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Pokhara, I hardly know her!

September 22, 2012

After a late night of Uno with the gang, the 6am wake-up knock at the door was very unwelcome! Emma and I were not among the early morning birdwatchers, but they had us down anyway.

We came to life, packed up and joined the group around 8. The birdwatchers saw lots of crocs and a few more deer, in addition to a lot of birds, but I’m not sorry I missed it. As has become our morning custom, we compared our malaria pill dreams, and off we went headed to Pokhara, our last stop before hitting the trail.

The drive was an easy 5 hours, with a quick stop along the way for a loo break and a snack. We were once again driving the narrow highway high in the mountains. The trucks coming towards us were all painted with bright colors and designs as well as Buddha eyes and names like “Heart Break,” “Speed Control,” or “Road Kill.” Most frequently we saw Titanic trucks with a painting of the doomed ship on the side.

The road was dotted with small shacks from which people sold food for travelers, tiny houses, and cows, goats, and dogs. There were children playing in nearly every yard. One group had even constructed a ping-pong table with some cinder blocks and bricks for the net, others were bathing in the waterfalls.

We arrived in Pokhara around 1:30, and Chitra gave us the list of things we needed to pick up for the trek. Pokhara is a very tourist friendly “city.” It is the kick-off point for all Annapurna trekkers. We’ve seen more international folks here than even in Kathmandu. The streets are crowded with trekking shops selling North Face gear for a fraction of the price (I’m not sure if its real or not, but I do have a new jacket and duffel).  We all picked up walking sticks that I’m excited to own – it makes me feel like a real hiker.

We met at about 5:30 and Chitra filled us in on tomorrow’s activity. Because of the monsoon, the trail we were meant to take has been pretty washed out. It may be repaired by tomorrow morning, but likely we will take another route. One Chitra described as “up, up, up.” Tomorrow and the next day will be the two hardest and longest of our trip and they’ve gotten worse because of the rains.  But its only two days and by now we’ve bonded enough as a group that  they’ll forgive me my inability to keep up (we all actually think we will be slowest – well, everyone except Martin, who we all know will be fastest). Appropriately scared, we all retired to our rooms to pack for the trail. My new duffel will stay in Pokhara filled with all I don’t need on the road including my computer, credit cards, and passport. I am bringing an insurance card with me – you all know how clumsy I am.

We’re off at 6:30 tomorrow morning (about 9:15 Saturday night eastern time). I’ll be out of touch for the next seven days, but eager to let you know how it goes. Please send me lots of good lung capacity vibes.

****Also – I’ve managed to get the photos onto this computer. If someone can tell me how to make the photo size smaller on a mac, I’ll upload photos into all the posts when I get back.****

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  1. esme permalink

    Happy Trails, my love! Fill your memory with everything you see, smell and hear! I’ll be dying for your stories when you return! Miss you! Love you!

  2. Aunt Nancy permalink

    Lots of Hugs–may the air be with you–A.N.

  3. hey kathleen…very enviously following your great adventure!
    making photos smaller…if using photoshop very simple.
    open photos in photoshop use keyboard (option-command-I) and a dialogue box comes up and you can just enter the size ( @ 150dpi). The Image Size option in the Image menu will also get you there…if not photoshop, iphoto or any of the software will have a similar operation.

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