Imagine a perfect triangular mountain, capped by snow and buffeted by the icy winds of the Himalaya. Imagine a millpond calm lake, perfectly reflecting the snowy peaks. Now imagine a village on the lakeshore, thronged by travellers and reverberating to the sound of ‘om mani padme hum’ from a hundred shops selling prayer flags, carpets, masks, singing bowls and CDs of Buddhist mantras. That’s Pokhara.
I found that in the Loonely Planet of 2006. Sounds good – does it? Now this is Pokhara 2010: The mountains you can not kill that easy but now you take hundreds of shops selling all the same: Faked trekking gear, Shawls and stupid souvenirs, maps and used books mixed together with internet cafes, travel organizers. This “same same no different” you mix with and endless stream of noise from the cars, motorbikes, trucks and busses that is mixed with construction noise of more and more restaurants, shops and hotels. Than you imagine the dust that settles on your table while you wait in one of the countless restaurants that have all more or less the same menue. Or you look over the lake and count plastic trash – dreaming of the world like it was a few years ago. If i talk to younger guys that i meet and mention that “in the good old times everything was better” you should see the look on their faces – yes grandpa we know we know – but do they really??
Finally i will start my Annapurna trek tomorrow. So i will not really be on-line for the next 3 weeks or so!
Here a few pix so you see what i am talking about:
View from my balcony – left
View from my balcony – right