Day 6: Fly Jomsom to Pokhara
We go to check out, and the guy has charged us for 77 beers. Crikey, I knew it was a bit of a night, but 77? Can that be right? Maybe..
I wake up from the dream! It’s time to go, so we grab bag, get the bill, which does include plenty of beer but not 77, then we wander out. The sun has just touched the tip of Nilgiri. It’s beautiful.
On the short walk to the airport, we buy apples.
We’ve got plenty of weight allowance still for the flight (15kg each), and according to Suresh they’re much cheaper here – the girls are asking 30r per kilo, and selling in bags of 5kg. We pick up a bag each of green, red and smaller dark red ones.
We’d been told by the chap in the airport office to go to the airport at 5:55am, though the other girl said 6:15 would be fine. As the airport doesn’t even open up till 6:30am, I think this was slightly unnecessary.
Temple or Traffic Control?
Finally we’re allowed in. A Gorkha flight is leaving at almost the same time as us, and I worry for our checked luggage in the apparent chaos. This place can’t be fun when they’ve had flights cancelled for a week at a time.
Checking in, we get a boarding card, drop off our luggage then go through security, two doors with toilet-style male and female signs above them, this being because they frisk you down inside. We’re the first in the bare waiting room, and look out on to the empty tarmac. Still, if the planes weren’t coming I don’t think they would have let us through here.
About 10 minutes before our scheduled departure time of 6:55am, an air-raid siren wails. This apparently signifies the planes leaving Pokhara. Excellent, not long now. Our plane, Sita air, is first in, and touches down at about 7am.
There she is!
We walk out to the plane as the others get off. It’s a small thing, and I duck down as I step in the door. Gorkha Air comes in with an identical plane just as we leave.
There’s a narrow aisle with one seat on either side.
I sit up front on the left. The debate is of course which side is best. I’m not sure to be honest. On the left you have the Annapurnas and Machhapuchhare, but because of the sun shining on the dirty windows, one can hardly see anything. On the right, a marvellous view of Dhaulagiri and no sun-glare. The best view is of course in the cockpit just in front of me, no door of course, so I spend most of my time looking forwards.
Take off is really noisy – I notice the pilots wear those disposable little yellow ear-plugs. The flight is quite smooth, and we follow the valley down, roughly the way one treks in, before banking left slightly towards Pokhara. It’s cloudy as we land, but they find the runway somehow, perhaps using the little Garmin GPS device?! Flight time? 19 minutes.
Pokhara runway looks pretty short, but it is a domestic-only airport. We’re out and wait for our bags as Gorkha air lands and parks up next to our Sita plane. A quick taxi and I’m home for a Raju special breakfast and a shave. Another excellent trek comes to a good end with a nice cup of tea.
If you want to speak to Suresh about trekking here, he’s on email at suresh1np at hotmail dot com, or contact Raju at Pokhara Palace Hotel.