Relaxing, Eating and HAPPY NEPALI NEW YEARS!
13.12.2016 35 °C
It was now time to get a move on, and so it seemed for the rest of the volunteers...and all heading the same directionto Pokhara!
We caught the bus with Tom and said good-byes to Bishnu who we do hope we will see again to see all the amazing projects he will have accomplished.
We arrived that afternoon in the lake-town of Pokhara. We got a rare glimpse of the Annapurna Mountain Range as we drove in as the skies were still very dusty. This was the jumping off point for the other major trekking neighbourhood but this town was where everyone came to relax. (We hope to return one day to hike it!)
The Phewa Lake that the town was attached to was very alluring and we were originally planning to stay 2 nights but with the Nepali New Year so soon and our friends in town we decided to extend to stay 5 days. This was a great choice. We eventually found most of the Eco Park crew and stayed at a nice lodging up on the hillside tucked between macrame and breakfast shops. Everyone seemed to be on holidays here.
We spent an afternoon with Gigi and Amanda looking for some local waterfalls...turned out to be on the other side of town and for a fee you could see the dribbles of the remains of the falls...bit of a let down. But we got to see some funny shops with robotic buddha's and bus with some little chicks stuffed in a box.
Next adventure was renting a big paddle-boat with our park buddies. It was more successful as it was a lovely easy paddle to the middle of the lake and the water was surprisingly clean and refreshing to swim around. Nepalese people would paddle by and admire our swimming skills and some even cheered as we jumped off.
Meanwhile, our friend Tom had discovered a hidden Juggling festival just outside of town on a farm. He led our small group towards the secretive spot. It was a lovely grassy property owned by a German/Nepalese couple who yearly hosted this week long festival filled with schedules of hulla hoop classes to yoga leading up to the New years. We learned how to build and use “flower sticks” and Kevin upped his juggling game.
Every meal was also a challenge as there was SO many options, especially after our limited meals at the Eco Park. We dined on non-traditional burgers and Israeli dishes (very popular in Nepal apparently) and of course went back to eating momo'. However we avoided eating the lake fish as the murky waters did not seem like a nice home for tasty meals...
The last day was to celebrate the arrival of 2073!!!! Nepal uses the Vikram Samvat or the Hindu Calendar. During the day we enjoyed viewing locals arriving in their traditional attire, lining up for a big parade through town.
We joined the masses of people after a long wait for dinner (Nepali time + NYE does not make for efficiency). We walked towards the field where rides and a big stage had been set up and from the hillside we could hear and sorta see a popular Nepali band being cheered on by a sea of people. Of course the night ended in fire works and drinks. The whole town seemed in great spirits. The only downside was having to say final farewells to our group the next morning...it was time for the pinnacle of our trip...to hike the Himalayas!