Turns out, our sneaky Israeli is a musician, well a drummer, the best and most accomplished type of Muso, and he is playing down at Johnsons Bar tonight with a Kiwi muso. Sounds like it might be worth a visit. But while Tessa is being shown how to cook in a Tandoori oven, the evening storm hits, and it being almost 9pm, this aged cyclist doesn't feel much like walking down the hill.... Hey, but we're having a day off tomorrow, so....
There's no street lighting, some of the rickshaws have no lights, and it's very dark. Tessa confesses she hasn't always been the all mighty super women she is now, and was previously very scared of the dark. Luckily, I'm with her this evening, and only trip in a couple of potholes, and crash into the mesh fence once. We find the bar. Pretty posh, and we are asked to wait to be seated. In the meantime we catch up with our drummer mate. He took 70 minutes in a tuktuk to come down the hill, with his drum kit, a distance that took us only 15 minutes to walk....Indian traffic., on small, narrow, congested, village roads.
We are introduced to Panda, a muso from Motueka, via Franz Joseph. He and his wife are traveling for 10 months, wherever his music takes him. He introduces us to Gibbo, yet another kiwi, but not a muso.
Hey, these guys are good. Panda, our drummer, an American on a flute, and a typically chilled out bass player. They haven't played together before, but wow, they're good. Doesn't take long before there are heaps of people up dancing. We are both pretty knackered, and Tessa is just itching to be up playing with the band, and entranced by their performance so we don't dance.
Turns out, Gibbo, is a paramedic. He works with film crews as a safety advisor, all over the world. He may have worked with Mr Richie Hunter at some stage. Best news is he has drugs....and is happy to help me replenish my dwindling supplies....don't want another kidney stone incident without some powerful pain killers on hand. We are to meet Gibbo tomorrow.
A walk up the side if the valley, so Swiss with its conifers, snow capped peaks, and small cottages dotted along the hillsides, is spoilt only by Tessa's over reaction to a small brown snake. Jeepers you learn lots about people when you travel with them.. ( I was just very glad she was in front). Then it was down to Johnsons Bar to catch up with Gibbo. He was surrounded by gorgeous young female teachers, many of whom I recognized from the dance floor last night. Gibbo, being almost a local, spends a good deal of time at Johnsons, and these delightful ladies, including a very blonde "Indian" with an Aussie accent. They spend there Saturday nights, and Sundays, their only days off from teaching, here. It's a sanctuary. Just on the other side of the wall is stalled traffic, horns blaring. At Johnsons, it's relaxed, the food is fantastic, and the company wonderful.
One of the teachers is in fact the granddaughter of the owner of Johnsons. We meet her brother, and her mother. Seems the grandmother is a very forward thinking lady. She also runs a local school, the one the girls all teach at. Delightfully down to earth family. We shared lots of stories with them all. The girls were taking their students trekking this week, at the grandmother's insistence. Even invited Tessa to join them. I'm pretty sure she was tempted.
So Gibbo took us down to his local supplying pharmacy. For $16 I got probably $200 worth of pain killers, and a large cake of chocolate ( for Tessa). Good deal. Then it was back to Johnsons for a yummy meal, and a relaxed afternoon. As I said, a sanctuary.
We walk back up to our hotel, and call in to pick up our laundry. "Grum, Grum, up here". It's Finn. I last saw him, and cycled with him two days on the other side of Kathmandu. He's arrived with two other cyclists, and hoping to head out towards Leh real soon. Great to see him, and advice him, from out experiences.
Tessa wants to see some more live music. We head down to a bar, 47. There's an Indian guitarist. Seemed pretty talented, but being in a bar, where everyone is singing words of a song that you've never heard, and can't understand is pretty surreal, so we only stayed long enough for me to finish my smoothie. Mind you Tessa had time to be chatted up by a couple of Indian lads, and beat them at a card game. She's soooo competitive.
Then we went back up to the Rendez Vous. And guess what? Same musicians as last week. The owner shouts Tessa a beer, and she is "dragged" (hardly) up on stage. As her "father" I'm very proud. She sang beautifully, and people were coming over to me and congratulating me on her talent. As her friend, I'm extremely proud also, and feel honored to be sharing this experience with her. We've been invited back tomorrow.