Beginning of the sunrise at Poon Hill.
Today we were up super early, like out the door by 5:30 AM. Nim was taking us to see the sunrise at Poon Hill. We had about an hour long trek to get there....in the dark. Nim had a headlamp and Steve actually made great use of the built in flash light on his cell phone.
A bunch of other tourists were all headed up to the same spot. There were a ton of stairs as usual. I felt pretty sinus infectiony/coughing sick in the morning so the trek up to Poon Hill was not the easiest. My breathing sounded like a wolly mammoth wearing a darth vador helmet. When we made it to the top, you could see for miles and miles. The air was freezing cold and everyone was dressed in hats, gloves and winter coats. There was a small booth with a tiny generator where a man and woman were selling some hot drinks to arriving tourists.
Me and Steve on Poon Hill. Altitude of 3210 meters.
I staked out a spot up on the observation tower and waited for the sun to rise. And waited. And waited. And waited. I had to crouch down out of the wind every once in a while because my face was going numb. My fingers were too cold to change any of the tiny buttons on my camera so I just put in on one setting and hoped it would work. While I was crouched down beneath the wall of the observation tower platform the guy next to me said in a British accent, "Sun will be risin soon. You better come up here. It'd be a shame to come all this way and miss it." So I stood back up into the freezing cold, holding my Nikon D40, just waiting for the sun to make it's entrance into the last day of 2010.
People watching the sunrise.
Finally the sky got dark orange and pink. The clouds reflected the colors of the sun. Behind one mountain to the left there was a small glimmer of bright orange light. The all of the sudden, the sun rose. You could actually see it moving up into the sky. It moved quicker than I thought it would. Within 2 minutes it had already come into full view above the mountains. All the tourists made the classic "oohhh ahhhh" noises and the cameras clicked away. It was really something.
Me, Steve and Nim after seeing the sun rise on Poon Hill.
After some pictures Nim said it was time to go back to the hotel for breakfast. It was cold. Nim said, "Ah yes, very cold. Don't matter if you're doctor, engineer, tourist, Nepali, girl or boy, everybody feel the same cold."
Breakfast was a pancake and muesli with hot milk.
By 8:30 we were packed and out the door, off to begin our day long decent down the moutain we had been climbing for the last two days. It was snowing slightly when we left.
The trek was long, and all downhill. That long set of stairs that was so difficult to climb was almost just as difficult to go down. I counted the number of steps I took, it was around 4088. By the end of that 45 min hike down those stone steps I didn't really have full control over my knees or any of my leg muscles for that matter.
Swinging bridge we had to cross towards the end of the day.
Got lunch. Steve got lasagna and his new favorite thing: Tibetan bread with honey. It was really good. I got macaroni with egg and vegetables. I also got this thing called rice pudding. I think it was literally hot instant vanilla pudding with cooked rice mixed into it. Not the best thing ever but the concept made me chuckle.
I didn't take many pictures on the hike down the mountain. But here's some things I saw on the trek down: porters carrying little kids in baskets up the mountain, other trekkers and guides, chickens, bulls, goats, sheep, rams, tons of scenic views, lots of stone steps, trees, rivers, every kind of fam animal poop, Nepali kids, people carrying loads up the mountains, mules carrying loads up the mountain, tea houses, houses, hotels, farms, and some clouds.
Towards the end of the hike it started to rain. I put the rain cover on my hiking backpack but didn't really mind that I got soaked with rain. We hiked for such a long time. I started humming Disney songs to myself to keep from being bored haha! Finally made it back to Naya Pul and waited for our taxi. I was exhausted.
Looking a little tired and rainy after our 8 hours of hiking.
The taxi took us on a slightly frightening and very slippery ride back to Pokhara. We got our bags and went to our new room in the Vagabond Hotel. A guy showed us to a room on the second floor. It had one bed. I nixed that pretty quick and asked for a room with two beds. No offense to Steve but seriously? I just hiked around a mountain for 8 hours! There was no way I was sharing a bed with anyone! Our new room with 2 beds was on the first floor, which meant my tired leg muscles didn't have to climb anymore stairs that day. Score.
Worst news ever: the hotel uses a solar water heater and because of the rain that day, there was no sun, annnnnd the water hadn't been heated. Long story short I was soaking wet, really cold, couldn't move my muscles and there was no hot water. BUMMER!! Nim came to the rescue and informed the hotel staff we were going to need a bucket of water heated up. A half hour later a guy showed up with a ginormous bucket of really hot water. The showering process was slightly more complicated but at least there was some hot water. I showered first and used half the bucket so there would still be some for Steve.
Right when Steve was done showering they showed up with ANOTHER bucket of steaming hot water. At this point we weren't really sure what to do with this bucket because we had both already taken showers. We didn't want to waste it so we carefully created two small hot tubs. There was this whole ordeal of evening out the bucket water temperatures by adding cold water so that we wouldn't cook our toes off. Finally, with both buckets at perfect hot tub temperature, we sat there with our feet and hands in the water. Best idea we've had all week.
The mini hot tub set up.
It was New Years Eve so we headed out to the street to find a place to eat. Walking through Pokhara was great people watching. The road was still closed off for vehicle so restaurant stands, cotton cany vendors, carnival game and rides were set up everywhere. Steve had picked the pizza place last time we were in Pokhara so he said it was my turn to chose a restaurant. I was in search of two things: a fire to sit by, and an Everest Beer. We've been seeing signs for Everest Beer all along our trek. The would say funny things like "Be at the top with Everest Beer, Nepal's beer." I decided it was necessary that we try this famous Nepali beer while in Nepal.
Steve with his Everest Beer.
The Laxman restaurant gave us a great table right by the fire and two tall, ice cold Everest Beers. The restaurant had a great vibe to it. We decided it was because the tables were full of Australian travelers. I ordered naan bread and the traditional Nepali set meal. Steve ordered two cheese burgers ha!
Me and my traditional Nepali set meal.
My dinner was huge but I was starving so I easily inhaled the entire plate. After dinner we walked around Pokhara for a little while. By 11:00pm I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open so we headed back to the Vagabond Guesthouse. Pretty sure I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow. Quality New Years Eve (despite the fact I didn't even stay awake until midnight).