I wrote this in October 2010 while I was traveling around Nepal and India. I’ve translated and added pictures.
October 4th, 2010
Earlier today I went for a walk in the old town of Pokhara. I left at about midday from the lakeside, the area of Pokhara where most tourists guesthouses and restaurants are.
My day had started with the wrong foot. With a loosen backpack, a broken boot, a lost hairbrush, nostalgia. I left under the burning sun (or so it seemed to me), the old town much further than it seemed from the map.
At one point my luck changed. I found a small restaurant where I ate some baked potatoes, spicy, for 20 cents. No coffee unfortunately, I needed it. After a little while I found a place where a guy fixed my mother’s boot for 25 cents, working with so much care and attention that left me breathless (I would have simply put some glue without caring much). Now it’s almost like new!
A bit further I found a “German bakery” (I don’t know why, but here german bakeries are quite popular) where I could enjoy my coffee (always nescafé, I’m missing my moka. Maybe I should have it sent it to me?) with a nice slice of chocolate semifreddo! Oh wow, this definitely sparkled my mood.
After a bit, walking along the road I stopped to look at some guys playing “snake and ladder”. They invited me to play with them. I won (and in Italy we say that those who are lucky at playing, are unlucky in love).
In a music shop I bought a transverse flute (that I can’t play) at 60 cents. I must learn. It mustn’t end up like the harmonica. There were also some beautiful drums like those the porters were playing during our last night on the Annapurna. It’s a shame I don’t have much space in my bag.
I walk a little further and people start calling me from all corners: “hello”, “hello tourist”, “namaste”! At one point children and adults ask me to take pictures of them. I wasn’t sure, usually people don’t like to have their photos taken by strangers or, if they accept, they want money. The people here didn’t want anything, just the pleasure of seeing themselves on my Nikon display. Well, of course I was more than happy to satisfy them. It’s a shame I didn’t have a portable printer with me.
I walked past some girls who were having a snack (it was 5 pm) and they offered me a slice of orange dipped in a spicy sauce, followed by a sip of sweet cream. Of course I accepted. Twice. It was delicious! Probably I will get sick in a couple of days, but it was worth it.
I stopped to write in my notebook and an elder lady stops curious to see what I’m doing. Such a cool lady! I asked if I could take a picture of her, she accepted and even took off the basket from her head to look prettier. After a while another lady asked me to take a picture of her house (that was decent, better compared to other houses, probably she was proud of it?).
So, I was walking around this not so pretty part of the town of Pokhara (where my guesthouse is, the lakeside, it’s very touristic, clean and organized, very western style, you can even eat grilled steak with chips!), that at first sight is a bit scary, but it’s actually so incredibly welcoming!
On my way back more requests of pictures and a table tennis challenge (with no table, directly on the road). I lost 11-5 this time.
A day started in the worst way turned out as one of the best. And I even found the hairbrush! I only have to fix the rucksack now.
P.S. I’m in a café in Pokhara, eating/drinking something weird. Sour cream with pepper, cinnamon and sugar. I have almost finished it and I still can’t decide if I like it or not.
Next stop: Tibetans in exile