Pokhara: On Flying and Boring Tourist Cities

Pokhara: On Flying and Boring Tourist Cities

I really wanted to be a hippie when I was high school. I sewed daisy patches onto my jeans and grew my hair super long. I listened to Lennon and bob Dylan. I was the that kind of obnoxious poser that we all are at 17 when we’re trying to become someone.

It’s too bad I wasn’t in pokhara at 17, cause I would have been in poser -hippie heaven.

Located in the west of nepal, pokhara is a small city that sits alongside of a lake and has some lovely views of the Annapurna mountains. It’s also where everyone who’s gone trekking in the Annapurnas ends up. People who’ve been walking in the mountains for weeks all descend upon this tiny city desperate for showers, ice cream, and a chance to chill out.

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I almost went nuts in pokhara.

When we arrived it a cold rainy day and I was still hobbling from some painful blisters. We spent the day basically eating. In a foolish decision I agreed to go paragliding with a friend the next day.

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I had a lot of nerves about paragliding but was feeling adventurous. We arrived at the office at 11 for our 11:30 departure…. Where we then waited for about 2 hours with no news about why we were being delayed. Finally we were stuffed in a car with other tourists. Afte driving for 20 minutes thru pulled over and demanded my friend Jeremy and I get into another car. Just us.

We loaded into a another car filled with cranky French men who were the paragliding pilots. They continued driving, then the road was closed so we walked about 3k and then loaded all 18 of us into a mini van, but when it tried to go uphill, it started rolling down towards a cliff! They unloaded most of the people and tried again. I was dying laughing ( I grew up in a third world country) and finally we reached the top.

My cranky French pilot strapped me into the gear while screaming obscenities at some poor soul, then off we went. It was quite amazing to be flying over the rice paddies with the stunning mountains in the background. I could see Eagles flying around us and I was shocked by how peaceful I felt. A year ago I never would have tried it.

Maybe thats the thing about travelling I love most. It forces your comfort zone to expand outwards at a exponential rate. Things that seemed unthinking a year ago become the norm. A year ago I couldn’t have jumped off a cliff, but after the craziness of living in Asia, jumping off a cliff isn’t that scary anymore. You realize that the really scary things in life, the things that can really hurt you, are the things that pop up on a weekday while you’re drying your hair. Jumping off cliffs, trekking in mountains, even getting chased by cows, these aren’t the things that a girl needs to worry about (maybe getting chased by cows).

My flying expeienced ended when we landed in a field of cows and my cranky French pilot started screaming at people again.

I never stopped laughing

The rest of my time in pokhara was sort of a mess. We tried go bike riding but I got sick, went basically catatonic, and sort of threw up everywhere. We rented a boat in a polluted lake that was ok but not amazing. The company was great but the city was clearly set up to just entertain tourists. There were no locals around and it was just…. Boring

I did enjoy the cows though. Nepal, like India, consider cows to be holy animals and they use this status to take naps in streets. Unfortunately due a trekking incident where I was chased by a water buffalo (for reals- it tried to kill me) I’m now terrified of cows.

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I think my main issue with pokhara was I was really sad that our trek was over. I didn’t take all this time to travel just to sit around cafes and I have very little tolerance for shopping as an activity. The more I travel the more I realize there are definite things I love, like beautiful scenery and delicious food, but having this whole town manufactured to let foreigners walk around in hippie clothes, eat chinese food and drink cheap cocktails was just strange and not something I seek out on my travels

I was happy when I boarded the bus back to Kathmandu. But the paragliding was amazing.Paragliding in Pokhara