Friday 29th March
Having walked well over 140km in the last few weeks without stepping foot inside any type of vehicle, it seemed slightly strange to fly from Jomsom to Pokhara.That flight (in a 15 seater) was nothing compared to our taxi ride in Pokhara up to the World Peace Pagoda, the imposing white Buddhist stupa, that overlooks the city.
There were six of us, plus the driver and we had to get up a fairly steep and dusty road. A simple exercise, until we literally ground to a halt on the first steep bit. At this point Cath started suggesting it might be nice to walk to the top.
No. Instead, we would reverse down the hill and across the junction to get a run-up at it. So, with Hayley, Jim and James humming the tune to ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ and Cath and me hanging on as tightly as possible we made it up the first hill.
The journey didn’t get much better after this. We reversed down hill and around a massive hole in the side of the road (next to a sheer drop) where a portion of the road had fallen away – just to let another car pass us.
And then we ground to a halt, again. To my relief we were now walking to the top. But, after 100m there was our faithful taxi, perched on the edge of track, waiting for us. After all, we’d just walked up the steep dusty track and it was now tarmac, so we could continue.
We piled back into the taxi, our backs still damp from the leather seats of the previous journey. A couple of minutes later the taxi slowly eeked to a stop for a third time. Dil, Cath and I got out, this time we really were walking to the top. Strangely, even with less people in it, the taxi started rolling back down the hill…
Today, we boarded the bus back to Kathmandu. I slept most if the way, oblivious to the bumping around, switchback roads and foolhardy overtaking. Having said all that, we have always arrived safely at our intended destination, so it must be OK…