Thursday, 21 March 2013

Thrill of a life time that’s what the signage said outside one of the many adventure shops that line Pokharas tourist high street, paragliding looked particularly exhilarating having already seen each morning a flurry of colourful chutes descend the nearby hilltop.

Arriving early for the transport I sat patiently listening to a group of customers making a fuss about cloud cover and views. I was here purely for the ride so didn’t mind missing the views, but was grateful for some entertainment as their moaning did take my mind off what was about to come.

Once the transport arrived and the chutes loaded we travel out of town climbing fast along a crumbly road just missing the edge by centimeters, our destination the top of the Sarangkot. Already in what seems like chaos are many other paragliders in various states of readiness waiting for the right moment to leap.Not being told where to go or what to do I decide to follow one of the occupants from the van. I ask him what I have to do he is rather curt and tells me to wait. Eventually Mac a young Nepalese fellow introduces himself, he’s dressed in denim and looks as if he has just come from having a night out, nevertheless he is friendly enough and puts me into a harness that’s about to be connected to a chute which is already prepared on the ground behind me. He tells me to look down the hill and just walk forward a few steps I feel a tug as the chute rises into the air. Mac comes around the back of me and hooks on, going forward a little more I jump quickly into the seat of the harness, and we are air borne. My fears instantly wane as we leave the ground, the fact that all there was between me and the land was air didn’t matter, we found a thermal and went higher.

With the addition of clear skies the views in all directions were outstanding as we initially fly gently across Lake Phewa and see gleaming on the opposite hillside the Peace Pagoda, we then smoothly on another thermal turn and in the opposite direction behind the Sarangkot see the magnificent Machhapuchhre and Annapurna’s in all their glory. The sun’s rays glistening on their snow covered peaks, certainly a breath taking moment and an enjoyable thrill.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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Monday, 11 March 2013


I am a coffee fanatic. Once you go to proper coffee, you can't go back. You cannot go back.

Hugh Laurie

The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.


Coffee in England is just toasted milk.

CHRISTOPHER FRY, New York Post, Nov. 29, 1962

American coffee can be a pale solution served at a temperature of 100 degrees centigrade in plastic thermos cups, usually obligatory in railroad stations for purposes of genocide, whereas coffee made with an American percolator, such as you find in private houses or in humble luncheonettes, served with eggs and bacon, is delicious, fragrant, goes down like pure spring water, and afterwards causes severe palpitations, because one cup contains more caffeine than four espressos.

UMBERTO ECO, How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays