In all honesty, we simply didn't have the experience in Nepal we were hoping for. We did not go (nor plan on going) trekking. We didn't have warm enough clothing, coats, boots… and I am positive my bum ankle/foot would not have survived without proper shoes. We were totally ok with this. We just went trekking in Laos, and I was all about sightseeing and taking pictures and drinking tea by warm fireplaces… Only there weren't fireplaces, there wasn't any heat, half of the time there wasn't warm water. We both got sick. We were ALWAYS accosted by travel agents pitching trekking tours to us. Coming from countries like Vietnam and Thailand, we were paying more for rooms in Nepal and getting half of the amenities. And then my polaroid camera was stolen. And there wasn't a nice view (nor nice hotel) in Nagarkot. And then the jungle safari was full in Chitwan because all of Nepal was off work and traveling around the country as well. It was just one thing after another for us. I wanted to fall in love with Nepal, but that simply didn't happen this time around.
So I decided we needed to go paragliding. We needed to do something fun and a little bit scary to help make up for being sick, being cold, being without electricity so many nights, and being a little disappointed with Nepal. Andrew was afraid going paragliding would be another bad decision (We even practiced how he would call my Mom if something happened. He was terrible. Let's hope nothing ever DOES happen on this trip to me because he will fail miserably if he has to talk to my Mom about it), but luckily it turned out to be possibly the best decision we made in Nepal. PARAGLIDING OFF THE SOUTHERN RIDGE OF THE HIMALAYAS as Andrew typed out in his Thanksgiving Facebook status was pretty fantastic. I can only hope that the video comes even a teensy bit close to giving the experience justice.
We drove up the mountain around nine in the morning, and when we arrived gliders were already running off the mountain and floating away. Andrew and I went our separate ways (me with a HOT Hungarian pilot, and him with a fellow American from Colorado) and while my pilot was fluffing out the paraglide sail(?) chute(?) all of a sudden I turn and see Andrew and his pilot running down and then floating away.
"So, you're saying you want me to literally run off the side of the mountain?" I asked my hot Hungarian. (Andrew later said he was "keeping an eye on my pilot" during our flight. This made me laugh. a lot. He relaxed when I told him the hot Hungarian was married.)
"Yep." He replied, somewhat bored with my nervous humor. He goes paragliding three times a day. I'd probably be bored with nervous first-timers as well…
As it turns out, paragliding is probably the least scary thing I've done to date. You run off the mountain side and then when the wind picks you up, you sit down in your seat that is strapped to you and then it's kinda like sky-diving after your chute opens up. You just float around until your pilot asks if you want to do some ''acrobatics" over the lake and suddenly you're swinging back and forth and dropping in the air until he tells you it's time to land and you put your feet up and land safely on the ground not to terribly far from a flock of goats chewing on some grass in the same field.
It was well worth it. We might even do it again on this trip (although Andrew heard that it's the cheapest and best in Nepal).
Afterwards, we finally caved and sat down at a Korean restaurant steps away from our hotel. It was tiny, dirty, and proudly displayed a "Dokdo is Korea" shirt on the wall. All signs clearly pointing to having tasty kimchi based dishes. We surprised the owner ordering three different kimchi based dishes in Korean. kimchi jeon, kimchi chiggae, and kimchi bokem-bab. I think everyone was amused (to say the least) when we left leaving nothing on our plates. The food was not only just like "home" but it was cheaper than it would have been in Seoul and it more than made up for the 78 days we've been without kimchi.
We attempted to go to the post-office. (For the third time in Nepal thanks to The Festival, it was closed the first two times) And failed. Not any of the three people we asked for directions thought to mention that packages could not be sent from Pokhara. Thanks, Nepal. So instead, we carried bags of gifts and souvenirs with us to Old Pokhara, where we attempted to see what the fuss was about. As it turns out, Old Pokhara is not worth the trip at all. It's a deserted part of town with few storefronts and even less people milling about. We walked down the main road, and went back to lakeside for dinner and then "home" to pack up for our bus to the Indian border the next morning.
Sidenote: I haven't completely written Nepal off. I would like to go back. But if I do, you better believe I'm rolling into the country decked out in Northface GoreTex, sturdy hiking boots, and trekking tours pre-arranged and booked. Nepal in November simply isn't destined for either a "Round the World" trip to mostly warm countries with a budget of $50.00 a day. I'll go again, with more money, and maybe even a personal guide if for nothing else, to ward off anyone who tries to pitch me anything. Female trekking guides are available in Nepal. You know I'm going to get me one of them as well.