Out on the bike!
Tuesday and I feel pants again, clearly my meal choice last night was not the best. Oh well, c'est la vie, just means we miss morning Yoga.
Still we have plans for the day, not a lot of sitting around going on here. We have arranged to borrow Devika's motorbike. Not that either of us has a licence, but apprently that is not necessary to ride a bike over here. Thankfully Ewan has ridden a bike before, albeit many years ago, off road, some dirtbike or something, oh and he used to sit on the back of his Dad's scooter, so we should be okay then huh?!!
We hire a helmet for Ewan, we are taking no chances over here, before we head off to Sarangkot, where you can get really good views of the Annapurna Himalaya (although the views from town are fairly special at this time of year when the skies are clear - the paragliders have been out in force since we arrived, all taking off from Sarangkot).
Off course this is not the smoothest of rides. I am sitting behind Ewan and have every confidence n his ability to operate the bike although we do seem to stop and start quite often, quite tricky in the middle of busy roundabouts! Plus of course we are not quite sure where we are going so get lost before we finally find our way up the steep hairpin bends to the top of the hill (quite some hill).
I am still not feeling great but feel it is only fair to trek the 30 minutes from the bike park (well an area where we can leave the bike by some women in exhange for a small fee)up to the top of Sarangkot to see the views. I have been up here before with Devika for sunrise, but now it is the middle of the day and the walk is rather taxing, my legs feel like lead and Ewan pushes me up the final bit (bless him, he usually does this for say a minute and then lets me go so that the next step is really difficult, but this time he pushes me the whole way!).
The views are stunning and the walk was well worth the effort. We stop on the way back down the hill at an eldery lady's cafe for some tea (see, it is all about the tea over here!) and water. The lady has rotten teeth and is very pleased to show us her Hong Kong coins that someone gave to her. So we leave her a Guernsey pound note and buy one of her anotated views of the Annapurna range, and she gives us some free postcards, bless her, sometimes it is not all about the money.
So we get back on the bike and head out to Begnas Lake via the old Pokhara town. This is where things start to get a little hectic but lucky old me as I get to switch off as Ewan has to really concentrate on all the obstacles around him. The roads are terribel over here, tons of pot holes, like tons of pot holes, and while people drive on the left, you rarely have a single line of traffic as bikes and taxis and buses and trucks all overtake each other, beeping the whole time, so that it is not unusual (in fact it is actually very normal) to find yourself heading literally head to head with an oncoming vehicle, which is overtaking on your side of the road.
Seriously, how on earth I have never seen an accident over here I will never know. But the weird thing is, this crazy traffic system seems to work somehow. At home everyone would be getting realy stressed and suffering with mad road rage, but here people are completely chilled and are very courteous to one another, so that the traffic does manage to flow.
Ad of course it is not just the vehicles on the road, but you also have to keep your eyes out for people crossing the road, wandering cows, stray dogs and anything else that can move really! But Ewan does an incredible job of not riding into anything or anyone. Admittedly I was a little cocnerned when we did stall the bike in the middle of the round about in a crazy part of town, but we lived to tell the tale and we only got shouted at once when i thought we were going down a one-way road so Ewan pulled on the brakes and the minibus behind us had to sway out of his way. We found it all rather entertaining, we weren't going down a one-way road after all!
Begnas is stunning. I have visted previously with Devika but this time the views are clearer. We go to the Japanese resort, which literally sits on the bank of Begnas Lake, and cost a fortune to stay, and eat a very late lunch while sitting on the long balcony chatting to the waiter. Great stuff.
We don't stay long as we are aware that we really need to get back before it gets dark and already the sun is setting. Riding along the road out of Begnas a monkey runs in front of us and across the road. Got to love it! Needless to say we have left it a little late and the traffic in Old Pokhara is rather crazy, what with it being rushhour, and we end up riding back into Lakeside in the dark, whichis testing for Ewan, but leavs him feeling rather elated that he has got us back home in one piece. I never doubted his ability!
We went to Dorje's other cafe, Moondance, for dinner with Moniek and had a good evening catching up on life in Lakeside for Westerners trying to run a business in Nepal. And then another early night!