Never would I have ever imagined that I would have ever stepped foot in Nepal, in my lifetime. Seeing the Himalayans beyond the ever present pictures, were nothing but a crazy dream. No where near being a part of reality. But Alhamdulillah. Thanks to my ever lovely aunt, that dream, was now, no longer a dream. 7 days in Nepal, had now become a reality.
If I were to be honest with you, the one thing that had me beyond excited in the first part of the trip, had to be the thought of the much colder weather. Coming from a country where anything below 20 Degrees would be considered as winter, stepping into Kathmandu at 7.41pm (local time) with the temperature being just about 14 degrees, was an absolute dream.
The wind was blowing, and the night was as dark as ever. Yet, it was truly lovely to see the Streets of Thamel at such an hour. Though it wasn’t as near as lively as I expected it to be. But being the (amateur) photographer that I am, it wasn’t something that had me disappointed. I simply couldn’t wait for daylight to come, as so I could capture the beauty of the streets and it’s people.
The hotel we stayed in, stuck smack in the centre of the streets of Thamel, was (surprisingly) very lovely. It had been newly renovated, and for the clean freak that I am, there couldn’t have been anything sweeter.
It was in the days of being in Kathmandu and Pokhara, that I realized just how bad (i.e : how frequent) the power cuts/power rations were. At certain moments, it had me forgetting that it was Nepal I was in, and not Gaza. With no power, it had meant that there was no functioning heater. And no heater, had meant freezing in the coldness of the night. There were certain days where I woke up, and had thought the Angel of Death paid a visit, and I was now reincarnated as an icicle. (Yes, it did get that cold. Though I’m sure you Canadians could have worn shorts to sleep, and still find it better than the weather you’ve been having. :P) Getting out of the comforts of the covers, were about just the hardest thing to do. Every time I took a shower, I would’ve spent at the very least, 45 minutes in there. 35 minutes simply standing under the hot water (THANK YOU LORD, FOR HOT WATER AND SOLAR POWER), and the other 10, doing what I was meant to. Turning the hot water to the hilt, it took my skin turning scorching red, before I realized the water had been far too hot. It’s an absolute mystery how with my 7 days being there, I hadn’t came home with 1st degree burns. But wallah, looking back, I wouldn’t have it changed for the world.
We flew to Pokhara the next day. But on the way to the airport, I had seen the most disgusting thing ever. Graphitized on the wall, had been, none other than the Israeli Flag and the Nepali Flag, with a heart smack in between the two. Absolutely petrifying. *shivers*
Hoping for that to have been the last traces of Israel I’d see on the land, I was of course, disappointed. The moment I saw the Nepalese Army, I had to restrain myself from face-palming. The presence of Israel, was very much obvious.
Alas. Enough talks of the pariah state. Nothing good ever comes out of it, anyway.
We were due to take off for Pokhara with Buddha Air at approximately 9.30am, but the conditions of the weather hadn’t been so great, and so the flight was delayed for about an hour or so.
To make up for it, the journey over had been magical. One side you’d see the valleys of Kathmandu, and the other, the Himalayan range. There couldn’t have possibly been anything more beautiful. The moment we reached, the Machapuchare Mountain had greeted us. Though till today, I still can’t seem to be able to figure out as to why it’s called the “Fish Tail Mountain”, when it obviously looks more like a Fin.
After we reached the hotel and settled in, the lovely hotel manager, had given us the grandest suite they had, which was directly facing the Himalayans – with no extra charge.
His motto had been, “Whatever makes you happy, makes me happy.” And ‘Happy’, we all sure had been! It was absolutely gorgeous! Imagine waking up to this every morning? Ah! Bliss! On the other side of the balcony, we had the lake staring back. It truly couldn’t have gotten any better than that!
After settling in, we had gone out for lunch.
Needing to discuss whether or not we still wanted to trek up to the World Peace Stupa. After eating and continuous chattering, we decided to allow ourselves to be overcome by the fatigue we felt, and the need to shop. And so, we hired a cab to drive us up instead. From a 4 – 5 hour trek, it became a 10 minute climb up to see the sunset. And yet again, that had been absolutely fantastic! With the view consisting of one side being the Himalayan Range, and the other, the Pokhara Valley.
