A story of loss and the boy left behind
September 20, 2009 – Day 269 – Pokhara, Nepal
A long and arduous climb into the mountains proved another fruitless effort for the Annapurnas in the distance. It was another day too hazy from the heat to afford a view of the snowy mountains. It took the whole day, several handfuls of “cow rocks” (used to ward off mean spirited water buffalo) and lots of rest breaks but we eventually made it to the top of Sarangot.
The view was a little disappointing even if we had not been hoping for snow capped mountains but the entrance fee to the top viewing point is just US$0.33. The view is more expansive than from the World Peace stupa because it is much higher but the area around the stupa is nicer and more relaxing. The top of Sarangot is poorly maintained and partitioned off as a “military space” with rusty barbed wire and a couple of makeshift buildings. Still, you get a nice view over the actual city of Pokhara from two sides.
Just as we were coming into town about 10 minutes from our hotel, another massive rainstorm rumbled to a start overhead. We wanted to shower and change clothes before heading out for some dinner and just narrowly missed the storm. A bit later, it seemed to have stopped and we decided to make a break for it and find something to eat. Misfortune struck as fat, heavy raindrops smacked down on our heads the farther and farther we went from our hotel. We were starving and there was nowhere nearby to get food so we had to keep going. Within 10 minutes it was raining so hard the streets were flooding with several inches of water and our clothes were almost soaked through despite our large Chinese umbrella. As we scampered through the torrential downpour and rushing rivers that were once streets, we lost our flip flops a couple times but were able to run after them in time. Finally, having tried and failed enough times, the flood snatched one of Saben’s beloved Haviana’s (purchased in beautiful Paraty, Brazil) and swept it into a storm grate. Unwilling to concede the loss of his favorite shoes, he went after it. Within a hair’s length of his fingertips, a sudden gush of water poured over the grate and sank the shoe down, down, into the miserable depths of somewhere in Lake Phewa. Devastated and missing one shoe, Saben sulked into one of the many outdoor stores and unceremoniously announced, “I need some shoes.” The sales girl looked from Lin to Saben’s bare foot and back then to Saben before finally helping us to the shoe racks. With few choices and no option to go barefoot through the water buffalo shit, he sank to the level of buying a cheap pair of Teva flip flops to get him through this difficult time without his favorite Havianas.
Soaked to the skin, dirty with muddy rain water, and still not having eaten since breakfast we stormed into the nearest restaurant. Unfortunately for our wallets, that turned out to be the apparently well known “Busy Bee Cafe.” The service was atrocious, the food was typically 10 times overpriced, and the portions minuscule but seeing how our day had been going we could take no more. Angrily scarfing our food down, we begrudgingly paid the exorbitant bill and sloshed our way back to the hotel beneath the now non-precipitating night sky. What a day.