Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Raincheck

Greetings from the Chhetri Sisters' guesthouse at the north end of lakeside Pokhara. The late morning flight in a tiny plane offered vistas of cloud, but I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse (and a snap? we'll see) of a familiar-looking icy peak in the vicinity where Everest lives. It's low season here, most of the tourist establishments on the pretty lake open but empty. A few lanky European kids loiter about like stray dogs. Tourist rowboats, unused, are surrounded by floating plants, some sporting purple flowers. It's the wrong season for the famous view of the Himalayan skyline over a little temple island - clouds hug the mountains. But midday's bright humid heat has given way to a refreshing sunset rainfall: monsoon!

Tomorrow's flight to Jomsom is looking unlikely - the weather has led to the cancellation of all flights there so far this week, and a break in the weather is not expected. (Flying weather seems the exception, not the rule, as it's up a steep mountain valley where visibility and wind are often an issue.) It's not the end of the world - Pokhara is point of departure for many treks, and we've found another which, while it won't go as high, should be plenty interesting and less dependent on transport subject to meteorological interference. Heading up to about 2000m it will offer rustic villages, lush vegetation - and the possibility of a spectacular view or two. The main mode of transport will be my trusty old legs. I've met my guide, who's friendly and knows the area inside out, so we'll be able to respond to challenges and opportunities as they come along. (Yes, there's a porter, too, who'll be happy I self-consciously packed light.)

In any case, there'll be pictures eventually - the 22nd or 23rd - and, who knows, perhaps an update from an internet cafe before that.

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