Back in Pokhara

I’m back at the Peace Eye Guest House for a couple nights. I took an early flight, hoping to see the Annapurna Himal from the air, but it was pretty hazy, and I had an assigned aisle seat on the wrong side of the plane.

Yesterday was another fun day, or evening at least. I met Raz, who is to be my trekking guide in two days, and picked up my eticket for the flight. Raz seems cool, young guy, speaks enough English to get us by for a week on the trail. Our chances of getting all the way to the Sanctuary in the time given aren’t assured, so we’ll play that by ear and turn around when necessary.

From there, I read a little more. Really trying to finish this tiresome Ayn Rand book so I can move on to something shorter and less of a giant, overwrought strawman argument. I took a nap, paid up at the Hotel Nana so I would be ready to depart in the morning (good thing, since the desk person was asleep on the floor when I left this morning), then walked through the hall to Tom and Jerry’s for cheese momo, beer and familiar music. Had a bit of a Facebook chat with some of you while I was sitting there watching soccer, both fun.

From there I tried to head to bed fairly early, but I needed my laundry from the hotel, and they didn’t have change for a Rs 1000. So, I went back out hoping to find a nightcap, which would result in change with which to pay the laundry bill.

Where else to go but the club down the street that had kept me awake the previous night with loud, live music. I looked this morning from the roof — I think it’s called the Lhasa Club. Anyway, it was a small, smoky place with elevated seating areas of cushions surrounding low tables. Stumbled up there without taking my boots off before I realized everyone else had, so I slipped them off and hid them, then just sat by myself and watched the band and, later, the increasingly dance-inclined crowd, including one old local that kept making unintelligible but happy announcements on the mic between songs and dancing in the aisle during songs, first by himself then with some female tourists to which he attached himself later.

Whoo-hoo… I just got my room here at Peace Eye, and it’s a serious upgrade over last time. Not that I minded walking to the roof before, but I can see the mountains from the big window on one side of my room now. It’s also very nice inside, and all this for Rs 1200 instead of 800 per night (the exchange rate in Pokhara now is around Rs 84 per USD).

Back to last night: Good band, and the singer’s mumbling some of the lyrics in English didn’t make it unpleasant. They played one song pretty roughly…I think it was “500 Miles”  by the Proclaimers…but otherwise were pretty damned good at it.

The highlight was about halfway through, when they played “Comfortably Numb,” a song I’ve loved since I heard the haunting Dar Williams and Ani DiFranco cover of it. I’ve never seen anyone play it live, and it was otherworldly — the atmosphere, the location, the beautifully played guitars, the mumbling. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to get change for laundry.

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