Next came the big day. It was the day we were all looking forward to, but feared the most. It was the day we were to jump off a cliff at Sarangkot, with a height of 1425m. It was our day, to Paraglide. But sadly, the weather hadn’t been so great earlier in the day. The clouds were thick, and not a Paraglider was in sight. We had already started to discuss about other plans, just in case we couldn’t fly. My aunt was secretly jumping for joy. Not that it wasn’t very obvious 😉 But just as we decided to go for a boat ride instead, we started seeing Paragliders fly. So we rushed back to the hotel, to await for the transport to come.
We were all made to sit in a jeep, braving through the roads uphill towards Sarangkot. As we all sat stock still in silence, the pilots were beyond amused. So much so, they had laughingly told us, that if we made the journey up towards the hill, then we’re all good and set to fly. For in all honesty, the road up, was far more dangerous than running off the cliff.
Fear obviously has me doing the silliest of things. I don’t ever pose like that. PROMISE.
After getting geared up, fixing my hijab and identifying our own pilots, I had been the first one to go. Though sadly, my first attempt had been quite the mess. The wind that we tried to catch, had ended up being far too strong, causing the chute to not rise as well as it should. And with me being the light gal that I am (ha ha), was just about to get swept off my feet by the ever charming wind. But thankfully….I had fallen, before I literally flew.
My pilot had tried to calm me down, telling me that it was a good try and what not. I wasn’t far from screaming at him to be honest. I mean, how could THAT possibly have been a good try?
…Not that I knew anything about Paragliding at that point, of course.
And then, this other lovely pilot had come over. Probably after seeing what had happened, he had offered to give us hand. To assist me in having myself stabilized and not get rocked over with the wind. He had stood in front of me, grabbing on to my harness, and warning me to firstly not drag him along when I flew, seeing as how he wasn’t attached to anything, and of course, me being in the petrified state that I was, I warned him that I could make no such promises. But seeing as how I lived to tell this tale, and am obviously not behind bars for attempted homicide, Houston, we made it. The take off had been perfect thereafter!
Though the views of the mountains were still blocked by the clouds, the fly had been absolutely amazing. No words could possibly ever describe how it felt to be able to release that inner bird, to spread the wings you’ve forgotten you had. The whole thing, was nothing short of breathtaking! Saching, my
cute pilot, had taken us up to about a 1800m.
We hanged out in the air for a bit, before taking a bunch of photos of ourselves.
(Can anyone say coolest selfie ever?!) and then proceeding to land. It had most definitely been the best 20 or so minutes of my life! I can’t believe I’ve finally gotten to check this off my Bucket List! Though if I were to be honest with you, if I had stayed in air for a few minutes longer, there would’ve been quite a high chance that the Pokhara Valley could have been flooded by whatever remains of the Palak Paneer and Dal Fry I had the previous night! Disgusting image? You’re welcome.
The landing was absolutely awesome. We literally flew over a person’s head, before we touched the ground, a couple feet ahead. It was so quick, I barely realized I had been back on the ground!
If you ever have doubts about going Paragliding – DON’T.
It’s safe (if you have yourself a well-trained pilot, that is). It’s amazing. It’s worth every penny.
To simply have it summarized, the trip was absolutely amazing.
Being the absolute-complete-without-a-doubt woman that I am, three days into the trip, and I was already short of funds. With my bags filled to it’s hilt. It’s a complete shopper’s Paradise. Especially when you tend to get the best of bargains. Winkwink 😉
Nepal most certainly has a lot to offer. It truly is a Mecca for the Hindu-Buddhists. The temples were absolutely magnificent. With each one having major histories and stories of it’s own. I may be no believer of either faiths, but even I couldn’t deny just how at awe I had been!
For shorter stories, and to get the gist of Nepal and it’s people, check out the Facebook Album I’ve created : Faces of Nepal 🙂
And last but not least, to the person who had made this trip possible, with all the beauty and joy that it had brought, no words could ever be enough to tell you just how grateful and thankful I am, that you had chosen to have me brought along, barging into your time with your girls. Thank you so much, aunty! May He reward you for your sweetness, your kindness, your love and may He always bless you with the best of the best, and may He ease your journey in every trial, and make easy all that isn’t.
I love you to the moon and back! ❤
If you’re reading till this far, congratulations! I applaud and thank you, for your patience and attention. Before you click the exit button, let us say a little prayer for the over 18 lives lost last Sunday in Nepal Airline’s latest plane crash, due to horrible weather conditions. To think that it had been barely a week since we took off from the same runaway, is absolutely horrifying.
May He grant peace to the deceased, and strength to the families.