After checking out some stuff at the Tibetan Mini Mart, I head to the larger boat dock by the Winter Palace at Fewa Lake mid-morning where the Nepali go. Compared to the smaller one by Hotel Fewa, this is busier and has more boats.
After getting the life jacket from the shack behind the ticket counter, I present my yellow ticket to one of the guys in official-looking vests hanging around the boat dock. While they are sorting out who would take me, a cocky looking young man who says he’s the boss comes forward and offers an additional NR 400 to go all the way to the starting point and back with a guarantee that should the boatman not do it, I can get my money back from him. I pay and he talks to an older guy who points me to a small boat.
We head out of the dock and into the center of the lake.
With a smattering of English, the boatman points our route– Gurung village and Bahari temple following a circular path. He steers the boat to the landing point for the World Peace Pagoda. I tell him we are going to Gurung Village and he as answers it’s the landing point from which I can walk to the part of the village by the lake’s edge. The village doesn’t seem to be too interesting so I decline to get off the boat.
I tell him we are going to starting point and he points out a spot just past the village.
Somehow I feel that starting point refers to the smaller boat landing way further than where we are. Somehow, I feel I’ve been scammed by the “boss” at the dock. At that point, it makes no sense arguing my itinerary. Anyhow, I got my breathtaking Annapurna views. Saw lots of fishes too swimming near the water’s surface.
My boat driver and I make small talk and I learn he’s from Chitwan and have been a boat driver at Lakeside for 10 years. Peak season, he makes 5-6 trips a day. Now being low season, I’m only the 2nd one he has rowed today. He makes NR 150 per trip. At this point in the conversation, he drops hints that tourists give him tips to supplement his meager earnings, that he has 2 children in school, and a dead wife. I nod and say, “aaa… tips…yes.”
I ask if I could try paddling and he hands it to me. I paddle following the contour of the lake edge. Not really hard work, very calming actually.
He notices I am heading straight rather than steering left to Bahari Temple and tells me that I would need to pay more if I were to continue as it would lead me to the royal palace which is further up. I steer to the left.
Bahari Temple is in the small island a few hundred meters from the boat dock. There’s a small shrine and lots and lots of pigeons, many nesting on the trees.
There’s a small area with benches though the best spot would be the ones on the dock facing the mountains.
Nothing much to do except to admire the view of the Annapurna mountains.
I let him paddle the boat back to the shore. I step off and hand him a NR 200 tip. Of course, the “boss” is nowhere to be found.