Monday, 7 July 2014

Hippies And The Rainy Season, Pokhara, Nepal, July 2014

How much and when?

It rains, that's for sure! when the sky closes in and heavens open, the deluge that follows is somewhat welcome bringing that tropical heat and humidity to an abrupt end - for a few hours anyway. June, July and August are the wet months and since 1st June I can tell you it's rained everyday, but predicting just when it might rain exactly is another matter. All I can say is that it will rain at some point within the next 24 hours. With a degree of certainty a very broad prediction can be made - after 3pm and before 7am. It's just as well to invest in an umbrella and some Wellington boots since those late afternoon showers can turn pretty violent around here in Pokhara, alternatively, try to be within a stones throw of a nice coffee shop anytime after 3, and be prepared to hangout there for at least an hour or two. Trudging through torrents of rain water in flip flops is not to be recommended as it's pretty mucky, dirty stuff one might imagine the case to be around here. At night fans of storms are treated to lightening shows like no other. Accompanied by thunder and pelting rain, well, there's just and awesome fascination with the phenomena. Sometimes brief, often lasting a few hours and lingering to the early hours, this is the time you just know the roofs around here are made of tin! So, there is a decent window of opportunity during the rainy season, early morning to mid-afternoon should 

What About Those Mountain Views?

Surprisingly there are mountain views, and with some regularity too. Trouble is visitors will need to be up with the birds - not an easy task for western alcoholics! Between 5 and 6am sees the best opportunity visitors have of viewing the entire Annapurna Mountain range. From 6 onwards and the first signs of clouds start to appear, forming across the range but still pretty decent views. From 8am though, views are partly obscured with clouds enveloping lower peaks and by 10 that's pretty much it, except perhaps for the tallest peak - but soon after that the whole range has disappeared with towering clouds swallowing those last remaining snow clad sides. Two weeks into July however and those morning mountain views are Well, pretty non-existent as overnight rain lingers on into mid- morning. Yes, July and the rainy season has arrived with a vengeance! 

So Who's in town for the rainy season?

Quite a surprising number of tourists are rolling into Lakeside, Pokhara, despite this being the wet season. Young Chinese and Middle aged Indians are here in force making up the majority of visitors. It's easy to pick out the Indian tourists. Arriving on large Volvo coaches, they maraud around in large groups and takeover an entire hotel complex, noisy and they spit profusely! The Chinese by comparison are well behaved and actually have some nice manners and don't spit that much.  Westerners are still trickling in on the half empty tourist buses from Kathmandu. Mostly American student types who enjoy the power of outdoor adventure whatever the weather - at least it's warm! The rest of the population around here are of course Nepali's and there's a significant white hippie prescience. Mostly ageing, in residence and leftover from the days of when drug use was legal I suspect. Knotted hair, fading tattoos and with gaping big holes in their ear lobes it's a look that bemuses some of the locals around here, including Mr. P who raises a smile as a character with big knotted hair saunters down to the lake. So, despite being the off season there is still plenty of establishments open. Plenty of lively Karaokee and cavorting at night and a few drinks bargains to be snapped up.

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