Dave and I had talked about finding a place to stop for awhile. We had become a little road weary and India was not helping us become un-road weary. We heard some good things about Pokhara and decided to go there and see if it could be our place. We ended up staying a whole week and half, turns out its pretty relaxing.
What did we do in Porkhara for a week and a half you might ask? Nothing, absolutely nothing. There was a lot of waking up, going to breakfast, napping, going to lunch, browsing the web, going to dinner, and of course hanging out with Jorge who also joined in our laziness in Pokhara.
Out of the week and half we did actually do two things; we took a 4 hour stroll to the peace pagoda and we tried paragliding.
The hike to the peace pagoda was very rewarding with some great views of the Annapurnas in the Himalayas. All three of us had just come back from the Langtang trek so we were still in walking shape which made it not that difficult to head up there. I think it was one of the best views I’ve had for lunch.
The paragliding was also somewhat unexpected. Our friend Jorge really wanted to do it and was trying to talk us into it the whole time we were there. Pokhara is titled “the best place to para glide in the whole world.” It gains this titled because of the Annapurna peaks in the background. Jorge had finally talked us into going and all we had to do was wait until the paragliding competition was over. We had decided to go the day before we left for our next trek. That day turned out to be hazy so we opted not to go. We told Jorge we’d go when we got back from our trek. Oh well, we tried.
The following day when we were supposed to leave but there was a transportation strike and all buses and public transportation was stopped. This forced us to stay in Pokhara another day, shucks. And it also gave us a chance to do some paragliding with Jorge.
How paragliding works: 1. start from a pretty high location and run off the mountain side. 2. catch a thermal using a gauge that beeps like crazy when you’re in hot air. 3. circle over and over again while you gain some altitude. 4. Glide to wherever you want 5. repeat steps 2-4 until your time is up.
It was pretty awesome. We opted for the 60 minute ride. I had an avid paragliding pilot from France. He really enjoyed paragliding and couldn’t resist the urge to go up higher whenever we reach a thermal. My pilot and I had reached the height of 2100 meters (6,890 ft) and we started at 1592 m (5223 ft). That’s a total height gain of 508 m (1667 ft) just by hot air in a matter of minutes. Now I understand why birds do it so frequently, in fact there were some birds right along with us.
As part of the flight, my pilot asked if I liked tricks-we had seen many of the pilots perform tricks while they were in the competition. From the ground it looks rather frightening. They make their chute go almost vertical on one side and then do the same thing on the other side-it looks like the chute can fold into itself. They also spin like a crazy person, which looks like they are spinning out of control from the ground. I responded to my pilot with a big fat maybe?? Which he took as a yes and responded with “tell me to stop if you don’t like it.”
Well, the chute almost vertical trick is pretty cool. You go almost vertical and then while switching to the other side you get the free fall, roller coaster feeling in your stomach. He did the back and forth a couple of times and then he switched to the spin like a crazy person. I didn’t like that one so much. All you see is the earth underneath you spinning out of control which makes you really dizzy. I politely asked him to stop that one. Dave on the other hand knew he wouldn’t like those and didn’t try them. In fact, he felt like he was going to throw up 2/3 of the whole ride. And then, surprisingly, when all of us landed we all felt nauseous. I don’t know, someone explain that one to me.
Dave and I both enjoyed it, Jorge loved it. We’re glad we did it, how often to you get to feel like a bird?
Anyway, we love Pokhara. It was a well deserved rest and we couldn’t wait to come back after our second trek. Also, this is when we said our “see you later” to Jorge, who we hope to meet up with again in Southeast Asia or Brazil someday.