There is something inherently glamorous about travel. When we told everyone that we were leaving with no fixed timeline the responses were widely varied. A few friends were happy for us but had no desire to undertake such a trip, others though were full of “you’re so lucky” and “what a great adventure”. I thought that I might take a moment to give you a taste of long term budget travel.
When we left Pokhara we were aiming for a national park that is down on the Indian border but it was a 2 day ride so we broke our trip at a small mountain town renowned for its ‘European’ styled beauty. And indeed, in the centre of town it did have a fairly cosmopolitan feel with lovely old buildings converted into hotels and cafes all with graceful lines and gorgeous trellised climbers. Unfortunately for us though to get to them there was a set of stairs to negotiate which couldn’t be done on the motorbike so instead we settled into a hotel that was just on the town fringes, overlooking the valley with the local village. I would say it was a fairly typical hotel for a place outside of a big city.
So what are these hotels really like? Well, the sign out the front says 24hr hot water (always a plus to see that prominently displayed) and a restaurant, another bonus to be able to eat in-house. The room itself was simple enough, 2 single beds that are pushed together normally although in this room they were separated. They have a bottom sheet and a pillow and usually there is some kind of blanket. Thankfully here, because it gets cold due to being on the top of the mountain there was a doona, which was great as the beds were so hard that literally sleeping on the floor would not have been too much difference. We laid the doonas down on the beds and slept on them instead. We both have sleeping silks that we sleep instead of using sheets.
The attached bathroom is a must for us as we aren’t into sharing bathrooms and this one was average. They tend to have a slightly musty smell as in most of them the drains tend to hold water that never leaves. Asking for a towel is usually quite a mission but eventually one will turn up (very seldom 2 unless I press the point). Of course the hot water was a myth but the lady of the house filled a big kettle for me and voila, a big bucket, a dipper and away I went.
Dinner was a set meal which I have to say is unusual but it was hot, plentiful and very tasty so score full points there. Most of the places we have stayed have had really good food so no complaints there. After dinner we went back to our room to read and mess about on the computer etc before turning in for the night.
In most areas where mossies are a problem they either have screens on the windows and/or a mosquito net but as we were so high up we were assured there were no mossies. Seriously – what a big fat lie!! There were whole squadrons of the little blighters dive bombing in search of sustenance. As I had met with this before I carry a can of mossie spray so I nuked the room. Unfortunately this stuff stinks and normally I would do it as we head down for dinner so that the smell has dissipated by the time we get back but I was stuck with it. Of course what I hadn’t counted on was that the spray would upset the resident cockroach which as soon as the lights went out did a big buzzing flyby. Lights on! Seek and destroy!! (For those that don’t know I am scared stiff of cockroaches – yes, I know, highly illogical but hey – I’m a girl heeheh). Unfortunately the spry little crawler managed to evade Daves murderous efforts 3 times! In the end he was super annoyed, there was no way I was getting any sleep and the cocky was having a win. Then finally we killed the sucker and I could relax and try to sleep.
Oh no – not to be. It turns out that every night there is a chorus of barking and howling dogs that roam the village and literally do not stop until dawn. They must have been quite on key because randomly a pig and a buffalo would also join the choir. I swear, by 1am I was fit to kill. Of course, like most things you eventually get too tired to hear it anymore and drift off to sleep.
But all that said, the next morning broke clear and crisp and outside our window the Himalayas poked their snowy heads just to make it all ok. (Apparently it was the first time they’d seen them in about a month so we were just lucky (?) heheh).
So for those that think that travel is all flash hotels and swanky meals, it might be for some, but not for the intrepid budget travellers 🙂
Let me just add, not every night is like that. As I type this I am sitting on my hotel balcony, high on a ridge overlooking a river. No idea what the night will bring but hey, the view is great 😉