Travel Journal Overview: With few tourists around I used my pre-Christmas days to prepare for my trek. But, it was Christmas time. I needed to unwind. Would the past come back and distract me again, or had I learned my lesson from 3 years previously.
The clouds had ease away and the mountains were visible again today. So be it, a better day. I wanted to get a move on with getting the trek sorted. So far I had figured out I would need a guide. It was winter, and every trek place or person I spoke with all came to the same conclusion about the weather. Snow was either here, or on the way, and the paths could be blocked.
The other reason I decided for a guide was that no one else seemed to be doing the full Annapurna Circuit. If roads were blocked and the weather bad and you are in a group, at least you have company. I was resigned to going without a group. And being stuck up in a mountain alone in worsening weather was not a fun idea. There was another reason too. The Maoists were striking out at tourists for money and in one case violence.
It was with a brief chat with Chubby that he showed be a newspaper front page displaying the photograph of bloodied Swiss man who had stayed with him two weeks ago. Apparently he had run into some Maoists looking for a “Donation” at a bridge. Got a bit upset at having to essentially bribe them and pushed past. The push had been too strong and the Maoists saw it as aggressive and took some sticks to him.
Chubby wanted 530 Euro for a 3 week trek. That was not going to happen. I spent the whole day going into ever guide store in town. The average rate was $16 per day. Still a lot to me. I did meet a man on the street offering $10 per day, but I think that was mainly to fuel his alcohol breath.
I failed again at a fish lunch. I went for a slightly better Daal Bhat and also treated myself to some local wine. Although it tasted more like raw vodka, with similar effects too. That did not help when I got back to the Dharma Inn reception. The ultra cheap 500Rupee sleeping bag I had bought for the trek was still not back from cleaning. In fact as I peered past Chubby’s brother Ruben I saw it still sitting there unwashed for two days.
I lost the plot. Ruben was one of those ‘cool’ middle aged guy’s who always wore a baseball cap and really never brought their brains out of hibernation. I made quite the scene. Even managed a dramatic slamming of fist on the table type move. This in a reception with new guests around was quite interesting.
It did not stop Peter and tall young Irish guy from talking with me anyway. He had just arrived and was wondering if there was anything to do at night here. I racked my brains. I really wanted to get out and have a beer. I had yet to have a night out in Pokhara, and now this guy was asking for advice. I thought back to Bob’s list from Varanasi. He’d mentioned a place called the Busy Bee. So we agreed to meet there later.
The Nepalese wine really went to my head. A shower later and I was off to the Busy Bee. True to his promise Peter showed up and we had some beers over a conversation involving my travel through Pakistan and Iran. Always a good conversation started. A giant sizzling steak later and we were joined my a Swiss couple Peter had just been trekking with to the Annapurna Base camp. I was back and passed out by 1am
Some related links on this website that you might like: (including a lot more photographs from Nepal)
Resources: How to Guide – Nepal to Tibet Overland
Resources: How to hire a guide in Nepal
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