Monday, October 18, 2010

On the Beaten Path

Everyone I had met who had been to Nepal had their stick-shift in fifth gear, so to speak, over Pokhara.  So I was eager to get here, and I have to say, it's pretty much lived up to the hype.  Lakeside Pokhara is a tourist oasis, a long strip of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels with any amenity a weary traveler could want.  The strip runs along Phewa Tal, a lake surrounded by mountains and an entire panorama of snow-capped Himalayas that reflect off the blue water.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, a status I do not bestow lightly.  Looks a little something like this:

Given all that, I decided to anchor down here for a week or so and live like a real human being: eating three meals a day, reading the newspaper, getting a haircut, enjoying sunset runs around the lake. The Nepalis of course, always seem to get a kick out of my daily jogs, watching the crazy white boy run around in circles for no apparent reason.  On every run at least one or two of them are kind enough to offer to relieve me of my exercise via a ride on the back of their motorcycle.  Not exactly the point, but thanks guys!

As for the haircut, it was performed at a little curbside set-up, and it took a team of two Nepali barbers working in tandem to get the mohawk done right.  At the end of the haircut, one of the barbers started in on a pretty nice head, neck and back massage.  Noah thinks:  "Oh, a massage is included... well who am I to buck their custom?"  Fifteen minutes in, the stylist/masseur informed me that the "massage extra", though of course fifteen minutes into a massage he could have told me it would have cost my left pinkie and I wouldn't have stopped him.

Tomorrow I am starting the Annapurna Circuit, a 2-3 week trek through the Annapurna mountain range, that is supposed to be one of the best hikes in the world.  I am told we might get sporadic internet access throughout the trek in some of the tea houses along the way, but I'm quite sure I won't have time to blog.  So wish me luck and we'll talk about it on the flip side!

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