Walking around the village
27.03.2016 - 31.03.2016 18 °C
After a week or so of overloading on carbs (see previous post), and not much exercise other than the walk to and from school – 15 minutes downhill to get there, and 20 minutes uphill to get back – something had to be done. Gently floating the idea of after-school walks around the village and surrounding hills, and including Dipak and Samir in the plans, seemed to sufficiently reassure everyone that I couldn’t come to much harm. So far we’ve managed every second day, due to the unseasonal stormy weather in the area this week.
The main objective has been to explore around the ‘top of the hill’, with its views of the Annapurna range, Phewa lake and Pokhara. The first time, our walk had to be cut short because the thunder came rolling in and the sky went black in a matter of minutes. But along the way we had a lovely walk through the Brahmin neighbourhood where Dipak lives, past Samir’s grandfather’s house, and up to the tidy little tourist camping ground. Samir’s dog, Tiger, joined us for a short time, but I suspect he already knew about the weather and took the option to return home quite hastily. We took the quick/easy way back and beat the downpour just in time.
Our second attempt at the same route, two days later, was much more successful. It had been a relatively clear day, and the weather was holding. Although I try not to let the power of dismissing class go to my head, on this particular day there had been a legit reason (can’t remember…), so we were able to set out on our walk a little earlier.
Samir’s a funny little guide – he can’t quite strike the right balance between showing the way, and using his manners to invite me to walk ahead of him. But by this time I already knew the way to Dipak’s house, so I was at least able to take the lead until we arrived there to collect him. This time when our strange little rambling club arrived at the camping ground, we were able to keep going, up to the top of the hill.
Such a reward – the views were breathtaking! You’re not really meant to be able to see the snow-capped mountains at that time of day, so I was really surprised to see them poking through the late afternoon clouds. While the boys horsed around I took it all in, and tried not to have a heart attack watching them play so close to the edge. My other surprise was to realise how far along Phewa lake the village is. I had thought we were just over the hill from Pokhara, but you can see in the photos that the city is at a distance.
After we’d had our fill at the main vantage point, we walked across the ridge to the picnic ground for a different perspective, and to watch the sun begin to sink in the west. Every so often the boys would disappear into the bush and return with handfuls of tiny little wild raspberries - orange/yellow in colour, sweet and delicious.
On the way home we stopped at Samir’s house to play with all the baby goats (kids, I guess) born in the past week or so. Cuteness overload – both the human kids and the goat kids.
The most recent walk was of a different kind. Not so great for the exercise, but invaluable for the cultural insight. Prakash decided to come with us, and he took us further around the valley to see the different styles of houses and living conditions of the different castes, and to meet some new faces. I couldn’t help but feel that I had been given a glimpse of Nepali life that most western visitors would never see.