. It turns out that there is a street festival on in Pokhara from the 28th -1st Jan, and the road is full of stalls and food stands and so our New Years Eve should be great. After breakfast Mikey and I prepared to go out and find somewhere lovely for Mum and Dad to stay, but before we could Dad had a word with the hotel and they showed us two brilliant adjoining rooms on the top floor where we have the most incredible views from both windows and an enormous terrace overlooking the festival, lake and mountains. We didn't bother to look elsewhere and settled down in the sunshine to watch what was going on. We could see at least 20 paragliders circling the largest peak above the lake and Dan was desperate to get up himself and Mikey up there. I went with them to the paragliding centre to check its safe enough for Mikey. Out in the street it was fantastic, after the incredible hassle of Dehli we couldn't believe we weren't being accosted and dragged into shops at every turn, but we were free to wander and look as we chose. I immediately felt much better about having dragged Mum here, because its full of exactly the kind of stuff she loves. As well as all the usual bedspreads, jewelery, bags and stuff, there's also an incredible range of fake ( but really great) North Face gear. Paragliding wasn't as straight forward as Dan had been told, but he should be able to start an acrobatic course on the 2nd Jan at least, if not before. Sadly when we got back to the hotel, we found Dad was really poorly with diarrhea and in the end spent the entire day in bed
. The rest of us went and did some serious shopping, after which Mikey and Dan hired mopeds and we bumped round the lake to the paragliding landing spot. (REALLY bad road here, definitely mountain bike territory, not road bikes!) The landing spot was actually really small and I could see Dan looking a bit nervous. He thinks that with out the heavy weight of the motor he usually carries he should be able to land more quickly when gliding. We sat in the sunshine sipping coke and watching people landing at 10 minute intervals feeling that perhaps yesterday's horrific journey had been worthwhile! I could get used to chilling on the back of a moped, it was heaven to watch the scenery and let Mikey worry about hitting potholes. Back at the hotel Dad was a bit better and felt up to coming and watching us eat supper. The 5 minute walk to a restaurant took at least 45 minutes as there were dances, games, strange things cooking and stuff to buy after every step. We also spend a long time choosing a yak wool hat each.(see excellent photo!) Yet another fantastic thing about Nepal is that they eat beef and have an amazing steak house. While the rest of us said we would wait until Dad was better, Dan had to have one and it looked amazing. Looking at the street at 7pm none of us could believe that the place would be as dead at midnight as it had been the previous night, but walking back from the restaurant at 9.30 the crowd had noticeably thinned. Apparently the Nepalese are very early to rise and very early to bed - sweet.
After the traumas of the previous night, waking up in a comfy bed with brilliant sunshine streaming through the window was a big relief. I stumbled out to check Mum and Dad were not too demoralised after last night but they seemed ok. Dad had already been for a wander and seen people rowing on the lake and was therefore very keen to get straight out there. Downstairs, breakfast was a complete surprise. Far from the deserted, dingy shack-like building we had reluctantly accepted as our only option the night before, Hotel Landmark now seemed to be a lively fun place with lovely staff and eggs and even bacon for breakfast. It was exactly what we needed, looking out over the balcony we could now see that we are in fact in an incredibly beautiful place, over looking an enormous serene lake surrounded by snow capped mountains. The fresh air and sunshine is absolute heaven after wet, polluted Delhi and it is such a relief to find that we have not made a terrible decision to come to Nepal and last nights events were an unfortunate combination of bad luck, bad people at the airport and bad planning and decision making on our part