Monday, 6 March 2017

Pokhara to Bandipur

Time to move on from Pokhara. Back to the same woman for breakfast; we consider ordering the same thing to save her having to cook two different orders, but in the end opt for our usual. We make the same order, only something gets confused and while I get my puri curry, Michael is presented with a fried egg and toast. It comes with some lovely fried potatoes, so he isn't too disappointed.

Eventually packed and out of the hotel, we walk the short distance to the main road and a big bus screeches past and comes to a halt. The bus boy leaning out asks us where we are going, then ushers us on. The seats of the city bus are actually pretty spacious and comfortable, and we hope that the next bus is as good. Off at the Prithvi highway bus station, and then we wander off in search of a motorcycle helmet for Michael. Three shops tried and nothing bigger than a large, which is far too small for Michael. One shop didn't have anything bigger than a medium. We make a vow that the next time we come to Asia we will bring a helmet with us.

Back round to the bus stop, and we are immediately ushered into another bus. This one is almost empty, so we have to wait aboard while the bus boy rounds up some more passengers. He works really hard at this and does everything short of picking people up and carrying them aboard. Eventually we get moving and we have the usual crawl attempting to collect more passengers as we go. The city never seems to end, in fact the road is s continuous route of shops and stalls and restaurants. The roads aren't particularly bad, but it is a bumpy route and of course the driver is continually trying to overtake anything in his path, which often leads to hairy moments as trucks coming in the opposite direction are being overtaken at the same time.

Off the bus at Dumre Bazaar, across the road and a little walk back and we are directed into yet another bus after turning down a couple of taxis. This bus is also pretty empty, so we will have another wait while it fills up. The floor is covered with huge sacks of corn that we need to climb over, and then a girl gets on carrying three huge boxes of day old live chicks chirping away. Once full the little bus struggles out of its space, and straight into a stalemate with a truck coming the other way. Some shunting backwards and forwards, and then we are off and heading up the twisting, dusty single lane track to Bandipur.

Ejected at the top with everyone else we start looking for somewhere to stay, and after looking at three of four rooms we settle on one. It has a lovely balcony with views of the hills. I immediately feel very happy that we have come here, sure it is still really touristy, but it is much quieter and it is nice being up in the hills. We wander out towards the main bazaar, a walk of about 100 meters, and find a 'Sweet House' that has a huge stack of donuts and other treats high on its counter. We purchase a donut to share and continue walking, but we don't get far and the donut doesn't last long, and we do an about turn to go and get another. We continue down the narrow streets, appreciating the traditional Newari red brick buildings with dark wood shutters, and then find somewhere to sit which overlooks the hills and valley below. Lots of terraced gardens and rice fields and the sounds of the occasional goat. Back to the bazaar and we sit outside one of the many little restaurants. We eat more momo and thukpa, and then discuss getting another donut for dessert. It has been a while since we have eaten anything like cake, and I guess we must have been missing it. The girl at the shop laughs at us when we return, and we assure here we will be back again soon. It's only 7pm but I am ready for sleep, Michael enjoys the balcony for a while, and I just about manage to stay away to join him for a bit and then wash some clothes through.