22 April, 2010

Pokhara sights

The conference starts tomorrow so today we had a chance to see some of the sights; first stop, the Bindhya Basini Temple:


Next stop was Devil’s Falls (the point where the Pardi Khola stream vanishes underground)


And finally the Seti River Gorge (a deep narrow gorge through the middle of town). Everyone was taking their photo at this snake sculpture so I figured “why not?” I was given my tika (blessing on the forehead) by an old man at the gorge. I was the last in line and a bit behind since I was taking some photos. The man asked me the infamous question “where are you from” and when I told him he produced an old photo of his father and some guy. He pointed to the guy and said “this is an American with my father”. I had to laugh since he seemed so proud of that photo. He then ‘blessed’ me and I went on my way a bit merrier and lighter feeling.

When we arrived back at the hotel, I was told that they found me another hotel (with about 5 others) so I grabbed my previously packed bag and went to check out my new accommodations. I was very happy with the room and unpacked happily and then set out to check out the area. I returned and was told that we needed to go to the conference hotel because there was a press conference or something. We all crawled once again into the bus and headed down town. I am not sure what really went on in the press conference but the room was full of local journalists and such. After the 45 minute thing we were served a little food and then right when everyone finished it started to lightly rain.

And then a bit harder.


And then a little hail…
AND THEN A DOWNPOUR!

And HUGE HAIL!!!!


The sound on the tin roof was deafening and it felt like the place would collapse any minute! It finally subsided and the sun came out as if nothing had happened and the hail melted in a matter of minutes…but not before the kids emerged from inside and had ‘hail-ball’ fights. I looked up as we left and saw groups of kids on rooftops playing in it. Zooming in I caught them in the act!

As we drove back to the hotel, everywhere people were cleaning up after the hail as kids were collecting it in bags to throw at one another. That’s the closest thing to snow they’ll ever get there.

After the full day a guy at my hotel said that they were going to go to dinner soon and they would knock on my door. About a hour later (around 8 pm) a man and 2 boys said they were going. Now I am getting to know the culture and knew organization is not the strong point here, but I figured we would all group together in the reception area and then go; I was STARVING. Well 4 of us sat there for about 15 minutes and I asked “are the others coming?” and was told “yes” as the guy looked nervously about. 20 minutes later my peaceful demeanor was no longer evident and I just wanted to EAT. I stood up and said, “This is really crazy, will you please go see if the others are coming!” The guy quickly ran off to see what the holdup was and he soon returned with the 3 other men. I have no idea if the others were waiting in their room for us or what –I didn’t even care at that point, I was just excited to be moving.

We went to a restaurant that supposedly knew we were coming, but again, somewhere along the lines the communication was muddled so they had not prepared anything, -assuring us that they would get right on it. We finally ate around 10:00 and the food was probably not very good, but since I hadn’t eaten anything in about 12 hours, I wolfed it down. When I was finished I paid and told the men that I was going back to the room. They started to say “we will all go in a minute” but I had had enough of that and said “I’m a big girl who knows her way back to the hotel. I will be safe and will see you all tomorrow.” One mentioned “we will get you for breakfast” and I said, possibly a little too abruptly, “NO! I will get my breakfast alone in the morning.” Hospitality can only go so far with me! I confirmed the time that I needed to help with the registration for the conference and bid everyone a good night.

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