Just got back from a completely lovely weekend break in Pokhara. Almost completely lovely. 😛

I’d met a really cool American girl named Jenna and we decided to head out to Pokhara together on a beautiful rainy Sunday morning. We had ourselves two seats on the finest of air-conditioned tourist buses, guaranteed by the friendly man at the travel agency to be the best tourist bus available for the price. It was decidedly not-exactly what he had promised. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it was pretty much like every other normal bus out there. The lack of air-conditioning turned out to be a big bonus when the girl in front of us started throwing up about half an hour into the journey and didn’t stop the entire time. I should have taken that as a premonition of the weekend to come, but I was too busy reading The Kite Runner and feeling awesome for being able to read on a moving bus without throwing up.

When we got to Pokhara we had no idea of where we were going. The GPS on my phone broke a long time ago and to be honest I really miss it. I’m sure it’s good for my sense of direction to not rely on it, but it is incredibly handy when you don’t know where you are to stop yourself getting fleeced by taxi drivers. But I didn’t have it, so we got fleeced. The first place we stopped was terrible and too far from the lake so we got the guy to drive us right to the shore. We found a place that looked great and was practically brand new. I bargained them down from 1200 to 900 and finally to 600 for a nice big room and beautiful ensuite bathroom. The only thing we asked for was that they had 24-hour hot water, and they assured us that they did. Fantastic! After the extremely temperamental hot water in Kathmandu I was ready for a nice long guaranteed hot shower.

We went for a walk down to the lake to have a look around. Apart from the intermittent rain, it was really nice. I’d wanted to hire a motorbike to go and look at all the sights but the weather wasn’t really great so we decided to put it off for tomorrow.

We got lunch at this lovely little organic cafe called Black & White. If you have a real dislike for your internal organs I seriously suggest you go there and order the Chicken Tacos. I can guarantee it will be an unforgettable experience. 🙂

That night we went out drinking in town. Pokhara town is actually a really cool little place, all the bars are on one walking street, and they all have great live music. I saw the best bass player I’ve seen in 5 months playing at a place called Busy Bee. They are mad keen on live rock bands in Nepal but it’s pretty hit-and-miss. This band was actually incredible. We went to Amsterdam bar after that to see a vastly less impressive live band playing chilled out AC/DC and Cold Chisel covers. It’s about this time I start feeling a bit queasy. Like quite bad. Really not that good actually.

Jenna finishes our drinks and we start walking home. A few taxis pull up and refuse to take us for a reasonable price, so we walk in the rain. Eventually one of them doubles back and agrees on the price we asked for. I am extremely grateful for this until he drives straight past our road and then demands more money to turn around and take us back. We just get straight out and walk off. I make it back to the hotel and lie down on the bed. I am not feeling good at this point, but thinking that I just drank too much. Suddenly I feel a massive clenching in my stomach, and the feeling of a thousand feet stampeding for tickets to the Chunderdome. I launch myself at the bathroom door and step inside. The floor is completely wet. My foot slides out under me, I cut my other foot on the tiled entrance to the bathroom, my head hits the floor. And I puke like I have never puked before.

Jenna comes in to find me lying in an almost perfectly circular pool of vomit approximately the size of my body. Tough though she is, this is too much, and she barely makes it to the window before chucking up everywhere. I am groaning and making weak attempts to regain consciousness. Eventually I manage to pull myself up and turn the shower on.

Remember how we asked for hot water? There is none. Not once on this trip did we get a warm shower. I sit under the freezing water and think about how much I love eating strange foods in foreign countries. After a lot of effort with the shower and the toilet hose I manage to clean the whole bathroom up, and finally get back to bed. For about 5 minutes, and then I’m sprinting to the bathroom again. This carries on for approximately the next 2 hours, long after I’m only dry heaving. And then the diarrhea starts. In a stroke of brilliance, the designers of the hotel positioned the sink so that you can throw up into it while also sitting on the toilet. Absolute genius. I spend the night alternating between bed, the toilet, and thinking pleasant thoughts about Nepalese architects.

About 8am things finally calm down. We’d planned to get up early that morning to see the sunrise, but luckily it was raining heavily. I sleep through until about 2pm and we spend the rest of the day watching movies in bed. By that evening I’m actually feeling pretty good so we head out somewhere safer for dinner and order some more cocktails. Hey, alcohol kills bad bacteria right??

The next morning we get up at 5am and it’s actually not raining! We walk down to the lake front and watch the skies lighten. The mountains rise out of the clouds like a long forgotten promise. The world is quiet and yesterday seems like a distant memory. This is the view at 5:30am.

We get breakfast on the way back and anticipate the possibility of a proper shower. We’d complained the entire day before and they assured us that today would have hot water. There is none. That’s it, it’s raining again outside and we’ve had enough of Pokhara. We decide to jump on a local bus and head back to Kathmandu. After a lengthy argument with the hotel owner we get the rooms for half the price we were supposed to pay and take a taxi to the bus station. At the ticket counter the four guys there argue between themselves about the price and keep dropping it. Finally they agree that it should be 930 rupees for the two of us. We buy the tickets and get on the bus.

Queue 6 hours of the bus ride from hell. Don’t worry, not for us, it was hell for everyone else on the bus. We spent the entire 6 hours making up terrible puns and cracking ourselves up. I think everyone on that bus genuinely hated us.

Probably the best bus ride of my life. 🙂

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