We’ve been spending a relaxing near fortnight here in Pokhara, Nepal’s second city. Nepal is very chilled out; always a beautiful contrast to India. People, although friendly, aren’t so interested in the finer details of your trip, in a much more Western “I’ve got my own life to worry about” way. This is refreshing after India, and we’ve taken the opportunity to let our guard down for a bit. Resulting in meeting some wonderful people and having long discussions over (Pokhara’s best – and locally grown/organic) coffee in am/pm, in Lakeside South. There’s been a week long street festival taking place, culminating in a tense tug-o-war, in which Joel’s team came second (he was the only Westerner on his team, compared to the winners who, with respect, were 4-1 Western/Nepali and stood head and shoulders above their counterparts. I’m sure they’re all very strong too. This was a great way for us to meet some locals, who invited us all out for drinks later on. It was terribly serious, and certificates were awarded to the 3 top teams. Kathryn (a lovely Kiwi woman we befriended) and I arranged a women’s pull; and lost to the buxom Nepalese dancers who rose to the challenge. I’m not surprised, taking into account how much these women can carry up a mountain, (and i’m not talking about Snowdon here! ) AND the Cossack style dancing they’d been doing earlier on! Thighs of steel!
Today we walked with Dhananjaya (the cafe owner, also known as David) and his friend Maggie, along the lake and up the neighbouring hill to pay Joe a visit; a 70+ Irish chap who’s built a hilltop castle-resort (wonderfully eccentric, but beautifully inspiring) with his partner Sofia – complete with Irish pub and stuffed pooch! My Dad would love it; sipping a Jamesons in front of the communal fire, listening to Joe’s stories all evening, gazing over the lit-up Lakeside way down in the valley below. Joe gave us a round of Raxshi, the local millet wine (seriously poky, but luckily not quite as strong as the locals like it) grown by his own fair hands!