We finished the trek at Naya Pul and got on our bus to take us to Pokhara a journey of about an hour. During this journey I learned a lot about the chaotic world of Nepali driving and its two rules
Nepali driving rule #1
Frequent use of the horn is compulsory. One toot on the horn is a polite statement “I’m here please take note and if applicable get out of the way. Thank You” Two hoots of the horn is a bit more urgent ” You have ignored my first polite warning. It may have escaped your attention that I am bigger than you and coming through whether you like it or not. For your own safety get out of my way now!” If these two warnings are ignored a prolonged toot on the horn will be forthcoming “I warned you…Its your funeral”
Nepali driving rule #2
If your vehicle is capable of overtaking the vehicle in front you must do so, oncoming vehicles or a blind bend are absolutely no excuse not to do so.
On arrival at our hotel we were treated to a display of the Nepali Reversing Sensor. The drivers mate got out and as the driver reversed banged on the side of the bus, increasing in frequency as the bus neared the wall, until giving the bus an almighty thump to say stop.
On alighting from the bus there was some debate as to whether our driver was the best in the world, as we had arrived in one piece, or the worst thanks to his fanatical dedication to the Nepali driving rule #2. I suppose the fact we arrived in one piece should be celebrated with a gift to the Gods.
Bags were unloaded and it was now time for the presentation of tips and to say good bye and thank you to our porters and guides, except Pasang our senior guide who was to take us for lunch.
Before lunch there was just time to check into our hotel and grab some WiFi. Luxury, a hotel room with aircon and a TV! Pasang then took us for lunch in a restaurant over the road from the hotel. We learnt a little more about Pasang. His next trek was on the Everest Base Camp trip and at the end he hoped to make the two day walk to spend sometime with his family.
The restaurant would have passed muster anywhere in the developed word. Very nicely fitted out, immaculately kept, the only key difference being the price. I had a superb vegetable biryani that was about £2.50.
We had the afternoon free, so Sian and I had a wander, bought the Annapurna Sanctuary tee shirt, as you do. We met up with Kit, Tom, Tony and Peter for a beer and an evening meal.
The following day we all met up for breakfast except the “Lonely Hiker” who was staying an extra few days in Pokhara so he could be truly lonely now. Rich, Clare, Sian and I decided to go accross the lake to the World Peace Temple so we agreed to share a boat. For the equivalent of just under £5 you get a boat with an oarsman, who rows you across, waits a couple of hours for you and then rows you back.
Just after lunch we were picked up and taken to Pokhara airport for the short flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival at Kathmandu we disembarked from the plane onto a bus. We then wait whilst our luggage is unloaded onto a trailer. The trailer is then hitched onto the bus. The bus then goes around to the front of the airport where there is a sign saying baggage reclaim. You go to the far side and your bags are passed over. Simples!
If we thought Kathmandu was busy when we arrived on our first day then we were in for a shock. The only way to describe the roads in Kathmandu as we inched our way to the hotel is “Total Mayhem” There are lots of traffic police with their whistles but I have no idea what they actually do. Anyway we eventually got back to the hotel just in time for a shower before all going out for one last night together.
We walked for about twenty minutes, fighting our way along the busy roads until we reached The Thamel district which was even busier. Eventually we found a bar and then a restaurant and had a great evening. The walk back in the dark was entertaining with at one point Tom disappearing down to his knee in a puddle.
Tomorrow a sightseeing tour of Kathmandu then we fly home.