Pokhara is one of the most commercialized tourist destinations in all of Asia. Folks grumble about the lack of authentic experiences on hand when they come all the way out here - only they tend to do it from the cozy confines of an Italian restaurant or a scarf shop. But Pokhara is no different than any place else. If you came to New York City only to see the Statue of Liberty, you would feel the same way about America. Ditto for the Eiffel Tower in France, or Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Travel, of course, is what you make of it, and if you're willing to do just a little work, if you're willing to step a few feet off the well-worn path, you will be rewarded. We found that we only needed to stray from the path a little bit to see the more interesting side of Pokhara - we ventured into Pokhara proper early one morning to meet and greet the locals, and found ourselves rewarded with crystal clear skies and stunning vistas. We were less than 2km from the main tourist zone, but there was nary a foreign face to be seen - other than our own, of course. I doubt I would have come face to face with this slice of life - a young man paying no attention to a stunning view of one of the world's highest peaks - had I been holed up in a cafe in the tourist quarter.
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