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Adventures in Nepal XVII: Back to Kathmandu

While we were sorting through the photos for this post, I realized that I am hopelessly confused about the family relationships between all of the friends Elizabeth made at Paljorling Camp. I think the older couple that I credited in an earlier post as part of “the family next door” are actually the couple in whose home Elizabeth and Emma stayed, but I’m sure the younger man is their son and Elizabeth says he definitely lived next door with two brothers and someone she thought was his mother. I may never figure out who is related to who and in what way, but I deeply regret any hurt feelings I may have unintentionally caused by misidentifying people in earlier posts. I am so grateful for the kindness and hospitality Elizabeth received during her stay among the Tibetans. She returned home with a lively light in her eyes that had been missing for too long.

On January 28, their last morning in Pokhara, Emma and Elizabeth had breakfast with the family next door.

Then they all said their formal goodbyes.

The khatag is a traditional Tibetan silk scarf that is presented ceremonially on special occasions, in this case the parting of friends.

A family member drove the girls to meet their bus.

Goodbye Pokhara!

Goodbye Himalayas!

It’s a long eight-hour bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu. But the scenery is nice, even in the rain.

The Prithvi Highway follows the winding course of the Trishuli River from Pokhara to Kathmandu. I only know the name of the river because I just now looked it up, and I also found this reassuring paragraph on Wikipedia: “Trishuli River is also one of the dangerous river of Nepal. The curvy Prithvi Highway is a bad fate for many Nepalese people traveling to and back from the capital. Every year, several buses and trucks fall and disappear into this wild river, making the corridor a dangerous pass for people.”

The bus stopped for lunch at the Riverside Springs Resort

The girls stretched their legs and had a nice lunch, and then continued on.

Their bus did not fall into the river, so that was nice. But after they arrived in the city and checked into the Kathmandu Guest House, Emma mentioned in our Messenger group chat that she was not feeling well. Fever, weakness, fatigue.

I made some awkward coronavirus jokes and then said that maybe she should wear a mask to be on the safe side. We speculated on what would happen if she still had a fever at flight time. Elizabeth said nothing during the chat, but told me later that she had felt ill too. They both went to bed early and had a restful sleep.

That same evening, a senior medical adviser at the US Department of Veterans Affairs wrote in a group email to public health experts in the governmennt and universities, “Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad. The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.”

More to come!

Categories: Family, food, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Love, Nepal | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XIV: Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

The stream called Pardi Khola flows from the Phewa Tal Dam and rambles through Pokhara before running underground, over Patale Chhango and through the sacred Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. The waterfall and the cave are a short walk apart, each with their own colorful entries to lure in visitors.

After Emma and Elizabeth had seen Patale Chhango, they did some shopping before visiting the cave. Emma was searching the shops for a particular item her mother had requested. Elizabeth wanted to find a Tibetan restaurant for lunch, having developed a preference for Tibetan food over the spicier Nepali fare.

The fancy red archway in the next pic is the entrance to the outer temple at Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Walk past the archway and continue around the corner, and you can look down into the temple courtyard.

There are four Tibetan settlements in Pokhara. One of them, Tashi-Ling, is just up the road from Gupteshwor Mahadev.

Colorful mural on a city street.

Lunch destination acquired!

Yum!

After lunch they returned to explore the temple and cave.

The temple architecture is really beautiful.

This is a statue of Lord Vishnu sleeping on the coils of the thousand-headed serpent king Ananta. But to me it looks like Trump having a bad hair day.

Adorable Elizabeth is adorable. Moo cow!

Going underground:

Signs were posted requesting that people not take photos inside the sacred cave. Emma and Elizabeth mostly complied with this, but they (and everyone else in the cave) did get this pic of the stream flowing in from Patale Chhango.

This awesome Ganesha stature was near the outer temple exit:

More to come!

Categories: Artwork, food, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | Leave a comment

Weekly Sketch: J is for Juniper

I dabbled in color this week.

I’ve always known juniper berries were used to flavor gin, but I never really thought of them as edible until my uncle came to visit us in Austin and we took him hiking around Mount Bonnell. It had been a rainy winter, and the juniper berries were exceptionally big and round and vibrant. My uncle got very excited and started eating them right off the trees. So I tried some. To my surprise they were sweet and tasty, although the pits were a bit piney. I am now a fan of the humble juniper!

Categories: Artwork, environment, Family, food, Health, Life, Nutrition, trees, Weekly Sketch | Tags: | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XII: Quest for Fruit Snacks

The only notable activity on January 24 was a search of the Pokhara markets for a particular kind of fruit snacks that Emma wanted Elizabeth to taste. Once the snacks were procured, our young heroes returned to Paljorling camp to relax.

This was the day that China’s entire Hubei province went into quarantine. In Vietnam, the first confirmed incidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China was documented by the WHO. The second case of coronavirus was confirmed in the US.

This is a short post, so here is a bonus random water buffalo that the girls saw roaming the streets near Sabita’s house on their way to Disneyland.

To be continued!

Categories: Animals, Covid-19, food, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | 2 Comments

Adventures in Nepal XI, Into the Sky, Part II

This is my favorite poem about flying:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –– and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –– wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew ––
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

–– John Gillespie Magee, Jr., “High Flight.”

Emma and Elizabeth’s paragliding session lasted for about 30 minutes.

What a rush!

The girls chilled for a while by the lake…

…and then took the shuttle van…

…back to the paragliding company’s shop in Pokhara to get the flight pics transferred from the pilots’ GoPros to their own devices.

Then back to Paljorling Camp, where they reviewed their image files over lunch in a Tibetan restaurant.

After the meal, they visited a camp artisan who weaves colorful jewelry, keychains and other trinkets for the tourist trade.

They bought bracelets for themselves and small gifts for friends and coworkers back home.

Here is an interesting decoration over a doorway in the camp.

Hello, picturesque camp sheep!


Much more to come!

Categories: Animals, Artwork, food, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Nepal, Poetry, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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