time since leaving San Diego, and realized that my pants and other clothes being too loose was not because they were stretched out, but rather because I had lost 13lbs on our trek. I guess it was 13lbs I could bear to part with because weeks later I still will have not gained it back, despite eating well and not trekking.
Back in Kathmandu
We were met at the airport by a taxi driver, who was taking us somewhere unknown to us. Amongst the motorbikes, horns, and cars passing so closely there could not have been more than centimeters between them, we discussed that we had missed the city, and how unfazed all the people are who live amongst this chaos everyday.
After checking into our hotel we had our driver take us to the famed Durbar Square, supposedly where the best shopping is and all the tourists go. Well, we were not so thrilled. It was all the same crap for sale in Thamel, our part of Kathmandu, but it was more expensive. But we did accidentally wander down an extremely narrow alley way and find not one other white person, but rather bustling hole in the wall stores selling nuts, fruits, spices, and other Nepali foods. This was where the real action was. I bought a nail polish for $0.40. It was our favorite part of the city.
For dinner we found a lovely restaurant overlooking the busy streets below. Height in Kathmandu is very important – the higher one is above street level the exponentially greater the air quality. I ordered a Thai dish – a soup with mushrooms – to get excited for Thailand, and a lasagna. Well, I should have known better.
A few years ago while camping in Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Griff and I decided to celebrate one of our anniversaries by eating at a fancy steak house. Well 6 hours later I was throwing up in the stone-cold bathroom at our campsite; turns out I have mushroom intolerance to some varieties, and whatever I had eaten at the steak house was one of my intolerances. In Nepal I had carefully been avoiding anything with tumeric in it due to a suspected allergy, and also steered clear of mushrooms. But I was tired of that, and really didn’t think twice, and devoured my mushroom soup. I should have known better. When the lasagna came I felt sick, and really did not want to eat it, but knew I had to because Griffin, my knight in shining armor who always finishes anything I cannot eat on my plate (seriously what did I do before him?!), had ordered too much and would not be able to help me. So, I choked down half of it, while Griffin ate the rest.
Well, well, sick from the mushrooms
True to form, about 6 hours later at 1am I awoke in a sweat, and found myself throwing up in the bathroom of our hotel (right, because losing 13lbs on the trek was not enough, I thought maybe 16lbs suited me better). I finally was able to go back to sleep, but the next morning around 9am I had another round. And this time brought up nothing but mushrooms. Well damn. At this point, not sure if it was the act of throwing up or just my body fighting something it saw as poison, I was exhausted. I mean, I couldn’t move. I slept all day, and ate nothing but a couple sips of a yogurt lassi. I don’t have any recollection of this picture being taken, but apparently I was resting peacefully and was very cozy.
Throughout this time Griffin was very helpful, tending to me, and maybe getting a little bit of cabin fever. At least there was a roof deck for him to escape to. Sadly, we did not really spend our last day in Kathmandu together. But we had a flight to Bangkok the next morning, so I needed to make sure I would be able to get on the plane.
Our lasting thoughts on Nepal and our trek:
- 1. love the language translations
- 2.being so far from a paved road and among the biggest, most impressive mountains we have ever seen, yet not feeling alone by any means
- 3.it was amazing.
- 4.The people of Nepal are helpful, friendly, and tough as nails. Even the women can carry over 100lbs up and over the mountains and passes.