“Where you from?”
“England?, David Beckham.”
And with that the conversation dwindled. I’m not very good at football talk but this I can handle… If only when I’d been with my football loving mates back home they’d sat in the pub going ‘England?, David Beckham’, I’d have been a proper football boffin. Because I know another two English players!
Sadly though I’ve been getting bored of this Beckham conversation as, in Pokhara, we’ve been having it fairly often. The thing is, this is much more than I can say in Nepalese (I can say 3 basic phrases) so I always smile, grateful for their efforts.
We’d actually come to Pokhara to endure a three day Himalayan trek and to paraglide over the Phewa Tal lake (each blogs in their own right) but as soon as we arrived we realised Pokhara is something special in itself.
After the frenzy that was Kathmandu we were expecting Pokhara to be busy, dirty and crowded, but with the redeeming feature of a lake. We were wrong.
Pokhara feels miles away from the stress of Kathmandu. And in actual fact, it is. We spent our evenings in Pokhara sat in European styled restaurants looking out across the Phewa Tal over Himalayan hills and, on the clear days, up to the snow tipped mountain ranges. We ordered happy hour drinks, huge slices of apple pie, momos and epic amounts of vegetable curry. We ate watching traditional nepali dance (surprisingly similar to Morris dancing) and after our meals we’d go on stage and join in (encouraged by the happy hour drinks). It didn’t feel like travelling, it was the high life.
Like I say though, Pokhara was acting as a base for trekking and paragliding, so we weren’t spending the whole time pampering ourselves. We only had one whole day free which we decided to spend sightseeing… That’s what we decided, but really we just spent it lost.
We planned our 3 hour round trip to Nepal’s World Peace Pogoda (a Japanese Buddhist temple overlooking the city) via Devi falls and boarded a small purple wooden boat to cross the lake to start the walk.
“Where you from?” Our friendly but predictable rower asked.
“England” we replied.
“England?, David Beckham?”
“You know it!”
As soon as we left the boat we walked the wrong way, encouraged by 3 Israili guys also walking the wrong way. So that’s once up a cliff face. Back down again. And then back up the same cliff face but this time in the right direction to the pagoda. And it was worth it. Despite the fact it can be seen at a distance from almost anywhere in the city, up close the pagoda was attractive as it was impressive. Surrounded by (Gemma’s words) ‘loch ness bushes’ and a view over the whole of Pokhara, the peace pagoda is entirely gold and white, making it asthetically striking.
We went a different way back down to see Devi falls. So different in fact that it could also be described as wrong. This wasn’t the luscious forrest and rice paddys described in the lonely planet?! This was a road. Some of the buses were quite colourful I suppose, but not as colourful as they were dangerous. We were lost.
Amazingly, after 3-4 hours we just happened apon the falls. Both our feet hurt by then (both as in each of us, AND as in both feet) but we’d made it! We hobbled over to see the falls and to learn that they’re named after Davis, a person swept away and killed after bathing in the lake. Well that was a depressing sign.
Eventually (after 5 and a half hours of our 3 hour trip) we returned to the familiar and cosy Pokhara lakeside to treat ourselves to some much deserved cake. That night, at our favourite Pokhara restuarant, and indeed potentially favourite restuarant so far in Nepal, ‘Punjabi’ we put our feet up with some veg curry ready for our next adventure – the Chitwan National Park. And here comes the waiter…
“Where you from?”
“Is he Brazil?”
It was no good, he’d lost me. I’m rubbish football talk.