Sucks vs. My Fault is part of the ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.
There are places in the world that suck. Phuket is a great example. Kuala Lumpur is another. I have no desire to go back to either of them. Then there are places that could be great but things did not go according to plan or there was not a good plan. I’m famous for winging it when I get on the ground, and usually I find my way (see How to Book Trinidad’s Carnival Last Second for Free*). That didn’t happen in Nepal. I came during rainy season which normally means there is a risk that rain may spoil my plans. I didn’t expect four days of a straight downpour. This set off a cascade of events. First, I hastily went through Kathmandu from sight to sight eager to get out of the rain and mud and with no patience to take in the sights (Guns & Butter: Kathmandu Travel Guide (Bargaining Edition)). Granted, I’m not a person who cares to see temple after temple, but better weather would have had me in better spirits. The curse of the rain forced my flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara to be cancelled (see Nepal Domestic Flight Misery). I ended up staying another night in Kathmandu, held up in the beautiful Hyatt Regency.
The risk of interminable bad weather forced me to book paragliding on an overcast day instead of waiting for a beautiful sunny one, though that still worked out (see Paragliding Pokhara: Born to Be Alive). When the day was sunny, I opted to go golfing in the Himalayas, something that sounds cooler than it really was (see Rip-off Alert: Golfing in the Himalayas).
Unlike Bhutan, where I not only pursued happiness but found it (see Guns & Butter: Bhutan Travel Guide (Happiness Edition)), I only made a superficial connection with Nepal. I should have planned a 5-day trek from Pokhora up to Annapurna base camp. However, prior to coming Bhutan, I didn’t know I liked trekking and didn’t know I was a natural mountain goat (see Finding Happiness: Tiger’s Nest (Bhutan Day 5)).
The combination of bad weather, poor planning, and not engaging in activities for which a country is known leaves me to blame for what could have been a better experience. In my defense, I did not give up. I could’ve cancelled my flight to Pokhara and remained a refugee at Hyatt. I could’ve stayed in Pokhara another night and wandered around the town getting fatter off of momo (see Guns & Butter: Pokhara, Nepal Travel Guide (Cautionary Edition)). Instead, I booked transport to Chitwan National Park to see the one-horned rhino. The drive took 3 hours from Pokhara followed by what was supposed to be another 4 hours to Kathmandu (see OMAAT: The Hell Journey from Chitwan to Kathmandu).
The takeaways from my rambling are the following:
Know the tourist attractions before visiting a country.
Explore beyond that.
Then decide if a place is great or if it sucks.
Otherwise, you’ll have to return again and cover something you missed, something I don’t like doing because it means giving up another adventure. To that end, I’ll be back in Pokhara in 2022, when the international airport opens as I refuse to go to Kathmandu ever again.
TPOL’s TIP: The overused “off-the-beaten-path” line is only applicable once you’ve seen what’s on the path. There’s a reason why tourist attractions attract tourists.