Nepal/5

26Apr 2017 – Updating KTM – Pokhara

16-17Apr: 3extra nights@Hotel Marshyandi KTM. All flights out are totally booked for the week and looks like there will not be any chance to change tickets. Bought some books to pass time at the hotel courtyard while waiting for Calvin&Sam.

They got in safely and yeah and hats off to them. As a group again, we headed to Pokhara=pool or lake 900m, 30mins flight, 200k west of KTM – 1250hrs flight was delayed until 1515hrs! With a pop of 414,141 in an area of 464.24km2/179.24sq mi, far from the earthquake epicenter, and almost unaffected by the 2015 disaster.

Into our accommodations@Atithir Resort&SPA by 1600+hrs  and out exploring and dinning@Chilly Restro&Bar by Phewa Lake.

Tue 18Apr: up up up on hair-pin-bends on a van to Shanti Stupa/World Peace Pagoda (1999),  a monument to inspire peace, designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace.

Heading down to the lake was stressful on the knees on these narrow stone steps, need to concentrate on every step and good to have our guide Kumar to save me if i fall. How on earth did Dipak managed to walk is his city loafers??

The group in action, not the seniors! contributed with the peddling of the boat around Barahi Island Temple before heading to land.

Quite an amazing scene upon landing – vendors selling their brilliant colours accesories, women in their beautiful colourful saris were having the giggles with the life-vests on.

Bamboo-trees overloaded with birds.

A stroll thru’ town for a bite before heading back to the resort for a massage. Mural-painting, not too common.

Thank goodness, not a real snake. The fruit store is right opposite our resort and surprised that hand-made shoes are still in existence!

Dinner@Fish Tail Lodge, situated on a peninsula with the Fewa Lake on one side and a forest-covered hill on the other, spectacular views, like the idea that you need to pull a boat to get there!

Relaxing cocktails with Harry who knows his birds!  The panorama of Annapurna range and Mount Machhapuchre/Fish Tail were over-power by Mother Nature.

Wed 19Apr: the waiting game@Pokhara Airport where flight was supposed to take off for KTM 0930hrs, delayed flight but action going on with movie making of some teary departure scene. By noon the flight was cancelled.

With 3 extra passengers, we headed back to town for lunch@Thakali Kitchen. 1300hrs on the 200k Prithui Highway to KTM, arr after 2000hrs!

With the conditions of the road in addition on top of bad traffic, it is no wonder that it took 8hrs.

Thu&Fri  20/21Apr: a tourist in KTM.

The golden Swayambhunath Stupa, most commonly known as the Monkey Temple, is the oldest and probably one of the most revered holy shrines in all Nepal Its construction dates as far back as the 5th Century. Was not able to do the 365steps, coughing was bad.

Khokana 8k south of KTM, damaged by the 2015 earthquake was mainly known for the production of rich mustard oil since ancient time. It was also the first town in Nepal to be lit with electricity in 1911.

Durbar Square/Basantapur Darbar Kshetra in front of the old royal palace of the former KTM Kingdom is one of three Durbar/royal palace, Squares in the KTM Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 2015 earthquake destroyed many buildings.

Farewell home-made dinner hosted by Dipak&family. The most tender mutton curry eaten and the rabri rasmalai to die for. The best meal I have had in Nepal, thank you.

On the way to Kumar&family to say our farewells. Thank you for the Tongba तोङवा a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the eastern mountainous region of Nepal and the neighbouring Darjeeling and Sikkim. It is the traditional and indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. Have been wanting to taste this for some days!

2100hrs flight from KTM on SilkAir to SIN delayed to 2230hrs.

Sat 22 Apr 0530hrs: S&S in SIN. Appreciations to Calvin for the evening celebrations@CC. Reflections and food will be updated. There are just sooo much info online and these are just short personal notes for the memory.

Sun 30Apr: edited reflections and food –  getting out of KTM helped with the breathing and the lungs. Dust was really getting to me and started coughing. Trekking was tough as both heart and lungs are not in good shape – feeling blessed to see Everest under the best conditions in spite of not reaching EBC! 3rd world countries are not on my travel list, it saddens me to see conditions where I feel so helpless. Just goes to show how much I wanted to see the world’s tallest mt!

Additional days in KTM&Pokhara did not help the coughing but that too shall pass and no regrets to have had the opportunities to visit.

IMG_6074IMG_6212Assamese_thali

Nepalese cuisine: Dal-bhat-tarkari दाल भात तरकारी dal is a soup made of lentils and spices. This is served over boiled grain, bhat—usually rice with various varieties of veg, curry, pickles etc.

IMG_5837Chicken_Chow_MeinIMG_6148

Momo—Tibetan style dumplings with Nepalese spices. Chinese-style stir fried noodles but Nepalis have given it their own twist. Plain Tibetan bread which I liked.

IMG_6246The best meal was all the above food, home-made by Dipak’s family. Another thing I tasted a bite of was this wild-picked mushrooms with local potatoes made by the owners@Kyangyump but for their own dinner. Was lucky to get a taste of it.

Would not be fair or objective to comment on the food as my cough and running nose were the culprits to a poor appetite during the entire trip.

‘If the devastating April 2015 earthquake dashed your hopes of visiting Nepal, think again. A year later, this struggling Himalayan country urgently needs tourism, which pre-quake included 800,000 annual visitors and contributed 8.9 percent of gross domestic product. Rest assured Nepal’s rich history, infinite hospitality, and majestic beauty are still there’.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/asia/Nepal/high-time-for-nepal/

It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure – Ernie Harwell

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