Got out of bed way to early at five - after less than three hours sleep so I was very tired. When we checked out of the hotel the night manager couldn't find the key to the gate - it would have been funny had we not been in a hurry to catch our bus. After about a ten minute search (during which he also tried to break the lock - no fire hazard here) he finally found the key and we were on our way. We caught a peddle rickshaw to the bus station and didn't have too much trouble finding out bus. The bus ride was long, but not to bad. We got to Pokhara a little before two.
At the bus station we were surrounded by taxi drivers - mostly wearing ties and all charging the same expensive rate - supposedly fixed by the government. We went with one of them and told him which guest house we wanted to go to - I got suspicious when he took us to a taxi that already had a driver - there were two of them, that meant they were after a commission. The original man (the tout) calls over another man and tells us he's from our hotel and he tells us the hotel is full. We tell the driver to take us there anyway as there are a number of hotels in the same area. On the way the tout tells us he'll pay for the taxi if we go to his hotel - and is quite insistent. When we insist on going to our original choice he got mad and had the taxi driver stop and pointed us the direction we had to go - we refused to pay until we were dropped off at the hotel so he got even madder and stormed off and the driver took us to our hotel - which unsurprisingly had plenty of rooms available. The manager was very friendly and it's a very nice hotel - he told us that they would have picked us up if we'd called ahead (live and learn).
After a bit of a rest we headed out to talk to the hotel manager about our trek. We find out that we do need permits - contrary to what the Lonely Planet says. Even worse the office is a good distance walk away and we have at most fifteen minutes to get there (sometimes they close 15 minutes early) - and if we miss it they office doesn't open until ten tomorrow (we wanted to be on the trail before that). So we set out at a fast pace for the Annapurna Conservation Area Management office - somehow we miss it and keep going. Finally we find someone who know what we're looking for an he turns us around. By the time we get to the office it's fifteen minutes after closing time - but someone is still there and they race us through the bureaucracy and in about five minutes we had our permits - a lot more expensive than expected (about $30 each). The rest of the evening is spent buying a topo map, having a relaxing beer and talking. We tried to find a restaurant that was in both guidebooks for diner, but when we gave up and asked we were told it no longer existed - it had closed five years ago (both of our books are current). So we ended up going to the pub across the street which was pretty good - though the thing that looked the best was the apple pie we saw when we walked in but by the time we finished eating our mains there was no room left. On our walk back to the hotel the power failed and it was pitch black - luckily I had my little book light to get us home - but then we had to pack by candles.