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On to Pokhara...

After a 7-hour ass-spanking bus ride, we arrived in Pokhara, a picturesque town on a lake, with a view of the Annapurna mountains. This is the starting point for most people heading on the Annapurna trek, and the area known as Lakeside caters to western travellers. A great place to just hang out and relax, or send email to friends back home.

Some locals fishing. The fish they were catching were so small that they would legally be considered plankton.

Colorful boats you can hire for cheap. Stealing one is even cheaper.

Day 1 - We set off on our Annapurna trek, starting with an uphill hike to Dhampus. This is one of the many little 'restaurants' along the trail. The Annapurna region is regulated by a government organization which sets menus and prices, so within every region of Annapurna they have identical menus and prices. Before this regulation, the Nepalis would compete against each other for business so much that their prices would plummet below cost.
In the background you can see the terraced farming, which is the only method that can be used to farm such steep slopes.

Here's the terraced farming up close. Thank goodness tractors could never navigate this terrain - buffalo and ox will (hopefully) always be the preferred method of plowing.

The weather started getting rough, and the hapless hosers were lost... wandering aimlessly through the terraces. Eventually we found our way to Tolka and found a lodge to spend the night for the outrageous price of 25 cents per night. Often lodge prices will be insanely low to attract trekkers, because they make their money on the meals, which are also fairly cheap. We spent about $5-6 U.S. dollars per day on the trail.

Day 2 - Our first morning on the trail, and we're met with clear skies and great views (not seen in picture). The trails are not just for trekkers - they're the main routes used by locals to transport goods from village to village. The fact that a lot of tourist dollars get dropped here means they can keep the trails in pretty good shape.

A food storage and drying area. Pretty much every building is made of stacked stone or clay.

And here we are, our first view of the mighty Annapurnas. One of many to come...

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