Preparing for the trek

by Annalise on March 6, 2010

Arriving in Pokhara When Robin and I set out for our 5 days of trekking in the Annapurna Conservation Area we had decided to fly to Pokhara. At the last minute, plans at the school for my final visit had fallen through and so I found myself available one full day earlier than our scheduled departure. I got to the Yeti Airline office to see if we could move the whole thing up one day and so the adventure began!

I arrived at the Yeti office at the posted opening time of 9:00 a.m.; the staff member with the key to the office arrived 15 minutes later. By this time, I’d visited with another employee who would ultimately, and most efficiently change our flight dates but not before telling me about her plans to emigrate to Canada.

When we were inside she saw that the only two seats available on that Friday morning were for the 10:45 flight, just over one hour later; the final six flights of the day were full. The agent called the airport and confirmed that we’d be fine provided we were at terminal no later than 10:30 rather than the usual 1 hour in advance. In a mad flurry, I made the change, called Robin, told him to quickly wrap up his packing (which we’d prepped in the event that we’d be able to change the flights) and promised over payment to the taxi driver if he could get me from North-central Thamel to our home South across the river in Kopundol and then to the East end of the city to the airport in under 30 minutes. Miraculously this worked without the loss of any lives: human, canine, poultry or automotive! Ironically once at the airport, delays there meant our flight didn’t go until almost 12:30… Probably monkeys interfering with the aircraft – there are lots of monkeys at the domestic terminal!

Upon arriving in Pokhara you can immediately exhale a bit deeper in this more relaxed pace and the beauty of Annapurna area. We dropped our bags and rented bicycles for 50 Nrp per hour (we get about 70 Nepal Rupees per Canadian dollar) to get to the Annapurna trekking permit office. Nothing there was in anyway transparent or informative but with time, 2000 Nrp, four passport photographs (issued two at a time because there is no one who’ll clearly tell you that you’ll ultimately need four for the process) and the filling out of three forms each with almost completely redundant information we obtained our permits to trek in this area. The Conservation area is an important initiative that protects and regulates trekking travel there and unlike many regulations, they take this one seriously. If you’re in the park trekking without the permit, acquiring one there would cost you twice the permit price. And in the time required to jump through the necessary information steps and hoops, we had the opportunity to meet people who would become our trekking mates in the days to follow. Aaron and Ellen from Portland, Oregon and Keith Douglas, the very fun last minute Irish trekker each added a lot to the enjoyment of our trekking journey over the days to come.

So with all we needed, we went back to have a fantastic meal at a Korean BBQ place and then happily crashed at Hotel ABC (Annapurna Base Camp – the trek I’m committed to doing next time!).

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