Bumming Around In Pokhara

Well I’ve been in Pokhara, Nepal for a long time now – it’s going on three weeks! However, I’ve been pretty busy, and I haven’t been too much of a bum. After returning from the trek, I took a 4 day white water kayaking clinic. The clinic was run by Paddle Nepal and was excellent. Day one consisted of paddling across Phewa Lake here in Pokhara, and learning the basics, rescue techniques, and the all important kayak roll. Actually, I don’t think anyone actually got a roll until the second or third day. The next three days were spent on the Lower Seti River, outside of Pokhara. The river was pretty tame, consisting of class 1 & 2 rapids, with a class 3 at the end, but these were enough to send everyone swimming pretty often. It was pretty funny to watch the students, me included, get totally worked by a rapid, while the instructors are floating through sideways nonchalantly, one usually smoking a cigarette.

After my kayak school, I decided to take a class in motorcycle riding, a skill that is very useful in this part of the world. I took the class through Hearts And Tears Motorcycle Club, and I was very impressed. The beginners class was a full day of learning the basics. It’s for people like me who have never been on a motorcycle before. There were only two of us in the class, so it was very personalized instruction, and the instructor was great. By the end of the day we were able to take a short trip over to a small village on the other side of the lake. I enjoyed the class so much, I took the advanced class as well. This was a class in cornering techniques while we went on a 80 kilometer ride on a winding mountain road. The instructor would stop at certain corners, then we would get off our bikes, walk through the corner, analyze the turn, and determine the correct line through it. It was also interesting to watch random riders take the turn, and watch how they all chose the incorrect line, and exit the turn in a bad location in the road. In all, the two days were well worth it. After that, I rented a motorcycle for two days, and practiced cornering in the mountains – very very fun.

One note, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable riding in the US at this point. I think it’s far safer here than anywhere back home. First of all, there are hardly any cars here, it’s mostly other motorcycles on the road. Also, the average speed in the city is probably around 25 mph. On the mountain roads, there are even less cars. The main vehicles on the roads out there are big buses, and big delivery trucks. They also average about 25 mph on the twisty mountain roads. The main thing I’ve had to deal with are the potholes, and occasional monkey running out in front of me.

Now I’m waiting around for the weather to clear up so I can take a paragliding flight. I’ve signed up for a one hour tandem flight through Sunrise Paragliding. The coolest thing, I think anyways, is that they use trained birds, eagles or hawks – not sure which, to find the best thermals. Looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, it’s been cloudy and foggy for the past week or so. I plan to hang out in Pokhara until it clears up and I can take the flight. After that, I plan to trek to Everest Base Camp.