May 26:  Pokhara

We were supposed to leave at 4:30am for Sarangkot to see the most glorious sunrise ever over the Annapurna range.  But it was raining during the night.  At 3:45am I found myself awake and listening to the longest continuous roll of thunder ever, and torrential rain.  In the next 15 minutes before my alarm went off I figured that even if the rain itself completely stopped in the next hour, there'd be no sunrise visibility and a muddy 2.5-hr hike down the mountain, and the effort of brushing my teeth, putting in my contacts, getting dressed and going downstairs seemed like a bad idea given the near-certain cancellation of the excursion.  So I stayed in bed.  Just after the planned 4:30am departure I heard people coming back to their rooms.  Good call.

I fell back asleep and had crazy dreams.  One was a continuation or repeat of a dream earlier in the trip.  Someone got a hold of my personal e-mails and posted them on the Internet.  They were harmless and not sent from work, but apparently they were controversial and I was in trouble at work because of them.  I think the dream was bred from the iciness and avoidance I get from some cunts at work which I've learned is on account of me being smart and a comedian.  They can't keep the personal and professional separate.  The e-mails in this dream included some innocent correspondence with girls and some reference to a priest that people seemed to think was out of line.  Word was I was going to fired because of the e-mails.  I heard this at a table where I was sitting and everyone at the table was talking about the situation, but not to me, oblivious to my presence.  I didn't even know the contents of the e-mails, so this didn't seem fair.  But hey, people have been fired for less, and less honest reasons.  My old dog Chester once fired a girl merely because of a personality conflict.  Then I had another dream where I was at a comedy show sitting in the front row and the comedian was talking to me, then said my name and complimented me on killing everywhere.  I didn't realize he knew who I was.  I think it was Mack Lindsay, except he had a dark evil goatee and looked totally different.  I think it was him.  Whichever comedian opened that midnight show I did at Lovitz and got banned after saying Jon Lovitz was never funnier than when he was carrying Chris Farley's casket.  Too soon!

Got up for real at 9:15am.  Noticed my toothbrush was getting moldy around its midsection.  That's what happens when I store it in a case for travel rather than let it air-dry as I do at home.  Another thing for the post-trip shopping list.

This was a completely free day.  I left the hotel at 10am to go out for a walk.  There was a vendor who talked to me and Jane yesterday until a random Welsh guy beckoned to Jane on account of recognizing her accent and the vendor awkwardly disappeared.  Anyway, the vendor saw me this morning and asked where my girlfriend was.  She wanted to show me her "store", which comprised her backpack.  As you know from the earlier rant I had no interest in anything in her backpack, but she insisted that showing me would take "just one minute", and I had a free day, so I obliged.  It was all jewelry.  Don't want it, don't have anyone who might appreciate it.  She kept calling me "young boy" even though there's a chance she was younger than me.  She was a Tibetan living in a refugee camp in Nepal (Lonely Planet confirms that they harass tourists in Pokhara) and started throwing in that I'd be helping her and other Tibetans by buying something.  When she realized I didn't want to buy anything based on lack of perceived value, my duty as rich American to help persecuted Tibetans became her sole selling point.  And then she got pissed because she went through all the trouble of laying out her wares and I had no intention of buying anything.  Ugly-ass broad.  Go back to Tibet and submit to assimilation.

I strolled along the main street.  Found Izaak and Karen.  I'd seen a few very bad Yeti t-shirts in the shops but they found one for me that was good enough.  Izaak confirmed that the Sarangkot trip was cancelled due to weather.  It should have been, because even now the clouds were obscuring the lower hills from the main street.

Janie joined us for a bit.  Later we ran into Abdulla, Jane and Gabi having drinks at a cafe.  Jane had a huge bug bite!  That's probably gonna be fatal.  Gabi showed off a nasty bruise.  Lots of ailments and injuries on this trip, but even with the mosquito bites, I might be the least-scathed person in the group.

The several of us returned to the hotel at 11:30am to get Elana, who had been sick for days.

We (me, Izaak, Elana, and I think Janie?) went back out for lunch at 12pm.  We ended up at Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant, recommended by Lonely Planet.  It's in the Lakeside East area, on the main road but south of where the busy area peters out, so most tourists won't stumble onto this one.  We were just kind of curious to try Tibetan food.  I had buffalo (very fatty, but soft, so it was edible) in garlic sauce with rice, and a Kathmandu beer.  During lunch Izaak told me who won Idol, after I waived the spoilage ban.

On the way back I got the idea to purchase a gift for someone.  The shopkeeper asked me to name my price.  I did, and she tilted her head back and LLOL (if you're not the gift recipient you might need this term defined:  Literally Laughed Out Loud), pointing out that the object was hand-carved.  Just overdoing the whole haggling thing.  She named a price that was 2.5 times that.  I worked her down and she pretended to cave at the end.  It didn't seem like authentic haggling.  The ending price was the exact midway point between my first buy price and her first ask.  We should have just submitted to arbitration.

Continuing toward the hotel, someone broached the topic of the 7-7:30pm dinners being a problem because of all the early departures.  I agreed.  I would have preferred earlier dinners so we could hang out and have a few more drinks afterward and not have to rush things in order to squeeze in 5 hours of sleep.

We ran into Megan, who said we're all meeting at 4:45pm for happy hour.  Wow, the late dinner problem is solved just like that.  But I had Rs 5,815 left (Nepali, no Indian) and I realized that with 3 days left and some socializing in the plans, I'd probably have to hit another ATM.  These countries aren't as cheap as some others.

