The gift and the trip to Pokhara
After a nice meal with a hastily employed “guide” last night, dinner was pizza and a glass of wine in the courtyard of a local hotel. The seating area was lit up and sparkled at us, beckoning us to come in from the crowded evening streets, with its live music and beautiful architecture. After he wouldn’t accept a tip, our new guide invited himself to eat with us in exchange for taking us to a money exchange bureau. Fairs fair, I thought. He was very accommodating, but we found it a little odd that he had to ask for directions himself! After a nice meal and a beer he decided he wanted to come with us to Pokhara tomorrow as he had found himself in the terrible predicament of suddenly being in love.. oh dear! There was some confusion about the bill (we were coerced into paying double the actual rate (even longer story!) and afterwards we had a terrible job getting rid of him!
This morning, as we sat down to eat, a carrier bag was delivered to our table. “A gift from Sanjay” was presented to me with a flourish, of a wooly scarf to keep me warm in the mountains. After much giggling from Jade and an embarrassed smile I accepted the scarf.
The suitcase is a talking point and to carry it has been confirmed as a two man job. I have to admit I am slightly ashamed of its weight and feel the need to tell the carriers that it will be slim soon!
The scenery on the way from Kathmandu to Pokhara is so beautiful, it mesmerises you. The lush, green hills, the winding river and layered paddy fields are just so beautiful. We made some new friends on the bus and had a really good time chatting and sharing stories, sweets and samosas. We also stopped regularly to stretch our legs and eat. Great fun….until I had to go to the loo. I tried to stop drinking my water for a while, as going to the toilet in a truck and bus stop in the mountains actually scared me to death! Thank God for Kleenex handy tissues and my beloved hand sanitiser. I have a newfound respect for these items.
We were met at Pokhara bus station by Sarah and Janice, who manage the project and taken to the lovely guest house. I have a nice spacious room with an en suite and electricity for most of the day!
PoD volunteers have use of the top floor of the guesthouse. This consists of our bedrooms aswell as a communal area for storing the resources to help with all aspects of teaching at the placements. We were shown lesson plans, story books, arts and craft items, some musical instruments and educational toys. Sarah the project Manager in Nepal is assisted by Janice, who is also Bindu’s daughter. Both are so lovely and helpful towards us.
After our first dinner in Lakeside, we returned to the top floor and took some time to familiarise ourselves with everything. There are three of us volunteering at this time, Edwina from Brisbane also started her placement with Jade and I. We first met on the bus ride from Kathmandu and liked her straight away! She is here to do filming and photography and will be coming to placements with us. All very exciting!
I was very pleased to discover a roof terrace that leads out from the communal area! I spent some time there taking in the view of the hills, on a clear day you can see the Anapurna range!
After another night of roughly 5 hours sleep (due to the untimely 12am discover that we had wifi at the guest house!!) we were up and getting sorted ready to catch the bus for our 7 hour trip to Pokhara!
Now as gruelling as a 7 hour bus journey sounds, the time actually seemed to fly by! The sights and scenery and the busy bustling Nepali lifestyle is just so fascinating that I found myself quite happy watching this new world fly by whilst the sounds of Bon Jovi filled my headset! (ok so it’s not the most fitting sound track but I just happen to be listening to them at the time!)
On route we met the lovely Sophie and Dipun who were traveling to Pokhara together. Sophie was also from London so it was nice to trade stories of our experiences so far and in return for our tale of Yasmine and her unwanted boyfriend from the previous night Sophie gave us the bus WIFI password! What a star 😉 However… For the full story on Yasmine’s admirer…well you’ll have to ask her! I’m very jealous… I want a scarf gift!!
Once we arrived in Pokhara we were met by Sarah and Janice from POD who took us to Bindu’s where we will be staying for the next two weeks. Bindu’s is amazing, we were so happy and I have to say quite relieved at how nice it is! And the views from the balcony are unique and beautiful….where else can you see an angry man loose his temper with a stubborn cow?
Later on that evening after a little break and some time to unpack we headed into Lakeside with Sarah and Janice for some dinner. We had such a brilliant night with them as well as Edwina who is another volunteer staying with us. The food was fantastic and so was the company! A lot of laughs and fun was had and we are looking forward to more of the same tomorrow when we will be going to be fitted for a Sherpa which is a traditional Nepali dress and this will be followed by a basic Nepalese language lesson!