Pokhara, Nepal, March 2018: Over the course a few weeks one gets to know of the characters that regularly frequent the Lakeside – characters that rely on the lake and its trappings for their very existence. As the days story unfolds, beggars and tramps will roll up looking eagerly into the eyes of those white tourists. Sellers mooch towards their pitches on the lakes edge – snack sellers, umpteen folk selling plastic beads, fruit ladies ply the lakeside path and then there’s the doughnut man limping past every morning with a dozen or so bags balanced on his head – don’t trip matey!
A reality check perhaps for those of us who can enjoy life without the challenges faced by the local natives here in Pokhara and across Nepal. No government handouts around here, no nanny state to hold the hands of its population. Each and everyone has to survive on their own merits.
Begging, inevitable in an undeveloped country like Nepal. Here on Lakeside about half a dozen regulars pass-by. From characters dressed in orange robes to grandma to the alcoholic barely able to stand.
Hawkers selling stringed beads, snacks fruits and shoe shine. Pitching up from mid morning one gets invited to “come and look, good quality”. Well, a nice enough display of brightly coloured beads and threads of string but the quality aspect is somewhat debatable! As for the snacks, personally I’d avoid buying theses on the grounds of lack of hygiene. The fruit, well, id only buy something that needs to be peeled.
Lakeside is evolving. With new shacks popping up every season there’s plenty of work for carpenters and bamboo thatchers as seen below. Then there are the Indian boys with their ‘twangers’. Yes, they wander along tugging at a chord – twang! Exactly why confounds the wildest imagination, but i’m sure there’s a good reason!
Fewa Lake, essential to daily life, washing their laundry, bathing and local transport as the villages on the far side of the lake are only accessible by rowing boat – a new twist on the school run! When the chores a done, a spot of fishing to catch some lunch.
And so life go’s on, with or without tourists. Locals surviving on what natural resources can provide for those that society leaves behind.