After all this walking, I was exhausted.  Iíve been on this street a thousand times.  Itís never looked so strange.  The cold.  In the distance a child is crying...fatherless...a bastard child, perhaps.  My back aches, my heart aches, but my feet are resilient!  Thank God I took off my heels and put on my Himalayan walking shoes!  This son of a bitch is ice cold.

At 2:45pm I ditched the others to go to the Internet cafe.  I was on 2:55pm-3:40pm but it was painfully slow.  Like several minutes to load each page.  And some people think I have the resources to analyze and act on Rotisserie baseball trade offers, especially after I said I wouldn't.  Found out Jorge De La Rosa is having Tommy John surgery and is done for the year, so I have to replace him.  Maybe I'll spend my extra time in Kathmandu queuing up bids.  Casey Blake and Nyjer Morgan are supposed to come off the DL tomorrow, so my hitting will be back to what I got in the auction.  I've been in 9th-10th place through the first third of the season due to injuries and my top guys like Howard and Uggla slumping, but the projected stats had me finishing the year tied for 2nd, and at some point reality and projections will converge.  In other words, stop sending me trade offers assuming I already want to dump all my productive guys for Young Studs.

View from my room at 4:40pm after my shower.  Nice place.  This street has a bunch of hotels, and a short walk to the right (west) takes you to the main road of shops and restaurants and bars.

We were supposed to meet in the lobby at 4:45pm for happy hour, and I waited for almost a half hour, but no one showed up.  WTF?  Izaak came back and said people were likely running late, then went back out and said he would try to look for people.  Then Megan came back, got her key from the desk and completely ignored me.  Huh?  Jamie arrived then went back out to get his laundry, but before he left Megan stormed back out and ignored both of us.  We gave a WTF? look to each other.  Megan, you owe us a story here.

I walked toward the main road at 5:15pm.  Saw Jamie coming back, and he said most of the group were having drinks at a cafe down the other way.  Yeah, nice job going there early without me.  Not cool.  Anyway, I found where they were.  Ultimately 12 people from the group showed up.  It was happy hour and drinks were Rs 250 for 2, so I had 4 Goodbye Tomorrows (rum, vodka, lemon and pineapple).

View from that bar/restaurant north along the main street.


In the lunchtime discussion we concluded that people are getting sick on this trip because of their meds.  Duh.  Also Megan (a nurse) cited the death rate from anesthesia.  This is why I'm not inclined to undergo nonemergency surgery.

Someone needs a man in her life!  "Chris is gonna do her tonight."  I was told the parents would disapprove of the age difference.  Wait, what does age difference have to do with a mere "doing"?  In reference to someone else's 40-17 incident, I clarified that I am not wrinkly.  Happy hour went to 6:45pm.

Back at the hotel I took this photo out the stairwell window of Machhapuchhare.  Before booking this trip, the two top tourist attractions I was missing were the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu.  I figured if I did this tour, Machhapuchhare was close enough.  This was a joke I made on the Gap message board in October, which only Gabi saw, and probably didn't get.

A representative of the group asked Varun if we could leave tomorrow at 4:30am rather than 6am so we could see the Sarangkot sunrise that we missed out on.  Initially he said yes, but as we were leaving for dinner (or, for most of us, another pre-dinner happy hour), he informed us that the driver refused to do the drive because of the strike scheduled to paralyze Nepal over the next 2 days.  Originally I was supposed to fly out Kathmandu the night of the 28th, but in February Cathay Pacific cancelled the flight.  I realize now that it's because the Constitution was set to expire on the 28th, and unrest was long expected.

We went back to Moondance to catch the tail end of happy hour.  They extended the 2-for-1 deal for us, then reluctantly a 3-for-2 deal.  That sounds like the 3-2 blackjack insurance at the tighter casinos, so I wasn't comfortable with it.  Nonetheless, I had 3 or 5 mojitos.  I borrowed someone's phone and checked in and tagged all 8 of us, but Abdulla untagged himself.  Whoa man.  Sounds like someone wants someone not to know he's at Moondance.

A lot of horniness here, and related comments.  "Don't worry, Chris, I have your bag.  It's under my pussy."  "Sorry, Chris, I can't touch you."  Domino effect I guess.  I was asked if I'd joined this tour hoping to find someone.  Duh, sort of.  I chose it knowing that an India/Nepal tour would likely be mostly girls.  But these tours are for hooking up, and a very remote chance at that.  Home is for finding someone.  There was a good photo taken of me in which I looked young (not in this travelogue, but I tagged myself on FB), and one sneaked before that.  I noticed a lot of pics being sneaked of me on this trip.  It's my burden as eye candy.

Varun found us and reminded us that the official group dinner was ongoing at Rice Bowl.  A theory was that he got free meals for bringing us to places.  Like bringer shows, except with free food.  So we bounced over there.  I ordered Wild Sex from a man.  Love shack baby!

Jamie wearing my glasses.  Harry Potter is what we're aiming for here.

Some of the girls wanted to go to a sheesha bar after this.  The rest us went home.  Back at the hotel 10:30pm.  I downloaded stuff from my brain into my journal for a while because the music from a nearby establishment would have made sleep difficult.  It sounded like Asian guys with bad accents singing karaoke.  I heard Brick In the Wall and Play That Funky Music.  Yeah, have fun imposing demands upon some nonspecific hwite boy.  Then I had to shut my windows to sleep because of the noise, but I couldn't turn the AC on, so I worried it might get hot.  Then at 11pm the noise stopped, just like Lonely Planet says (the police recently ordered bars to close then), so I opened the window and went to bed.  I heard the rest of the group return at 11:20pm and fell asleep right after that.