19. When couchsurfing becomes a bussiness. Kathmandu-Pokhara-Sarangkot-Panchase

After our last two cs experiences in Kathmandu we were curious of our new host. We wanted to spend just few days in Kathmandu to relax after the trek before we go to the West. Our host turned out to be a nice 40-years old lady living with her husband and running a travel agency. ‘Travel agency’ sounded suspicious but in the end she didn’t want to sell us any tour and we had to pay just for food (nothing for free in Nepal). She was a sweet woman though and she really wanted to give us as much time as she could. The life experienced her painfully as after being forced to get married in age 13, having 2 kids and finally a divorce she had to work hard in Israel as her new partner didn’t support her at all. Like many Nepalese he abused alcohol what he showed gifting us a bottle of wine and drinking it alone. I hope few honest conversations with Aruni convinced her to find strenght to start a new happy life alone. In Kathmandu we had some time to spoil ourselves by good food and huge pizzas for our 1 year anniversary. We washed our clothes as after the trek they were kind of ‘compressed’ and we had a chance to visit Bhaktapur as well. Durbar square was seriously damaged by the earthquake but it was still worth it even though it took time to find a secret way to avoid paying an expensive ticket. After saying goodbye to Aruni and getting to the other side of the city we started our hitchhiking experiment even though we knew it would be hard.

Ladies and gentelmen – Dal Bhat.

And as we thought, it was. We could hardly see any vehicles on the road and the only one that stopped was a track whose driver asked for money. He took us halfway and the second half we had to go by bus. We reached Pokhara in the evening and stayed in the hotel that was probably the worst we’ve ever seen. At least it was cheap. Next day we met our host, Binayak,very funny and cheerful guy who had a travel agency as well (what a surprise). He shared with us his American-Nepali love story that ended with marriage which didn’t last too long (his wife left to US recently without giving a reason). Well, if you choose Nepali dream at least be sure you won’t change your mind… During 2 days we saw most of Pokhara, including the lakeside that is the centre of hippie gatherings. We’ve visited also the waterfall, caves and World Peace Stupa and managed to extend our visas for 2 more weeks. During a mini cs meeting we met a nice Czech online marketer and a German girl who really wanted to go with us for a trek. As she was a proper German (Miss ‘Yes, I’m always right’) we decided that going to Sarangkot alone would be much more pleasant.

Phewa lake in Pokhara

My throat infection delayed our trek a little bit as I was much weaker but in the evening we got to the top of the mountain where we found a nice cheap guesthouse run by lovely family. Beautiful sunset seen from the rooftop convinced us to stay there 2 nights and have some time to relax. As the visibility was quite bad that time we woke up early for the sunrise in order to see a stunning view of Annapurna range from the viewpoint. Trying to admire the views we slowly gave up being surrounded by young teenagers running around with Iphones and trying to take a picture with us. In Sarankot we learned one thing- always order a dinner in Nepal at certain time otherwise you will starve looking how the lady is cooking your dinner for 4 hours. Gas shortage, haha.

Village on the way to Panchase

As we didn’t want to pay for trekking permit again we chose a short free trek to Panchase relatively untouched by tourism. In small traditional villages life goes much slower, people living in bamboo & clay huts are much more friendly and open for the others. The same with kids, although they usually want chocolate or money from you. One group actually prepared a donation sheet on a piece of paper explaining in poor English that we could help giving them few hundreds of rupees. Smart asses. The first night we spent in Bhadaure- tiny village that reminded me medieval times. We had a huge plate of Dal bhat there and few puffs with French guys who were going the same way. We reached Panchase next day and a little disappointed (village contained 2 guesthouses and that’s it) we spent the whole day in our bamboo hut. We met 2 French guys (girl & boy) there (the rest left) with whom we had a great dinner being entertained by a crazy owner and his friend who had a little too much of roxy and started to flirt with a French guy. Nice people, relaxed and honest atmosphere. We needed such evening for a long time.

The last Dal bhat with French guys

After reaching the top of Panchase mountain and taking few pictures of Annapurna range we started to head back to Pokhara with French guys. We were lucky to get a tractor ride in the end of the trek so we reached the city before Antoine and Sophie as they preferred to walk. Our host was busy so we found a hotel that the French guys recommended. After our experience with Israelis we were pretty reserved towards the group but we’ve both agreed that by not expecting too much we won’t be disappointed. That’s why we had a dinner alone in an amazing Turkish restaurant where we could finally try something different than Dal bhat. That was the last place where we could enjoy a little bit of comfort before going to the west.


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