Pokhara, Nepal

by Andrew Stein

Pokhara was a nice change from Kathmandu. Calmer, cleaner, and more picturesque, Pokhara was the city from where I began and ended my trek. The Lakeside shops and restaurants were fun, vibrant, and all with a fantastic view, especially when the clouds would cooperate. Just before the trek, it was a bit surreal to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine as the television footage would cut in and out with the electricity.

After returning from my trekking adventure, I had a couple extra days before continuing on to Europe and decided to spend most of that time in Pokhara instead of Kathmandu. The speed and atmosphere of the town was much more pleasant. During this time, I rented a bicycle and toured around the different neighborhoods, visited the Ghurka museum, tried to visit the mountaineering museum (but was turned away by a worker’s strike), and caught up on emails and journaling. In addition, many of the friends I made throughout the trek were still there and we shared stories and dinners. Unfortunately, the day I chose to leave, the bus system employees were striking. I needed to get back to Kathmandu in order to catch my flight the next day, but all buses had been canceled. My only choice was to fly the very short, roughly 30-minute flight from Pokhara airport. The strike affected more than just buses as it was impossible to find any transportation to the airport, so I had one final trek as I walked to the airport alongside Bill and Susan from San Diego from my hotel who were also doing the same thing.

Pokhara

In the terminal while waiting for my flight, I had the small world experience of running into a couple who lives only 15 minutes away from me in the San Francisco Bay Area. Setareh and Salvador were very friendly and talking with them made the short wait and even shorter flight literally and figuratively fly by. When we boarded the plane that seats maybe 20 people, the captain soon emerged and started by saying, “Unfortunately, the flight has been delayed…”. I held my breath waiting for him to say because of a strike and then it would be almost impossible to get back to Kathmandu, but I was relieved when he finished his sentence with “… because of bad weather in Kathmandu.” The weather in Nepal had been changing so quickly that I am confident the wait cannot be too long. Although we were shuttled back into the waiting area, we only had to stall about 20 minutes before re-boarding the plane and taking off.

Pokhara airport