Friday, July 01, 2016

Last days of Nepal

Our last few days in Pokhara were uneventful. We wiled away the time wandering the town shops and stopping here and there for coffee and bites. At 1 stop at a little street cafe, the young proprietor explained that Pokhara was a part-time home and his other enterprise was guiding on Mount Everest. He had summitted twice and when we asked him if he knew Tenzing Norgay, he said "Oh yeah, he was my neighbour up there." (Tenzing Norgay: With Sir Edmund Hillary, he was 1 of the first 2 to reach the summit.)

It was the looming wet and overcast that kept us close to our hotel and the "Delhi Belly" even closer to it. After a day of expelling fluids, and with our departure date looming, I checked into the small tourist hospital for some intravenous rehydrating, tests, and the prescribed remedy meds. Judy stayed at my side, waiting for my recuperation. I was barely stabilized in time for the return to Kathmandu.

Hydrating in the hospital

It was unfortunate that the weather didn't cooperate to expose the dramatic mountain scene that is the highlight of this place, however we did get some glimpses on our bus ride back to Kathmandu.

The first half of our last day in Nepal had us wandering the back alley shops in Kathmandu.

Crowded street-alley

Pallet of bright wool colours

The last and most pleasant venue was our juxtaposed visit to the Garden of Dreams. Here, stepping through the entry gates was like travelling through a portal from 1 extreme world to an opposite extreme.

Outside the Garden walls was Kathmandu's chaotic street scene complete with the din of honking, jostling traffic of all sorts, incessant horn blaring, barking dogs, fumes from exhaust and who knows what else, and hemmed in by buildings lacking any architectural merit let alone any code compliance!

But stepping into the serene Gardens, it was as if time slowed down. One could easily imagine royals of days gone by, lounging in the tranquil setting.

Garden of Dreams

Serene lotus pond

The meticulously maintained grounds featured cloistered walks, lotus ponds, tastefully planted greenery, terraces, and benches that invited quiet contemplation. There was a chic little cafe set in 1 of the Garden's classical buildings where on the raised veranda we lazed over a light lunch welcoming a respite from the world outside.

Most peaceful terraced cafe

There were extremes in Nepal to be sure, and it's good to experience all types, but it was nice to get back to Sea Turtle in Phuket Thailand where our real life and story continues.