Last night we had everything packed up and ready to go. This morning was left for last minute showers, and checking into our flight for tonight.
We had a lovely breakfast again this morning. Our chef prepared us a lovely Mae to order omelette, and we also had an extensive choice of hot and cold buffet items, both western and Indian / Nepali fare available.
With a satisfying breakfast, we went up to our room to gather our things. Dan called down to the front desk of the Temple Tree Resort and a bellhop was up there before he put the phone down, I swear! Our stay here has been wonderful. Excellent staff, wide variety of onsite facilities and easy access to the main drag and the Phewa Lake activities. Perfect in many respects.
We met our driver at 9 am ( although for the life of me, I cant see why we needed to leave this early!). Oh well, better safe on time than sorry, but Kathmandu AP was not where I wanted to spend my last 6-8 hours in Nepal! We did decided to get a box lunch to take with us, to eliminate the risk of picking up something risky at a roadside cafe.
Our driver was hellbent to get us where we needed to go on time. While he had originally stated that it would be about a 5 hours drive, he was quite upset with us asking to leave at 10 am (our flight was 22:45!). We acquiesced and met him at 9. As we drove out of Pokhara, we could tell he was focused on getting us to the AP as fast as he could. Like a Top Gun pilot he navigated around anything and anyone that was in our path. Whether he had good passing sight lines or not! I think he knew he was pushing it when Dan shouted out an expletive and then asked him to slow down…better we get there alive then speed to a fast death!
Well, I was a little tired when we got going, but that drive sure woke me up. The countryside was covered in a haze which seems to be quite usual this time of year. The villages and towns that we passed seem to have been put up on a while. The dust coating everything was strangling for all we could see.
We finally were driving into the outskirts of Kathmandu when the Wild horse local office called our driver.
As we were due to hit the airport by 3 ish, he asked if we would like to visit something while in Kathmandu. Dan was of a mind to simply go to the airport, but then suggested that there might be a nice hotel close to the airport where we could get a drink and relax for a few hours before our driver once again picked us up and dropped us at our final destination. A perfect selection was made, and we are sitting enjoying a drink while we are on our respective “machines”.
As Dan and I lounge over a tea before dinner, we have been recounting our Roses and Thorns of this trip. Dan’s top three roses ( highlights) are: 1) Dan’s climb and visit to the Hermit Temple while in the Haa Valley in Bhutan, 2) Wildlife in Ranthambore and Chitwan Parks, and 3) Bhutan! His Thorns (lowlights) are 1) the final stage of the hike up to NamoBhudda in the Kathmandu Valley, 2) some of the roads in Bhutan and 3) the never ending drive in from Kathmandu Airport to our hotel in Patan when we first arrived in Nepal.
My Roses were 1)Tiger and Rhino Sightings, 2) Completing the Bumdra Trek in Bhutan and loving it! And 3) the incredible compassion of our Bhutanese guide, Kenchu, as he coached us to our full hiking potential! For my Thorns, they would be 1) the Kathmandu Visa Process upon arrival (Always, always, always bring 2 passport photos!) 2) the smog in Delhi ( albeit the day after Diwali fireworks) and the dust and grime of Kathmandu, and 3) My first look at the bathroom at our first homestay in Bhutan – no sink for hand washing (was later installed that pm) and the very very low western toilet – all decorated in rough concrete!
Quite frankly, the trip has been filled with Roses overall! Such a whirlwind of activities, and such a splendour of cultures and scenery. We have been very very fortunate. And, we haven’t had a day of rain yet! Btw, the day time temps started out in the 30’s in India and stayed in the mid twenties (C) throughout Bhutan and Nepal – except when we were over 3800 M! Just a perfect time of year to visit!
Well, we’ll soon be heading in for supper, and then catching our drive to the Kathmandu airport. An overnight flight to Hong Kong, and a layover long enough for us to do a few hours of touring! Until then!