in Lake Side, Pokhara
I am taking a long breath! After three days of intensive seminar on conflict journalism, constituent assembly, restructuring of the state of Nepal, I am now out from Pokhara’s Fulbari Hotel. (Man, the hotel, that I always wanted to see, is great. I mean the building, the infrastructure, the compound, the scenery, the garden, they are all extravagant. But the only problem is that there are no tourists, no guests, and the hotel is poorly maintained. I know that’s not intentional on the part of the hotel management but you can smell the fungus on the walls and on beds and you can feel the ‘oldness’ as you enter inside the mammoth structure. Food wasn’t very much good because, my understanding is that, chefs have already forgotten how to cook. I don’t blame them. No guests, no food. You forget how to cook. Ditto with service. You have to scream at servers to make your point. They too have, it seems, forgotten the science of hospitality. Drivers of the hotel’s buses are crazy. One folk made us wait for about 25 minutes in the city center (BP Chowk) and he never showed up. We were promised that a driver would come at the Chowk to take us back to hotel. No. We hired a micro bus to get back to the hotel. No problem, I spent three nights in the hotel and I have no regrets. The garden which is called Tapoban is beautiful and the view of Seti river (you can hardly see Seti from other parts of Pokhara) was simply fantastic.
Okay, the reason behind my Pokhara visit. National Peace Campaign, an NGO, was organizing a conference for journalists on the aforementioned topics. Speakers were Professor Krishna Khanal, Politician and MP Pari Thapa, Journalist Dhruba Hari Adhikari and editor/activist Shyam Shrestha. The other presenter in the program was lawyer Bhimarjun Acharya who, with his Power Point presentation on the election of the constituent assembly, stole the show. That was really useful for me and many others in the conference (total number of participants 34) found very useful. What else to talk about? I always hate listening lectures. This time too, I didn’t like when speakers took more than two hours to explain things. The trip to Pokhara was sponsored. Many participating journalists returned back to Kathmandu this afternoon but I am still in Pokhara. Why? See the next blog.