Today was another take it easy day! We enjoyed brunch by the gorgeous Fhewa Lake in Pokhara and then strolled around town. It was a magnificent day letting the sun warm our bones that were so deeply chilled on our trek.
Later in the evening we enjoyed our special Christmas dinner with Tomos and Grace at the Moondance restaurant. Many of the nicer restaurants in Pokhara had dinner specials for Christmas. We both ate pumpkin soup, roasted chicken and boar, potatoes, stuffing, and roasted veggies.....aaaaand........ dessert was an apple crumble with either a scoop of vanilla icecream or a custard sauce! Yummy!!!!
After dinner John and I intended to go to an outdoor theater but because the city's power had been in shortage they cancelled the movie. I was super bummed because this "theater" is tiny and in someone's backyard. They have a little bamboo concession stand to get snacks and refreshments, and blankets to make a nest for watching the movie on the ground. My kind of place!!!
Instead of the movie we resorted to a live music show. Nope, nothing Nepali or cultural. It was a Nepali cover band that played a bunch of awesome classic rock songs and I have to say that they nailed each song!
Merry Christmas from a bus!!!! Ugh! Ok.....it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be but it was looooong! The trip took 8 hours to go about 120 miles. The roads are very narrow and winding which requires slow driving, which was a plus in my favor, but still a lot of crazy passing on blind corners and such. It wasn't as bad as how the small cars and mini busses whip in and out of traffic but there were still many close calls making me feel like I might wet myself. The ride was not exactly how I envisioned my Christmas Day but at least we got to see the Nepali countryside and we actually made it to Kathmandu safely.
To me, it never seemed like we actually got into the countryside because there is pretty much homes sprinkled all along the hills outside of the city. The living conditions of the people living along the "highway" were pretty tough compared to most "western" standards. Most, if not all of the homes did not have inside facilities for cooking or cleaning dishes and clothes. It appeared that many people shared outdoor faucets for doing laundry and cleaning dishes. What really disappointed me about our scenery was the amount of trash......everywhere. In general there was trash all over in the streets and lawns, but what really bummed me out was the designated areas along river banks where people dumped their trash. Both John and I witnessed the assistant bus driver throw trash out of the window/door twice during our 8 hour journey.
So I am slowly learning driving "procedures" in Nepal. Each big vehicle seems to have an assistant driver that helps "scout" out passing opportunities on the narrow two lane road. He taps the dashboard when the driver is all clear to go and signals with his other hand outside his window when he needs the vehicle we are passing to slow down for us to get back in the correct lane when oncoming traffic is coming. Our drivers did pretty well with not cutting it close with oncoming traffic but other drivers passing us cut it too close on many occasions which resulted in near collisions and us almost having to stop our bus. Ugh!!! Not fun.
We did make it to Kathmandu safely and we headed to our friend's, Tashi and Lakpa's house (They are the Sherpas who own a lodge in the Everest area and come to Winter Park, Colorado every summer to sell Nepalese jewelry.) Once again we enjoyed excellent food and conversation for the evening!!!!