farewell to pokhara & back to kathmandu

Monday, January 21: After seeing the sunrise at Sarangkot, we head back to the hotel where I have some hot coffee and an omelet.  I’m tired from waking up so early, so I take a hot bath, since ~ surprise, surprise! ~ there is hot water this morning.  Sadly, I’m still not able to wash my hair because there’s no electricity for the blow-dryer!  On my balcony, I admire my last stunning, and unclouded, views of the Himalayas.   I put my pajamas back on and climb back into bed.  I read What I Loved for a good long time and then nap for a bit longer.

one last view of the Himalayas from my balcony in Pokhara

one last view of the Himalayas from my balcony in Pokhara

When I get up again, I go out into town to continue the shopping spree I started yesterday.  I buy a necklace of silver, coral, turquoise and shell, some silver rectangular earrings with inlaid turquoise and coral, an amazing wooden Nepali mask to hang on a wall, and a book of short stories by Nepali writers.   I also buy a backpack for the hike I will do the day after tomorrow from Nagarkot to Changu Narayan.

last views... :-)

last views… 🙂

I go back to my favorite restaurant, Love Kush, and order the same sizzling grilled fish I had for dinner last night.  Some things are just that good.  Then I walk back to the hotel to pack up all my newly purchased goods so I can fly back to Kathmandu.

lunch at Love Kush

lunch at Love Kush

inside Love Kush

inside Love Kush

sizzling grilled fish... delicious. :-)

sizzling grilled fish… delicious. 🙂

I’m scheduled for a flight on Yeti Airlines at 1:15, but there is not a single airplane in evidence at the airport.  They tell us the flight is delayed and they’re not sure when it will arrive.  They do make the wait quite comfortable, as they invite passengers to go to the outdoor rooftop cafe for a snack.  I’m still engrossed in my book, so I take a seat, order an orange Fanta, and read my book in the warm sun while I wait patiently for the plane to arrive.

the deserted Pokhara airport.  Where's the plane?  Any plane will do.

the deserted Pokhara airport. Where’s the plane? Any plane will do.

Travel can sometimes be a daunting challenge.  In my early days of traveling,  I used to get upset if things didn’t go exactly as planned.  However, I have learned the slow and hard way that I must just LET GO!!  I have to just shrug off inconveniences, otherwise I will ruin my vacation!  Once my peace of mind is thrown off kilter, I may as well write off an experience.  I think the biggest endurance test for me was my 3-week trip to India in March of 2011.  My friend Jayne and I encountered so many hardships and irritations and problems, that we found ourselves wishing we were in Europe, Italy in particular, sitting at outdoor cafes and enjoying the easy life.  We were NOT enamored of India and its trials and challenges, though we found the country and the culture fascinating on many levels.

the rooftop cafe at the airport

the rooftop cafe at the airport

In Nepal, I’ve often been cold, especially at night, with little reprieve,  no place to go to warm up.  I’ve endured no electricity, bad roads, lack of internet services, and flight delays.  Either Nepal is not the hardship that India was, OR I’m just getting used to these inconveniences.  I think that’s a good thing if I am learning to shrug things off and not get too upset by them.

The plane finally arrives at 1:45, at which time everyone piles into the aircraft.  This time I make sure I’m one of the first onboard because I want a left seat, so I can see the Himalayas from the air this time.  I find one and I get some great views, although the mountains are hugged by puffy clouds at this time of day.

airplane view of the Himalayas

airplane view of the Himalayas

When I arrive back to Kathmandu Guest House, the first thing I do is take a long hot bath, wash my hair, and read my book again.   Later, I go out to dinner at New Orleans restaurant.  This restaurant, like all others I’ve encountered in Nepal, has an outdoor courtyard dining area.  In addition it has a heated room, partially open to the courtyard but with space heaters.  I sit inside by the heater.  I just have a light snack and an Everest beer, and then go back into my room, where I get warm under the covers and dive back into my book.  I have an early day tomorrow, as I’m going to Bhaktapur and then up to Nagarkot to spend the night.

the "warm room" at New Orleans Cafe in Kathmandu

the “warm room” at New Orleans Cafe in Kathmandu

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sunrise in sarangkot

Monday, January 21:  Last night, the hotel clerk told me that someone would knock on my door at 5 a.m. this morning.  This unknown person was to wake me up so I could head with a driver up to Sarangkot, the ridge north of Phewa Tal, to see the sunrise.   At 1590 meters, it’s the most popular of the mountain viewpoints around Pokhara.  The mountains appear closer than from the World Peace Pagoda, at 1113 meters, but not as many of them are visible.

Annapurna Himal & Machhupuchhre before sunrise

Annapurna Himal & Machhupuchhre before sunrise

the peak of Fish-Tailed to the right.

the peak of Fish-Tailed to the right.

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Luckily I set my alarm.  Had I depended on the hotel staff to wake me up, I would have missed the sunrise.  I wake up, toss on some clothes, and go downstairs, where the reception area is dark and a person is snoozing in a sleeping bag on the floor.  It turns out that I wake him up!!  He hops up, rushes around and makes phone calls to the driver, who has seemingly forgotten his commitment.

Machhupuchhre, commonly known as Fish-Tailed

Machhupuchhre, commonly known as Fish-Tailed

the first powdering of sunlight on the peak

the first powdering of sunlight on the peak

blushing mountain peaks

blushing mountain peaks

When he arrives, we drive quite a long way up the mountain in the dark and then walk up to a terrace with tables and chairs for viewing, along with lots of other tourists.  I order a cup of coffee and try to get in a good position.  I figure out shortly that there is no one perfect position.  One spot looks north, out over Pokhara Valley and the Himalayas.  The other looks east, toward where the sun will rise.  To the south is Phewa Tal and the town of Pokhara.  To get a good view, I have to keep moving around, to wherever the best views are in the different light.

the rose hue slides further down the mountain

the rose hue slides further down the mountain

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We stay for quite a long time, enjoying each moment of the sunrise.  Before sunrise, we can see the white peaks of the Annapurna Himal and Machhapuchhre, glowing and hovering above the pinpricks of light from the town in the valley below.  As the sun rises, the snow-covered peaks gleam like a smile.  Once the sun peeks over the horizon, a rose-colored hue settles like a blush over the peaks.  Breathtaking.

the sun breaks over the horizon

the sun breaks over the horizon

...and colors the sky

…and colors the sky

mountains

mountains

breaking out

breaking out

Himalayas

Himalayas

me & the mountains :-)

me & the mountains 🙂

a new day

a new day

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?  ~ E.M. Forster

sunrise over Phewa Tal

sunrise over Phewa Tal