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Nepal Chapter 8

Pokhara to Kathmandu to Denver


Haggling is expected

Between slow meals overlooking the lake in Pokhara, I sparred with local shop owners over price on some souvenirs. Most notably, a large-ish prayer wheel encrusted with turquoise and coral. Despite negotiating down, I later realized he still managed to take me to the cleaner; the starting price was WAY high! Oh well, I concede, but also readily admit I'm still delighted with my keepsake.


That night I ordered my last dal bhat; a traditional Nepalese meal with rice, braised greens, curried and fermented vegetables, and lentil soup. I almost exclusively ate dal bhat while trekking in the mountains.


There's a saying there that goes, "Dal bhat power, twenty-four hour." It really does pack a lot of energy!


I bought a super dorky t-shirt from a tourist shop with that phrase on it... and look forward to wearing it around town where absolutely no one will understand the reference. My own little inside joke.



The oversized yak bells with colorful hand-dyed and hand-woven yak fur collars, on the other hand, were purchased for next to nothing. However, they proved suspicious and elicited curious questions as I passed through security six times during my journey home.


"Ma'am we're going to need to search this bag."


"Okay."


"Is there anything sharp, breakable or otherwise harmful in here?"


"Nope, just some yak bells."


"Some what!?"


They are neat though, and their sounds bring me back to the Himalayas.


More holding patterns

My last day in Nepal was painfully uneventful. It involved a lot of waiting around on a Sunday, when an already quiet Kathmandu was further closed down for nationwide elections.


Restaurants were closed. Shops were closed. Taxis weren't operating.


Kathmandu isn't exactly what I'd call a walkable city. It's an unorganized sprawl of narrow unmarked streets with heavy traffic that adheres to very few rules.


There are no lines on the roads. I only saw a handful of traffic signals at major intersections the whole time I was there. The chaos of busses, delivery trucks, taxis, motorcycles and mopeds flowed the way groups of blocks shift up and down and around on a rubik's cube... more rhyme than reason... but also, somehow, seemed to work.


So, what did I do, you ask? I slept in, ate brunch at the hotel, showered, went for a walk, got an early dinner at the rooftop bar, walked up and down the hotel's seven flights of stairs a dozen times and watched at least three hours of Antiques Roadshow on my phone.


That's right, while I may look 23 and was born in '88, I'm actually 95 years old.

Beggars can't be choosers

With the hotel staff's help, I was able to coordinate a taxi back to the Kathmandu Airport... but it would get me there a full five hours before my 1:40a boarding time.


At 10:30p, I got a (pretty terrible) cappuccino and listened to my Great Divide Spotify playlist while lip synching and having my own little silent disco. I'm sure I looked ridiculous doing this while standing against the closed and locked bright red roller doors of a foreign money exchange.


Someone, somewhere, said to dance like no one's watching, so....


No regrets, no shame

While flying from Doha to Seattle, I ordered not one—but two—gin and tonics. I refrained from drinking any alcohol or caffeine until after my trek; once I was down from high altitude for good.


Perhaps because my airfare accounted for about 75% of my total trip cost, I felt compelled to cash in on the complimentary cocktails.


So on the 14.5-hr flight—the second of three flights total—I indulged. They did the job, but were nowhere as good as Dave's!


Sisterhood

In the past, I've written about the sometimes uneasy ease at which I get emotional and how much my friends mean to me. While we weren't shipping a magical pair of jeans between us all summer, it wouldn't have surprised me if we had.


But two G&T's into Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, I started tearing up.



That's right, I cried during a sequel. And everyone knows movie sequels are never worth crying over. But between Lena's second chance at true love, Carmen taking a big risk in herself, Bridget's lesson in family and the overall theme of the power of friendship, I was a lost cause.


Home

After over thirty hours of traveling, I'm finally home. I can not express how good it feels and how much I look forward to rounding out this year and launching into 2023.


I'm humbled by those who've continued to follow my wayward life from the Great Divide, to Tofino, to Nepal. From my heart to yours; thank you!


I wish you happy holidays and the warmest of wishes heading into the new year! I think this is it for now.... until next time...


For those wondering: yes, I still had my little Boulder rock in my pocket the whole time.



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3 Comments


justsaundra
justsaundra
Nov 28, 2022

Welcome home! ❤️ Can't wait for your next adventure.

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John Evans
John Evans
Nov 25, 2022

This was my favorite part, "I may look 23 and was born in '88, I'm actually 85 years old."


Welcome back!

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Caitlyn Milton
Caitlyn Milton
Nov 25, 2022
Replying to

Haha it's so true though....


Thanks, John!

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