Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Saturday 28th June

So another really super and satisfying day! Our driver took Anita, the Swiss volunteer who is spending the weekend with us, and me to the Peace Pagoda situated high on a steep hill over looking Pokhara and Pewa lake. It's an amazing place - not actually a classic Buddhist stupa but very close to one in appearance, completed in 1999 and erected as one of 100 peace pagodas built around the world by a Japanese man who lived through the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs. 

It is in an absolutely incredible location with breathtaking views from all sides and...... Get this- we were treated to another splendid view of the snow capped  Himalayas - so awesome and still and solidly present. I can't get enough of them. Sadly I took pics with my camera and not my phone so can't insert some here! Our driver insisted on solicitously holding my arm on all the steps - very sweet, he also insisted on carrying my water bottle! The pagoda cum stupa is beautiful with magnificent statues of Buddha in various postures. One could only feel peaceful there and send peaceful waves out into the world. 

We then returned to check out of our very comfortable hotel - $9 each a night
And said goodbye to Pokhara reflecting on, as in Chitwan, how much we had done in such a short time. There is no doubt that from now on I will always travel with or use guide books like The Lonely Planet, to get information about places we visit. We used Europe on $ 1 and then $10 a day a million years ago so what changed? 

We then drove to this absolutely delightful place called Bandipur which is a village "strung out like a scarf across the top of a range of steep high hills(which as an English girl said would definitely be called mountains back home!) 

We followed the advice in the book and checked into the Bandipur Village resort - spotless and well located. There are no motorized vehicles in the main section of the village - what a pleasure! So we spent the afternoon exploring the village and just observing how the villagers spend a day off work  - it being Saturday their one day weekend on Nepal! Sadly the women don't seem to get the day off - we watched three women fill dozens of plastic 2 liter bottles at a really remote water source at the edge of the village. Here they are. We saw them later carrying the water in the enormous baskets which hang on their backs from a strap across their foreheads. 

We had had a good lunch at the restaurant in our resort before our walk so just collapsed on our beds for a late afternoon snooze - after all we were in holiday! 

I am astonished by what the women carry on their backs in these baskets - we watched another two woman having sand loaded into their baskets which they then carried steadfastly up the hill through the main section of the village. On reaching the sand pile where they had to leave the sand, they sort of turn sideways so the basket slides off their backs while simultaneously twisting it to 'pour' all the sand out!! The men in the meantime stand around waiting for them to come back so they can shovel more sand into the baskets - this went on all afternoon- they were still at it when we returned from our long walk!!

Above are the water bearers!

Anita and I decided to try our luck with dessert in the village as we were not hungry. We found a super little place snd ordered fruit salad and curd - delicious!! It was delightful sitting outside at tables under the stars - a beautiful balmy evening - still very warm. In fact weirdly the whole ambience reminded me weirdly enough of Monte Casino in Jhb!!! Pebbled walkways, restaurants spilling out onto the through way, candle lie tables overlooked by two story homes with curtained rooms back lit with silhouettes of people going about their business. Flower pots of geraniums hanging from balconeys, birds cooing, dogs asleep in doorways and men hanging around watching the World Cup. 
Children scampering around and women finally testing and chatting in little groups. It was delightful and wonderfully peaceful hearing no hooting cars and peeping accelerating motor bikes! 

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