Ending a transaction and grabbing a Pokhara-Kathmandu bus ticket, I intended to hurry to hotel. Clockwork seemed to move fast and dark slowly but must have enveloped the city, until then I agreed to a taxi driver to take me to New Pokhara Lodge.
A little white taxi was agile cutting through small alleyway. Once he looked confused and forced him down and asked to young man who was drinking a cup of coffee and sucked a cigarette. Then his pointing hand made the driver understandably nod.
—- **** —-
I sat and watched banknotes from various nationalities neatly arranged in a lobby gallery. One of them is a banknote with Tuanku Imam Bonjol’s image.
After a while, a middle-aged man appeared, he already had slow movements but was trying to keep smiling. Furthermore, I knew him as Mr. Raj, a hotel’s person in charge who was very good at providing services to his guests at New Pokhara Lodge.
I was placed at second floor of this U-shaped hotel, three-story orange hotel. A room which I redeemed for 900 Rupess had now become my base camp while traveling in Pokhara.
—- **** —-
Mr. Raj briefly advised me, “Don’t worry about your security in New Year Celebration !. Don’t drink too much and back soon!…. Enjoy your night and Happy New Year ”.
Walking 650 meters to Phewa Lake edge, I followed a small path which only two-wheeled vehicles could pass. Only two minutes to arrived at the bustle of Lakeside Road. A stage was set up at lake edge.
Street food scent in the midst of groups of Nepalese youths was a perfect blend in the cold air of Pokhara. Temperature of 8o C slowly intimidated stomach. And it felt like I couldn’t afford to eat and sit for long time in sidewalk, cold night temperature had made my unprotected hands and face stiffen. In the end, footsteps led me into AM/PM Organic Cafe. A cup of Masala Tea with vegetarian fried rice would warm the body towards midnight which was being awaited by all people in the world.
Food which was finished with had no leftover, tea cup which had dried up and waitress who kept paying attention, made me feel bad. My hunch tell me to get out of the cafe because of course the owner hoped that the table which I was currently occupying could be sold to other visitors.
Now I was trying to sneak into crowd to avoid cold wind which was blowing from the lake. The Nepali-like stature and facial features made me looked like a local all around the stage.
Local artists took turns in giving their best performances, elementary school age children didn’t want to be outdone by their dances, all of them were guided by MC with ideal features, smooth hair without mustaches and worthy looked as Bollywood actor.
That night, Pokhara people seemed to be the happiest people in the world.
I wasn’t sure that it would celebrate fireworks. That belief made me slowly withdraw from crowd. Slowly walking and echoing Mr. Raj’s advice who warned me that whatever might happen because there were indeed many young men who drank too much on streets.
Having yet to turn into an alley, the crowd began to loudly countdown then fireworks shot into the air and exploded right in the center of Phewa Lake. The moment which I had been waiting for was almost interrupted by cold. I turned around and enjoyed the atmosphere. The lake, which was originally dark and appeared to be black, now reflected fireworks light spectrum which were exploding above it.
An admiration which I didn’t even get at the same moment a year ago in Osaka. A beauty which made me forget to capture the moment itself. But never mind, my brain was still recording it well until now.
Check out a situation ahead to the new year at Phewa Lake edge:
The perfect night.