Friday was the last full day spent in the resort town of Pokhara. After breakfast we visited the local Buddhist monastery. We observed the monks in prayer at the beginning of creating a Mandala. It was enchanting to watch them work with bells, candles, and hand gestures while chanting in deep voice. It was a special place that touched all of us. We lit butter candles in honor of our lost loved ones.

We then ventured to the nearby Tibetan camp where beautiful handcrafted Tibetan rugs are made. These rugs are unbelievable works created by true artisans and fair trade items too. Each of us found beautiful rugs to be shipped home and we lightened our wallets considerably. The Tibetans were happy to see us and definitely would like us to return. After all the hard work shopping, we visited the International Mountain Museum. The museum had an interesting film and many exhibits about the Himalayan mountains and the people who live there. We then enjoyed a traditional Nepali set meal for lunch. Some of us spent the afternoon shopping and chatting in a local coffee house.

Part of the beauty of Pokhara is Lake Phewa located by the tourist hotels and a string of shops selling Nepali goods. Pam and Nancy rented a boat with a guide for a water tour. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze and the water was calm. Our guide pointed out a beautiful blue kingfisher who stayed in place as the boat glided beneath his branch. In the center of the lake is a small temple. It is normally filled with local people performing “puja”, or worship and this day was no exception. The island is very small; one can walk from side to side in about one hundred steps. Most Nepali's arrive in taxi-like paddle boats. Our guide mentioned that paddling those boats is a hard job. Upon our return we took pictures of groups of multicolored canoes. The next  morning we left Pokhara with stunning Himalayan views from the airport and took a short prop plane ride through the valley back to Kathmandu. A great time in Pokhara!

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