Travel Journal Overview: Mountain vistas, world peace stupas, and tourist galore – boy was I happy. Yet as always, my mind was set on planning.
Being awake before the alarm, having the taxi’s number already displayed on the phone and waking up Myoko five minutes before the arranged time were all sure fire indications I was back on track. I was awake again, feeling the surge that one feels just before a trip.
Even after 40 minutes in taxi only to discover that there were 70 plus Indians already at the look out view did not hamper my mood.
was a traditional look out view for a small section of the Annapurna range. Famous for its brilliance of dawn colors.
It was nice, even with the crowd of noisy Indian families. After several minutes of pretty good Indian style queue skipping I had my tripod set up I captured some nice landscape shots of dark ice caps coming to life with orange flame. The hustle of the crowd and Myoko’s enjoyment of standing at the skeptical meant I would disappear to the rear of the crowd and wait. The sunrise was not as spectacular as everyone had said, nice, but not great. An over exaggeration on the part of tourism again.
In two days it would be the start of a new adventure. And later today I would be interviewing the guy to guide me up into my first experience of a mountain trek. Strangely I was more concerned about the guide, and the Maoists than the actual terrain and the possibilities of being stranded up there due to bad weather. Many people had completed the trek, and I had never heard of any bad reports other than Maoists and bad guides. Then again, not many people would publish the fact they failed.
The sky was changing color. From a now dull flaming orange the ice capped peaks began to flash dazzling pinks. The sky was lighting up and putting on a spectacular new display. Bollox! It had only just begun when I had left my clear vantage point to some young bored and whingeing Indian child.
The crowd had grown thick and full, as if sensing a past participant had not been patient enough to wait and now wanted re-entry. An opportunity presented itself beside a small group on Japanese as they made a fuss by a narrow ledge. Taking the tripod I goat like jumped down a few rock steps and landed on a narrow earthy terrace, alone and with a prime view of natures dawn light display.
Pinks, oranges and finally fiery reds illuminated the white peaks of the mountains. Almost deifying the fact that they were in displaying brilliant ice caps. It was a skeptical that reminded me not to leave a movie until the credits were well and truly running.
Myoko was good company. Quite yet interesting, with a gentle sort of humour. The solo Japanese lady was happy to see me take the paddles of our boat across the lake. And even happier to see us race an India family across, and win. We climbed the 45 minute mountain and saw why the world was at war. The World Peace Stupa was closed. Under renovation. The views of lake Phewa Tal were nice. Not the super reflective infamous double view on the Annapurna range displaying off its still water. More of a ripple effect.
I was tempted to hike out to another area to try and get some better photographs. But seeing a small village, and the tell tale sight of multi colored prayer flags in the opposite direction meant a short trek to a local hill top café. Here the view had transformed into a milestone for me.
The tree tops were no longer obscuring the lakes view. The ice capped mountain range were visible both behind the lake and in the lakes still reflection. Orange blossomed flowers surrounded out little table as a small bird darted between the petals.
My mind wandered back 8 years to another continent and I smiled in my own reflection. My old travel friend Johann had told me of this place. His description was so graphic it had formed an image in my mind that had settled on what was before me now. 8 years ago I was making him a promise that was genuine. A promise that I too wanted to see such closely guarded and privileged beauty. Now I was here. It was good.
The idea of sitting there for the rest of the day was one I could have lived with easily. Yet for once I was with someone, and she wanted to move on. It might have been to her loss though as soon I was acting like a school kid. We had made our way further along from the café and into an area surrounded by multicoloured prayer flags.
Little bright blue, yellow and white flags were draped in a mixed up tattered way in between and through the local foliage. Each tiny little triangular flag had minuscule black writing on it in Nepalese script. Some fluttered high between the spread out trees, others rustled thickly through denser brush. We stood in the middle, surrounded on all sides by colour. Enjoying the warm sun, the cool breeze and the feeling of life.
Between the trees and behind bright colors of the prayer flags hung the awesome mountains. It was a surreal feeling. As flags rustled, I thought of how I could again spend a day just sitting there. Myoko had little choice, and I think she was of similar mind as well. I sat on the grass. I took 300 photographs. I peaked out from as many vantage points as possible. I had found my own most spectacular view.
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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