POKHARA TO ULLERI
Anzac ceremonies at the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu, followed by an Aussie breakfast, including Anzac buscuits and leamingtons, oh and a sobering 7.9 earthquake with associated aftershocks, split up two days of shopping. A day shopping in Kathmandu, where Ju and Pricey bought some very nice tops at 8848, and Pricey spent some time trying sleeping bags on the shop floor, and a day amongst shops in Pokhara, while we waited for our guide and permits to turn up, is about as much shopping as I can handle. I need to be on the move.
Unfortunately, our original guide, Ganesh, had family members die in the earthquake, so another, Yubraj, has taken his place. Also our permits for trekking are still in Kathmandu. Ganesh was going to bring them....but the roads are closed..... so we had to hang around while these problems were sorted. However, Kiran and Dipak worked their magic in the ruins of Kathmandu, and at 10pm we are told we're out of here tomorrow. Helping with relief work is not really an option with closed roads and no telephone or Internet connection to
Kathmandu to arrange anything, so trekking it is.
The day waiting wasn't wasted. We found the St Margaret girls, and spent some time chatting to them. They seemed happy to have someone from NZ to talk to, and to share their stories with. They will probably have a few more days waiting in Pokhara before flights out can be arranged.
We wandered the foreshore of Pokhara's lake, and we ate heaps of delicious food.....and we replied to all the messages of concern re our safety. As often happens, the media didn't get it all right, as Pokhara was hardly effected by the earthquakes, although the aftershocks were severely scaring the locals and tourists alike. I got to talk to Amanda Gillies from TV3, which boosted the messages we were receiving. It was extremely humbling receiving so many messages from so many people. Thank you all for your concern.
So today we headed into the Annapurna region. Our jeep transport was a little delayed, as it was being used to collect tarpaulins and tents to be shipped to earthquake victims, as soon as the roads are opened. An hours drive and we were at the trail start. An over enthusiastic bureaucrat stalled us for an hour. He wasn't keen for us to
proceed into the National Park without the proper pieces of paper. ....permits. We did have the permit numbers, but the actual permits themselves. ..well they're still in Kathmandu. He tried using our passports as hostages. He tried getting more money out of us. Finally, after an hour of me giving him a hard stare, he relented, and let us proceed.
Up an amazing valley, across lots of swing bridges above beautiful rivers, through picturesque villages, and up 3569 steps, according to Tessa's count, to a lodge high above the valley floor...... oh how much have I missed these mountains. ....