Starting early worked greatly for us as we made it to Pokhara around 6pm. Along the way we stopped for breakfast and tea and met really nice people. We also met a Spanish-Italian couple that had come from Rome to Thailand on motorcycle. They were coming from Pokhara and told us that there was a big New Years festival going on in Pokhara. So once we got to Pokhara we headed for the lakeside area and were only able to find one hotel with one room left! It was pricier for us but we thought it’s New Year’s Eve, we might as well…we knew the rest of Nepal was going to be tough!
Pokhara during festival time is ALIVE! Anyone and everyone is out and about enjoying themselves at restaurants, food stalls, street games, shops, and bars. I think every night has been a hazy, Christmas-light filled, rum & beer, momo & pizza eating, rocked-out night! The cover bands here are amazing!!! Beats Brian O’Neils or Baker St. any day (Houston people know what I’m talking about!).
After a long day of driving, on New Year’s Eve we decided to take the bike up to the Shanti Stupa. The main parking was too crowded and we wanted to take the bike up. We took a Raid de Himalaya-worthy trail up and basically got lost! We found a parking spot and then had to trek the rest of the way!!! Once we got to the stupa, we were a bit underwhelmed because it was very similar to the Shanti Stupa in Leh. The view was great since we could see the Annapurna Range from there. After taking many pictures we trekked down and found that our back tool tube was broken! It was something that we were afraid of. We had a few Touratech straps so we had to strap the tool tube to the back rack and pray that it would make it down! The area where we parked was being watched by an old man, we paid him the parking fee and then he offered Nick some local weed. Nick kindly declined (to our benefit or not we are still unsure?) and a few of the kids wanted some pics with the bike. They also told us that there was a better way down. It was pretty steep but we hit some tarmac and had tarmac all the way back.
After getting some provisions for the night, we got back to our room and got ready for the night. After walking around outside in the crazy crowd, we were told that as hotel patrons we would have to attend the New Years Eve dinner. It was a bit shady, but we went and sat through so-so cultural program and Signature and coke (that’s all they had!). They had snacks and later had dinner. It seemed like no one was playing any good Bollywood or Punjabi music so we ended up ringing the New Year in our room to youtube, McDowells, and some cotton candy we bought from a vendor! It was a lot of fun, and we couldn’t have imagined anything better.
Nick and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a blast and we wish nothing but good luck and lots of love for the 2012!!