I got the data service working on my phone with its new Nepali SIM card. The phone just needed to be told the details for NCell’s APN, which were found in English in the little guide they gave me. Still using WiFi when possible, but with all auto-updates disabled and the relatively inexpensive data costs, NCell should serve me well.
I also tested the Delorme tracker yesterday, letting it run in track mode during the morning’s wandering. It worked flawlessly except in the very narrow streets of Thamel, where I would guess it struggled to get a GPS fix let alone a two-way connection to the Iridium network. That should mean in will work well through most or all of my planned trek.
Last night I had a second mushroom pizza, this time at Fire and Ice. Wasn’t planning on it, but the three NGO volunteers that are staying here longer term wanted to go there, so I joined them. The rest of the westerners here — including Scott, who runs the organization — were out overnight at a village where they do some work, so dinner here would have been quiet. Bought a bit of Nepali rum and some coke and enjoyed those in the garden before catching my best night of sleep this week. Even slept til 430 this morning, a new personal best for the trip.
This morning I did a little research online on hotels in Pokhara, where I plan to head tomorrow. I am going to head to north or south Lakeside and find something when I get there and can see the places and argue pricing. I’m planning to visit the Yeti Airlines office this morning to see about a flight, since that sounds more pleasant right now than does trying to get on the correct bus to Pokhara. As far as the experience goes, from the air you see the mountains, while from the bus you see lush valleys — neither a bad thing. Bus would be cheaper, of course, but it’s my second choice right now.
From Pokhara, I’ll get my first looks at the Annapurna Himal. I cannot wait. I’ve actually had dreams over the years that I was back there looking at them on a crisp morning from a hotel roof. That’s in addition to playing the mind trick with myself of looking at low clouds along the horizon and pretending they are hiding snow-covered peaks (this actually works). Still can’t believe I’m back in Nepal.