A healthy contingent of tourists mooching and milling about in the afternoon sunshine.
Certainly not the hoards that might be expected given the number of bars, cafés and coffee shops, not to mention the overwhelming array of souvenir shops - most devoid of any custom at this moment in time. No harassment on the pavement as can be experienced in India. No pressurising to "look my shop" and no continual call outs for "taxi, tuk tuk or Moto, Sir" as experienced in Cambodia. There are of course taxi drivers loitering, touting their services but a polite no thanks with a smile does the trick. A pleasant 40 minute stomp from the tourist bus park to Lumbini's Cafe, my starting point for a 10 week stay in Pokhara, although I wouldn't rule out a side trip to Thailand!
Familiar faces on the little street leading to Fewa Lake. Lumbini's is about half the way along. Nods and smiles from the shop owners as I approach the cafe then a shriek of delight from little Amrit. Yes, he looks pleased at my return as they all do. Yes, it's nice to be back and first on the agenda is something to drink and second, find a place to stay which won't be difficult around here as there are at least a hundred guesthouses to choose from.
Why Lumbini's? Well, last time this place was the focal point for a 3 week stay and as such I got to know the family running things - Mr. Pandey, Mrs. Pandey and their children Amrit 10 and Anjali 12. I was privileged to be invited into their lives and participate - doing the school run and peeling garlic mainly! Now, Amrit is 11 and Anjali has been sent away to relatives as she needs to focus on her studies, according to Mumma Pandey. Big Brother is still loitering in the background though, but no one can quite explain his relationship to the family, best not to probe in that direction.