Wednesday, December 8, 2010

6/10/2010 Sunday Day 17 Jhinudanda to Pokhara

 ‘The day we ate like kings’.

The day started like most others, a bowl of porridge and Tibetan bread with generous coating of jam. We left Jhinudandu at a leisurely hour of 8am this morning .

We then made our way down the steep stairs to the valley floor some 100 to 200 metres below. We crossed the bridge and climb up the steepest bank we had come across on the entire trip. Once on top we finally got a bit of saddle time traversing the rice terraces on our way down the Modi Kola towards Nayapul the end/start of all the treks in the region.

We fought away at the rough trekking tracks for most of the morning. Ollie would often power off ahead at his world smashing pace. We passed numerous small villages preached on the steep hillsides. The slopes were mainly covered in bushes and trees with openings being made into terraces for growing crops. The vivid greens remained vibrant throughout the day even in the bright midday sun. Just before Syauli Bazar the single track broke out into an old 4wd track that provided a fast  means to get some progress under our belts, but this was shorted lived as above Syauli Blaza a local pointed me down the hill, which meant a bike carry down the steps to the village Syauli Blazar.

I got to call it and we ate a king’s lunch of momos and cheese pizza, with a 500ml coke. After finishing the feast we set out in the heat of day and quickly got back to the 4wd drive track, which was often reduced to single track due to wash outs and the likes.

We quickly made it to Nayapul in about 30 to 40 minutes; from there we got back into the mainstream Nepal, crowds and rubbish everywhere. We checked out of the Annapurna trekking region and began the long hill climb to Pokhara. 800m of climbing in one gear, awesome single speed training. Turns out that gear number 4, that I had set 3 days earlier was the correct choice.  One hour fifty minutes it took to conquer this last big climb, which went rather well as the gradient was nice and consistent and the temperature did not get as hot as I had feared. Also the affects of high altitude from the previous weeks was once on our side.  Ollie with his new found lungs was able to attack passing buses and managed to draft in behind them up the hill climb.

Once I finally crested the hill I change Rohloff up to number 11 and began coasting down the hill, the road crossed over the head of Pokhara valley which allowed for some great views. We continued our great descent for about 10km and then followed the less steep valley floor into Pokhara. Back in Pokhara we got back into the Nepalese road rules of just hold your line and go for the gaps. We rode for 20 minutes past the airport and headed west; Ollie got a bit anxious and wanted to see the map, as he didn’t thrust my gut instincts. But only a minute after our heating discussion we made it into the tourist area on the shores of Lake Pokahara. We found a hotel called Mikes hotel down on the lake shore for 25US a night.

We washed up in the best shower since Singapore and headed into town with a bag full of washing each. After buying some cheap T shirts, we strolled along the looking for places to eat. I still hadn’t had my coke fix, so walked into the next diary and bought a chilled 500ml coke; it tasted so good, just what I had been craving for.  We proceeded in our search of finding the best steak menu in Pohkara, and to our luck after strike three we found the Everest Steak House, which boasted over 20 different ways of enjoying your steak.  I ordered up the Vienna steak with onion sauce, at a guess the steak was over 500g, at a cost of 657Ru, not bad and tasted awesome. We also shared a 1.5 litre coke for the table of which I drunk the lion’s share as Ollie’s stomach couldn’t handle the sugary goodness.

Pulp Fiction was playing next door so we finished up and watched the movie free of charge on the big screen in the neighbouring bar. After that icecream was enjoyed. I had my banana split which I had talked up for days and then back to the hotel for some sleep or maybe not as I had consumed over 2L of coke today. I’m still not feeling sleepy yet.

Travel time today 7hours   

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