Last night in Pokhara, Leaving more people behind now and so it should be a sad night but it isn't. It's more a celebration of my stay (or at least that is how it felt for me, the others probably felt that everything could return to normal again) The night starts as normal with a beer and chatting at the bar. Keep an eye on Mandeep, if a beautiful woman walks the speed at which he trails off from conversation is a good indicator of how attractive she is. The usual suspects are all their, Moniek is talking to a guy I don't recognise. Rick is at the bar with Trev halfway through another bottle of Gorkha. Lucy and Quentin are losing at pool and the locals are crowding around the stage enjoying the music. Just another night at the Busy Bee.
Bimal comes over to my table and tells me they are playing over in Paradiso tonight and I should come and maybe play one time. I'm drunk at this point. Not fallover drunk but drunk enough. I've just put back a Flaming Sambuca and I am pretty sure another one is on the way. It is not the right time to be playing the drums but I agree. People start calling it a night in the BB and head over to All That Jazz but I hold back and then after one more drink head over to Paradiso. We walk in and it is pretty empty. I order beers all round and then Bimal calls me upto the stage. I stumble on the way but once sat down the room stops spinning and the drum kit comes back into focus. Needless to say it wasn't my best performance but everyone was drunk so it was well received and I enjoyed it more than previously.
After that we finished the drinks and headed out, I think I was supposed to pay but didn't. It's ok though, I'll be back in a few years to settle the bill! The rest is a bit of a haze to be honest. I remember not being able to find “All That Jazz” and getting involved in some kind of fight. A police van pulled up and out came 10 officers who surrounded us. A motorbike screams up alongside me and yells at me to jump on. In seconds we are blasting down lakeside at 70kmh (hey come on, it was only 175cc) towards my hotel. The biker drops me off right outside and I realise I didn't tell him where to go. I ask him how he knew and he points at my bike, smiles and rides off.
So whoever you were, thanks for the ride!
Philip got back about 10 minutes later, didn't know anything more about the fight than I did. After ATJ they went back to BB for a drink but apparently it was quiet all over town and so called it early too. Philip had a 6am start the next day so we watched an episode of Family Guy and I went back to my hotel room for one last night in the closest thing I have had to a home in 9 months. It's a good feeling leaving it (huh what?) I love it here but when it is time to move it is defiantly time to move. I'd been getting that feeling, the itchy feet feeling, for a few days and so when I woke up in the morning and the sun was shining I knew it was a good day to ride.
I hit my usual points of call on the way out, the last morning routine, Down to the Asian T House where I meet Shiva (the best omlette chef in town) and had one last breakfast. I check the guest book and look up Gubi's comment. The date? 18-2-09 exactly one month ago. I remember the morning he left and think of the similarities. The gap we left is still there and so I write my own. Just as I am about to leave Shiva tells me he has a gift for me, I kinda figured what it was (think back, if you can, to Pakistan and the “gift” from the police officers.) but he gets out this big package wrapped in newspaper. It's a Kuhkuri blade complete with sheath. I take it out and look at the blade. It isn't the sharpest and the decoration isn't the most intricate or beautiful. The surface of the knife is slightly rusted and the wooden sheath is discoloured. I'm lost for words. As I run my fingers over the cutting edge I try to think of a way to say thank you but nothing comes apart from a handshake and those two words.
Back on the bike and over to see Raju. Blessings of all blessings, Andy isn't their and neither is Peter. Raju doesn't speak much English which makes saying bye a lot easier. We shake hands, wish each other luck and get a few quick photos before me and Graham set off. I make a promise as I ride off. A promise I have made to people here already but one I need to confirm to myself. I'll be back, dunno when but I know it is true. I have made good friends here and I want to know that their lives turned out well.
Four hours and 200km later we arrive in Kathmandu. Horns and traffic, cows and crazies. It's India.. almost. The traffic isn't so bad and they only use the horns once every 3 seconds. Philips caught up with us and you can get wifi pretty much anywhere. The hotel room is a hotel room. Identical in every way to the other 100 hotel rooms I have stayed in and yet so completely different to the one I have just left. It is to be the base of operations for the next 7 days.
I have a bridge to jump off and Tibetan soil to touch. My motorbike needs to be reduced to its component parts, fitted into the smallest crate possible and then loaded onto a plane. I have to get a haircut, a new wallet and a couple of new shirts as mine are literally falling apart. One week till Thailand! Excited? Oh hell yeah! It's good to be moving again!
So long Nepal and thanks for all the fish!