One more before I go

So it turns out we are leaving tomorrow, not today… delayed. But I was fine with that. Had a chance to sleep in, for the first time in a long time, and finally got some real quiet time after the hectic Congo trip and three days of traveling to get to here. And I was able to get my first taste of Nepal’s hills…

A view of Pokhara from the Peace Pagoda

A view of Pokhara from the Peace Pagoda

There is a lovely walk one can do up to the Peace Pagoda, overlooking the lake in Pokhara, where I’m staying at the moment. I had wanted to go yesterday, but with work and getting ready for the trip, I ran out of time. So I headed there today. On my way up I met Prakash, 12. He reminded me immediately of the boys in Jaipur who were my “guides” and took me to the playground! And, in fact, Prakash also wanted to be my guide. Fine with me. Plus he knew some short cuts up to the Pagoda.

Prakash!

Prakash!

It was not a long walk, but a hot and sweaty one (typically for me) and the views were briliant. Just beyond the rolling hills surrounding Pokhara and the lake is the Anapurna Range, among Nepal’s most popular trekking areas. From the looks of the peaks, I can tell why. They were just popping out from beyond low-lying clouds, snow covered and towering. I hadn’t even realized they were there up until today as I couldn’t see them from my vantage point at the hotel. Truly stunning. It’s a shame there aren’t more than 24 hours in a day and more than 30 or so days in a month, because I would love to have the time to trek there as well as in the West… Next time?

But back to Prakash, whose English was impressive. He was a jolly kid, jumping from rock to rock on our walk up and down always offering to carry my water or take my hand on a slippery rock. Once at the top I bought him some soup and while slurping it up he told me his favorite movie is Superman. On the way down I learned he wants to go to America, he loves the song “Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley, and wants to be a professional guide when he grows up. He asked me to send my boyfriend to him so he could be his guide too when he gets to Nepal (I decided not to tell him I didn’t know when he’d arrive as I don’t know who he is yet and so haven’t been able to ask him his travel plans…). And if I come back, I am to show the picture I took of him around town so someone can find him for me and he can guide me again. Sounds good.

So tomorrow I think we are really off. That’s where the 15 hours on a bus comes in. Sort of totally excited about it and sort of think it’s going to be more challenging than the trekking! Here’s to adventure!

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2 Responses to “One more before I go”

  1. Joan says:

    How many clients do you think Prakash gets a day, a week? What’s his fee for guiding a hike like yours? How long did it take? And how does he know “Buffalo Soldier” (which, of course, I don’t)? Does he support himself? Will you see him again?

    We await your account of the 15-hour bus ride!

  2. Danielle says:

    He’s a tough salesman — I ended up giving him about 500 rupees for his efforts, a couple of dollars. He angled for more, but I’d already bought lunch too, so I hoped that was a fair deal… Good at what he does though. It was money well-spent.