Annapurna’s Beckoning

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View of Pokhara from the Stupa

. The Annapurna’s Beckons – the beginning

Fishing on Lake Fewa

It took a day to get to Pokhara. I decided to hire a taxi as we had quite a bit of medical equipment for Rob. Bruce my son wasn’t due to arrive before 12:30 am so in the meantime the taxi driver Surya and myself went to get our park certificate and a tim card. Quite a money earner for Nepal at  R3300 per person. Paperwork for this and that can be quite a time consuming exercise. For example I have used 2 passport photos and a copy of my passport just to get the Annapurna park paperwork done. Another annoying feature of this park business is that they are single entry. If you leave for example after finishing one trek in one section and then go to another section then you need another entrance certificate and hence another fee has to be paid. As far as I can tell it is also not possible to get to all parts of the part without leaving and entering. Even more annoying is that not all parks are treated the same. Some parks are located in what they term restricted areas and here fees can be enormous. For example Upper Mustang Area which borders the Annapurna Conservation area and is often reached from the same town of Jonsom has an entrance fee of $500 and lots of other potential charges and conditions. This naturally restricts access to the few that can afford it. In the wet season for me this area would be attractive as it is much drier that those areas south of the Annapurna peaks which are now copping the monsoons. We picked up Bruce at the airport and immediately jumped into the taxi skirting the sprawling and dusty city then heading west to Pokhara. Suyla was a good driver and host so with little ado other than the occasional pit stop we ended up at the tourist mecca of whats called Lakeside in Pokhara at about 6pm.

Arriving at the Mandap Hotel - Lakeside

Rob obviously knew his way around and recommended the Mandap Hotel which we soon found. Subrana the hotel manager made us feel very welcome. It wasn’t very long before we were unpacked, showered and sitting down to a Nepalese standard of dal bhat with some of the whisky that Bruce had brought with him. The next day was a prep day and decision day for both of us deciding what treks we could manage. A lot of our baggage would stay at the hotel as we intended to travel light and stay in ‘hotels’. I use the word loosely as they certainly were not like the comforts we had been enjoying at the Mandap. After a tentative plan was determined over breakfast on the terrace outside our room we made a visit to Manapore Hospital.This is a great hospital and seems to be well run.I am sure my impression was strongly influenced by the help we got from the Patient  Care  co-ordinator Mrs Sulochana Dhakel who moved us through the maze of services effortlessly. I was still working on my teeth problems and Bruce had his back checked after an injury suffered from an overzealous massage in Thailand. Some items necessary for our trek were also were purchased in the Lakeside area which is well endowed with trekking shops an gear for all sorts of adventures. The day was completed with a climb to the stupa

9 thoughts on “Annapurna’s Beckoning

  1. Hi Denis
    grt to read a little of your journey, see the photos and feel closer to the scene of your adventures
    all well now home in Bicheno with frost this am and early potatoes a little burnt
    the tree dahlia which I have been hating looks very poorly so that’s good. I find it hard to pull out a living plant.
    Sun pouring in. I’ll see Ann tomorrow at bookclub – hope to stay overnight.
    Kim well and v much enjoyed our trip – we both did.
    Take care – look forward to hearing more on return.
    warmest regards, Helen

  2. I sympathize re those tooth problems, Dennis, but we need to hear a lot more about that overzealous massage before feeling sorry for Bruce! Hope the rest of the trip goes well; adventures in masochism like this are often sadly underrated. Lew

  3. hi denis,

    hi denis
    what a beautiful country. from your descriptions, people seem to be very hospitable, though officials that run the parks seem to make it so difficult for the tourist to see it.
    this is not unlike our park system here in california. this state is so financially out of control that bureaucrats are desperate for any means to increase all taxes. our parks are on the verge of closing except the ones that are privately supported.

    other than the overpriced cost of entering the park at annapurna , the pictures totally indicate that you are having a wonderful time. these are places that i have only read about . it is so interesting to read about an adventure experienced by someone , one has known.

    all my good wishes for a continuing wonderful trip. emy

    • I have always loved the great outdoors as it seemed to be the only way to see nature that hasn’t been trampled by mankind. But alas as you say in California these places are hard and expensive to manage and are on the verge of collapse.
      In India and Nepal people still live in the parks and a certain natural order does exist when you get away from points of easy access. So soon as roads penetrate these walkable areas it would seem to me that the locals feel less committed to minding their environment. We the tourist are probably responsible for also increasing their burden in wear and tear on their tracks.

      • hi denis,
        first, so nice to hear from you. i have been enjoying all your stories and photographs very much . you write with great enthusiasm .

        as i was pulling out old fume worn, water deprived, soot covered geraniums in front of the flats in san francisco that have been struggling to survive and planting new healthy green things, i thought of what you wrote about tourists who trample through without respect ,whatever destination they seek to absorb.

        the collection of cigarette ends, food and gum wrappers discarded tissues, cups ,no cans as they roll down the hill at top speed , fill the trash cans by then end of the week. the tourists are loud and come up to the door and rattle the knob and bang on the knocker. all this drives the dogs crazy. it was never this bad. i am thinking of putting a wrought iron gate up mid-stairs ,but everyone is against it.

        i am visiting my daughter , sophie , who now lives in our old flat below the crooked hill, for a fortnight . with each passing year, the tourist population that visits lombard st. increases. in the last few days , walking the dogs, i have met someone from russia, amsterdam,france , italy and nearly every state in the union. there are hoards of chinese everyday

        one chinese man started to walk into the garage to photograph the electrical boxes and meters on the garage wall. i blatantly refused, with an “excuse me, no!” another stood beside me while i was planting and had his wife photograph him holding a branch of one of the plants i was putting in. scores of others seem to want to photograph the flats. i haven’t a clue why.
        one man was sitting on one of the planters as i was arriving back from somewhere. i was miffed that he was boldly sitting on my planter,so i told him that i charge rent for people to sit there. he didn’t respond, so i just opened the door to the house and grandly slammed it. he left.
        sophie reminded me that ,perhaps the man had a heart condition and needed to sit down and rest. then i felt bad that i had done anything.

        my knowledge of tourists’ bad habits around the world or even across the u.s. is rather limited though.
        i find the most respectful of their environment, for the most part, are the kiwis. one can travel anywhere on the islands and find clean public shelter from the cold wind and rain and the best water i have ever tasted.

        i am curious about your interest in the himalayas . do you travel there often? if i may ask?

        i don’t know if you read travel books,but if you do, a most interesting, humorous writer of great experience is eric newby. he has written several travel books that one cannot put down.

        all my good wishes for a safe and pleasant journey,
        emy

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