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Monday, 05 May 2008

Battling Buffalos in Pokhara - Page 3

Written by Carolyn Bonello
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It all started to go wrong when a moment of sheer impulse led me to jump into the murky lake.

Together with two girlfriends, I had been travelling around Nepal for a month or so, and, finally back in Pokhara after a grueling Annapurna trek, plus a suicidal bout of amoebic dysentery, I decided it was time to give my miserable body a break.

 

Battling Buffalos in Pokhara, funny travel stories, travel nepal, travel Pokhara, Phewa Tal LakeBefore I can even begin to perceive what is happening, the water around me begins to bubble like a natural geyser, and, unbelievably, a dozen or so buffalos slowly surface - big, black, bulky buffalos, or bison, or whatever they are known as in Nepal. One by one, they rise to the surface of the lake, moving curiously towards me, scrutinizing my now-green, shell-shocked alien- looking face. Feeling incredibly out numbered and submissive, I realize that my body seems to be moving towards the ‘flight’ rather than ‘fight‘ response to this threat. The idea of a bloody fight, ripping off buffalo horns and victoriously walking ashore carrying the remains of buffalo guts, somehow doesn’t feel right to my body, which by now is a clammy mess. My skin has turned yellowish, my pupils are dilated, and I mean, really dilated (at least that’s what my friends say), and I know I’m breathing way too fast.

I have two choices – either engage every single muscle in my body and swim as fast as I can to the boat, (which by now is bobbing up and down uncontrollably since a couple of buffalos decide that it might be fun to explore its underside), or swim ashore, in my underwear, and shock the naive buffalo herder, who by now has come to the water’s edge to see why the usually peaceful afternoon dip had turned into a scene from Jaws.

Buffalos have a sweet tooth, we discover, and it is the chocolate-chip cookies that eventually save me. Throwing large pieces of nibbled cookies ashore, the buffalos follow greedily, giving me a few precious moments to climb back into the boat.

Back at the lakeside in Pokhara, shivering uncontrollably, and still in my underwear, I finally understand why nobody swims in the lake at that time of day!

©Carolyn Bonello


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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