Being there

We spent nearly two weeks in Pokhara. It’s the second largest city in Nepal, and yet it has the feel of a small town. Because we were under the weather most of the time we were there, or maybe because we just weren’t motivated after nearly five months of continuous travel, we didn’t take a boat ride on the lake, or book a hot air balloon, or explore the nearby caves, or hike up the hill to the Peace Pagoda, or do any trekking. No, we did none of that. We wandered the streets of the town, some days toward the tourist area packed with shops supplying trekking gear and camping supplies; other days in the opposite direction where the locals who aren’t involved in the tourist industry go about their daily business. We like this mode of travel, where we just settle into a place and become part of the community if only for a short time.

On sunny days this man carves slate plaques. Most of his wares were too large for us so we asked if he could make a van-sized one. He happily obliged and we now have a colorful representation of the Sanskrit mantra “Om mani padmi hum,” an untranslatable phrase that’s said to embody the sum of Buddhist teachings. I think affixing it to the entrance of our camper will have the same effect as a mezuzah, a reminder of our home as sacred space, and to do good works as we go out in the world.

We would like to have seen how they managed to carve a golf course out of this terrain but we never got there.

One day we came upon a sculpture park. There were no signs, so we don’t know who the artist or artists were and no amount of Googling answered our questions, not unusual for Nepal.

This end of town is quiet and domestic, a nice break from the hundreds of tourist shops toward the center.

Our daily routine of predawn mountain watch paid off a few more times culminating in this breathtaking view of the Annapurnas from our hotel room. Any view of the Top of the World is a gift.

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