28.09.2008 28 °C
So the next day I am getting ready to leave to go to catch a flight to Pokhara. Before I leave the cook at the agency home makes me breakfast - I am not sure if it is one big egg or something else. It is a little burnt on the outside - but I taste it and think to myself - this so reminds me of home and my home cooking - a pancake - burnt on the outside and raw in the inside - I am feeling a little home sick.
Off I go to the airport - it is odd - security is pretty loose and everything can go on the plane - the only thing missing are the live chickens. It is very odd. You wait in this large room and they yell out the airline and flight number - you get on a little bus and they bring you to the plane. It is amazing they are on time - my flight is called so I get on the bus. The only problem is the driver is not sure what plane he is suppose to take us to - so we spent about 5 - 10 mins driving around the tarmac while he ask different people if this is the plane going to Pokhara. I am thinking -Yeti Airlines - maybe not. However it was the best flight and 40 mins later I am in this amazing place. I meet my hotel person - he says his name is Knob (I am not sure how it is spelled but he did say Knob) - we take a taxi and travel about a half hour outside of Pokhara - walk a bit - I walked in a herd of water buffalo and one of them looked at me and made an awful sound and would not get out of my way. I said to him I agreed with the government that water buffalo should keep their heads - that seemed to please him so he stepped out of my way.
Next we take a boat ride across Begnas Lake - it is about a half hour - I should add one guy is paddling - no motor boats here. It is just amazing - you hear all the insects from the jungle singing - the noise is very loud. We arrive at the Begnas Lake resort - it is really nice - stone chalets with hard wood floors - and best of all hot water and almost like real beds and very, very clean. I am greeted at my chalet by a guy holding a tray - hot towel, cola and a little vase of flowers. Too prefect. The grounds here are well cared for and the plants are very interesting. There is the one plant that the flower goes from white to pink to red.
I go into my room and I am excited - this is great. I notice one of the things they offer here is Herbal oil massages. That sounds good to me - a full body massage for an hour is only 900R - that is around 20 - 25 dollars. Sounds great to me - I book it and I am told they come to your room. Great.
This next part is not for the weak or people who get visual images - warning, warning.
So a knock on my door - this woman with a big mat is at the door (I later find out she is also the room cleaner) anyway she comes in lays this mat on the floor and brings in this tray of oils. She says take off clothes and lay down. I am thinking OK - she says to me - take off panties - I am thinking not - I just act like I don't understand her and she gives up. Very different then Canada - no towels here to cover up. Anyway she starts on my feet and legs - very strong hands but it feels good in a painful way. Anyway she keeps going up - at the end of the leg and bum part of the massage I am now wearing a thong - not very comfortable. Anyway after the back and the back of the head - turn around - OK - she does my legs - even my bellybutton - very strange and then my chest area - that hurt. She does my face and the top of my head. After she is finished she takes hot towels and wipes off the oil. Now I have learnt a lesson - never get a full body massage with a full length mirror close by - I have decided I am one of those people that look better with clothes on or in the complete dark. Anyway she leaves and I am thinking that is an experience I do not want to repeat. No I do not have pictures. However I must say I am feeling pretty relaxed. So relax I book for the village walk for the next day - that will be good.
Knob is my guy - he services me when I go eat and he is always asking do I need anything. I am kind of liking this. So I get up very early the next day - 5:30 a.m. as we need to start walking before it gets to hot - I am a little confused - what I did not understand is that it is many little villages that go all the way up this "hill" - I would not call it a "hill" - it is bigger then any hill I have ever seen - it is a 4 hour walk basically straight up and then down. First part of our walk is to climb 279 stairs - I did it - however I did not realize at that point I would need to go up another I think it was 624 stairs along the way at one go - not an easy task for a smoker - anyway I did make it to the top with a few short breaks along the way. It was beautiful - fruit plantations - rice fields - little villages and on the top was an old fort that the army use to use as a look-out tower and then the pit where they kill goats and water buffalos for the gods (LOVELY). I have wonderful pictures of the Himalayan peaks.
We take a different way down - very rocky - we walk on top of the walls in between the rice fields - my big concern is that I will fall head first into a rice paddy. However it was interesting to see how they do the terracing. Along the way I do stop at the school and the reading room that Wanda helped build. It is really wonderful.
When I get back - Knob says - you should get massage - I am thinking - NO - however I smile and say no shower and nap would be good. At supper - by the way I am only eating fish caught in the lake - no rice please - excellent food and the wine taste not bad (of course at this point I couldn't tell the difference - it's wine that is all the matters) - a little interest note - they make wine in this area from millet. Anyway the owner of the resort and I have this wonderful discussion about community mobilization and what has happened to this area due to Wanda, the business community and the people - it is a wonderful story. It really makes me think of the book "Getting to Maybe" - it is a success story.
The next day at about 7:30 a.m. I hear this voice at my window - I am told that a general strike is happening today so that means no taxis - I am leaving today so a taxi would be good for the half hour ride to Pokhara. I am told not to worry but I will need to leave by 8:30 a.m. Great - so I pack up - have breakfast - get on the boat and go. The owner comes with me as it is his friend that will be giving me a ride - OK It is a beautiful day as we go across the lake. We get to the other side and his friend and 10 others are waiting - the Nepal Police will take me to the airport - I do have a picture of the guys and their guns. This is good - they drive me into Pokhara and stop at a check point - I now have to go with a different group of police as they just got a call and need to go. I arrive at the airport with my guys - people are looking. One English guy ask who I am - I look at him and say "don't you know?" Anyway I thought that was funny.
I now have an earlier flight - someone is suppose to meet me at the Kathmandu Airport at 3 p.m. - I will be arriving by noon. I get back to Kathmandu - of course no taxis - and I forgot the name of the temple the agency home is by - I have a mobile phone that was given to me - and I try to call - I don't really understand the phone number system here. Anyway this nice man helps me place the call - I ask Hom to tell him where I need to go - so he does. I ask the guy if he has a car - he says no but he has a motorbike - I ask him if my big backpack will fit - he says yes - we make a deal 500R and off we go. Big backpack in between us and small backpack hung over one of my arms - as that looks cooler then having both arms in the backpack. Yes I am cool - I am hanging on to the guys jacket - I am cool until I get off the motorcycle and see the big sweat stains on the guys jacket where I have been hanging on - yeah I am cool. Anyway Hom says I made a good deal - on days like this 1000R is more like it.
Now on to my next placement. It's all good !!!! I am really hoping to get pictures up this week - I think I am now close to 600 pictures.