That is how Nepal feels after coming from India. Even the relatively peaceful pace of southern India is nothing compared to Nepal, or precisely, Pokhara. Surrounded by the Himalayas on one side and a rather impressive lake on the other, Pokhara is the jumping off point for all the major trekking trails. Annapurna, Fishtail Mountain....others also, but I'm not going to lie, trekking isn't high on my list of things I love so I can't remember any more names.
We arrived here on the tail end of monsoon season, so although we know geographically we are surrounded by enormously beautiful snow-capped mountains, the ever prevailing clouds make it slightly impossible to believe. We did get lucky though...mother nature must have taken pity on us as on Wednesday some of the clouds disappeared for a time and we were able to spot the snowy peaks of two giant mountains. Very exciting.
The lakeside of Pokhara, while being completely set up for tourists, isn't enormously developed, and although restaurants now offer WIFI and internet cafes line the streets, it still has the feel of a chilled out hippie destination of the 70's or 80's. Or my imagined version of what that would be like, anyway. Everybody who comes here is here for the trekking (with the exception, of course, of me) so everybody has that air of unconcerned scruffiness about them (including me)...there are no flashy clubs or bars. Pubs have live bands that play old Chili Pepper songs and Stairway to Heaven....and there is a LOT of U2.
We also made a lovely new friend here who runs a small business that provides jobs for otherwise unemployed village men and women. It's an interesting story and I am going to dedicate another whole entry to it, but that might have to wait until I am home, with a reliable internet connection so I can upload pictures.
So....this is my last blog from overseas. Bit sad really, but mostly unbelievable. The thought of going home is very bittersweet, but at the moment it is just that, a thought. It doesn't feel like anything real. I have been away so long that I have actually forgotten what parts of my house look like and the idea that I will be home on Monday, in one place, with no intention or need to move on to a new place, a new bed, a new town, is quite surreal.
See you soon Adelaide!