Tuesday, June 19, 2012
|Map of Nepal|
The real reason for our visit to Pokhara was to renew our 3 month tourist visas, but the trip was definitely more of a vacation than anything. We walked up and down the main street in Lakeside dozens of times, admiring all the trinkets and souvenirs. There was no shortage of persistent salesmen trying to sell us knives, toys, carvings, clothing, pictures, books, CDs, trekking gear, etc. For many of us, leaving our wallets in the hotel was not an accident.
Though the excursion to Pokhara was for much more than just visa renewals, the process was actually very interesting. After arriving at the immigration office, we were ushered into a small room with bench seats from old cars serving as sofas, to wait while the officials exchanged greetings and told stories about their nights. We were in the room with a lady in hospital scrubs who "works with the FBI" and "preferred not to discuss her occupation." A man at the office was curious as to why my mom wasn't with us to get her visa renewed. My dad answered his question by telling him that she works at the Tansen Mission Hospital, and there had been a bus accident the previous day. He failed to mention that she was not working that week, and I think it helped speed up the whole process. Eventually all the forms were filled out and we gave them to the officials. One of the men asked for a large bribe to do his job, and my dad gave him a little bit extra. When my dad requested a receipt, the man asked how much he should put down. "The amount I paid," said my dad. The man gave back the extra money along with our visas and told us to have a nice day.
|Phewa Lake, Pokhara|
|Nate eating the fish head|
|Nate with the fish head|
On our third day, we woke up early to get a sunrise view of the mountains from Sarangkot. After a taxi ride up most of the mountain, we walked for half an hour to the view point. Along the way we found trash cans (some of the few in Nepal) accompanying signs that prompted us to "safe the naturel for the next." At one point, a man asked for our tickets. We were a few minutes ahead of my dad (and the tickets), and the sunrise was approaching fast. I solved this problem by tagging along with a group of tourists who had tickets and just kind of going with the crowd. The view of the town and hills was spectacular, especially with the sun coming up, but the mountains weren't very clear. We saw planes, ultralights, and para-gliders circling above us, usually heading for the lake or the mountains. That would be a fun activity for next time.
We spent the rest of our time in Pokhara exploring and feasting. Following are some pictures from the remainder of the trip.
|"Pollution Made By Women"|
|Two Person Public Toilets|
More pictures can be found at: https://picasaweb.google.com/NickBeine/Nepal2012
-Post written by Nick