Day 10: Thikedhunga – Naya Pul – Pokhara

We know today is a short trekking day, so we’re in no big hurry to leave. MShah and Kanaks are down at breakfast already when I come down. I wolf down a couple of boiled eggs. Nitya breaks open a boiled egg and it turns out to be runny (yuck yuck!).  Breakfast done, we set out, not in any hurry to get to Naya Pul which is the end of the trek. Even today I don’t feel any sorrow that the trek is almost at an end… I am plotting and planning a kayaking outing in Pokhara. Nitya surprisingly is quite wistful that the trek is coming to an end. She has loved it so much and there’s a sense of “once in a lifetime experience” – which I assure her need not be the case.

The path goes through the steep hillside past Ulleri and other towns whose names I can’t remember. The comforting sound of a rushing river has been in my ears throughout the trek yesterday and continues today as well. A couple of Fanta stops, lots of downhill plodding, a couple of water falls, suspension bridges. The lower slopes are green with farms, and tall trees all over. Shishir is no use in identifying trees and things, although he did point out stinging “neeeetle” at one spot. I resolve to “improve his mind” by getting him a trees book if I can find one J.

We stop at a most idyllic spot for lunch, in a wooden shack overlooking a waterfall. The momentous occasion when Nitya orders herself a beer. MShah watches her reaction to the first gulp and nods in satisfaction. We polish off a few uncounted bottles among us, and there’s a general sense of light headed happiness. I walk across to a shop opposite, and of all the unlikely things, find a bunch of Asetrixes that other travellers must have exchanged or left behind. I can’t resist picking up three of them for 100 Nepali Rupees each. Much as we hate to leave that spot, we pack up and head on towards Naya Pul, which turns out to be only 20 mins more of walking. The last bit is a steep upslope, to climb out of the trail onto the road. And just like that, our trek is done…

One by one we all emerge onto the road into a pool of waiting taxis and leery taxi drivers. A rude awakening to reality after the dream like quality of the trek. I sit on some steps across the road from the drivers, in a numbed state. Even the anti-climax does not hit me immediately. MShah is standing legs apart, looking at the ground, making vicious designs with her trekking pole in the dirt, threatening to dig into anyone who’ll venture nearby. She also swings it around to show she really means business. We briefly consider a bus to take us to Pokhara. I don’t have much of an opinion here, either is fine with me. But the consensus seems to be taxi, so taxi it is. We sort out the tips for our porters and arrange two taxis – one with all our stuff and Shishir as guardian, the other with the four of us. After much backing and forthing, our taxis leave.

In a happy coincidence, our taxi driver keeps a stack of cassettes of mournful old hindi songs. We are soon bawling along with Rafi and Kishor – aawaaz milake, oh the beauty of it J. The driver doesn’t seem to mind. Windows down, wind in our faces, singing along with Rafi… for once I don’t stress out about being driven downhill by a stranger in a strange country in a strange taxi. “Pyaar manga hai tumhi say… na inkaar karo”… We reach the plains and are zipping along when out of the blue the car goes out of control, and we see the driver’s biceps straining to keep control – amazingly he does manage to stop the car from going off the road. We have a puncture (there are four of us – you can ask us individually “which tyre?”). We signal to Shishir’s taxi which is a little way ahead of us, and they stop and wait. Luckily the tyre change happens smoothly as we all sit by the road and chuck stones into the wayside bushes. My mind is still numb from the end of the trek, that all this only partially registers. But sitting on the roadside feels good – four totally jobless lukkha women in stylish sun-glasses and hats (while the poor driver toils with the jack).

We reach Fishtail Lodge Pokhara by mid afternoon, and settle down to potter about in our room. I am minimally clothed and trying to take a nap, when I hear a refrain from a song being played LOUDLY over and over and over:

….. man maaaa…..

ting tiding tiding ting ting

(Thanks to Kanaks’ memory for the words!) Turns out there’s a Nepali movie shooting going on in the garden that our room is overlooking. Shit. Crap. Are they going to go on and on all evening? Nitya, after announcing that she wants to bathe first, has been pottering for the last 15 minutes without actually going for a bath. Will this woman ever have that stupid bath? At this point I express my irritation with the shooting. Which turns out to be a mistake. She bounces out of the room into the balcony to watch this shooting, just short of clapping her hands in glee. Not only that, she also proceeds to yell across to MShah’s and Shiva’s adjacent balcony for them to come and see the awesome sight. She tries persuading me to come out, but I am sooo not interested. She drags me out with a blanket around me, to see the “hunk” of a Nepali hero. I take one look at the long haired monkey punk dressed in orange, make some rude comments about her taste, and quickly dive in for a bath… leaving her to ogle the ogre. I believe the other two also watch the “nautanki” for a while – a song sequence with a heroine in pointy heeled shoes that she couldn’t walk on the grass – she has to be carried into the garden! The director sees his chance and paws the heroine, ostensibly showing the orange ogre how to do the song sequence. Thankfully it’s all over by the time I step out of my bath, and I happily tuck in for a nap.

Nits is back to playing gracious hostess. By the time I wake up, she has ordered bhajiyas and chai to the room, and generously to the other twos’ room as well. Excellent bhajiyas… over chai and bhajiyas we have a rather heated argument about the looks of that ogre… sorry, actor. I think MShah is with me – this one is not our type, so Nitya is welcome to him. We never manage to get too many opinions out of Kanaks. She’s not shy, she’s not exactly reserved, but she seems slightly spaced out and not too interested in expressing opinions.

Clean laundered clothes have been delivered, I am back in my skirt. The jealous ones who have been bitching about the number of earrings I carried on the trek, have borrowed some of the earrings for the evening out J. We meet Shishir in the lounge and head out for the great disco hunt. We walk through a very pleasant touristy part of Pokhara, window shopping, and making mental notes for tomorrow’s actual shopping. Shishir, blast him, has uptil now given the impression that he’s leading us to some known disco – and by and by we realize that there’s no such thing. In fact, there’s no disco at all in Pokhara. We see a couple of iffy places where there are “performing ladies” with a matron-like woman watching the road from behind curtains… We settle for a regular restaurant (called Moondance!) and proceed to create the usual ruckus. Beer. Some food. Matters not. Conversation and songs make the evening. As an added bonus there’s a Sean Connery look-alike at the next table, and we surreptitiously ogle him.

It’s quite late when we saunter back through the street. The town looks mostly asleep by now. A couple of lukkhas (real roadside ones this time) try to get familiar. One skulks by on a bicycle, tries to sell us some Marijuana. MShah almost punches that one on his nose and the rest of the walk is incident free. MShah and I walk in step to:

There was, a girl

So tall and thin and fair,

Her hair, her hair,

Was just the color of


where you put an arm around each other and do a little step back and forward at the end. With a few beers in you this is even more fun than normal.

The night air is cool and pleasant. Machapucchhare lurks somewhere in the darkness behind us. We reach our turn off, bid Shishir goodnight, and go home. The almost silent raft being pulled across the water, a short winding walk through the garden path to our room. Aah, clean white sheets.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email