Day 4 - Paani ra chiya

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today we went to visit Devis Falls where the water was moving so fast and aggressively it sounded like massive water jets in a hot tub. It was crazy to see how something so powerful and natural was confined in such a deep, small space. The mist it created showered on us lightly, cooling us off from the heat of the sun. After taking some silly tourist photos, I practiced my bargaining skills as we shopped around. Our tour guide then took us to the Gupteshwor Mahadev cave.

Inward spiraling stairs led us underground and it was a lovely view with old cement stairs, lightly patched with green moss, and green trees and leaves in between. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go deep into the cave as the recent end to the monsoon season blocked the underground route to Devis Falls. We left, knowing we could come back another month, and stopped at a store to rehydrate. Sipping mango juice and water outside, we saw a group of about 6 men outside, wearing the same outfit sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on a tiny bench next door. One was standing up and singing with his eyes closed through a mic and our tour guide told us they were blind. They would sometimes hold small festivals to raise money for the blind community. After our water break, we entered the Tibetan refugee camp and visited a Tibetan Buddhist monastery where we saw young monks praying in a room. I wasn’t sure whether we were staring at them or if they were staring at us but both parties were definitely curious. Apparently in Tibetan culture, the second-born son must always become a monk — a path that begins around age 6 or 7 and one that may, unsurprisingly, not always be embraced. Suddenly, the thought of what I would be doing 5 years from now entered my mind and I quickly erased it. After a short walk through the camp against an unreal mountainous backdrop, we went to visit the carpet store and factory where women were sitting and working outside.

They looked very peaceful and with permission, I shyly took a photo of them working. We left the camp and returned to the road to take our second bus ride of the day, one just as busy as the last, and pushing the limits of personal space. We got off the bus to see the expansive Pokhara lake, which was the highlight of my day. It was cloudy and rain was inevitable, but the view was overwhelming. Colorful wooden boats along the shore, endless waters, and mountains everywhere in the background. We soon noticed that it had begun to rain where we were standing just 2 minutes before. We started our brisk walk to the end of the path along the lake but the rainfall eventually caught up with us. Even though I had arrived back to the house under my umbrella, I was drenched head to toe. A quick change of clothes, tea, and rice pudding made it all better.

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