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In January 2017 I spent a week in Nepal, a fascinating and beautiful country that was truly transformational.
7 Days in Nepal
When the opportunity arises to go someplace truly unique
it is best not to pass it up with the word we most dread–
instead, say only “yes.”
An earthquake can only postpone the plan: An old friend from high school, Joe Evans, was assigned to the US Embassy in Kathmandu in 2014. It was then I decided Nepal would be a great place to visit him. Jamin and I originally planned to go in 2015, and we reviewed some flight ideas and priced things out. We decided would go in early April. Then we experienced a water problem that set us back, and we postponed the trip. In hindsight, this was a fortunate decision: We would have visited during one the most devastating earthquakes in Kathmandu history (April 2015), leaving nearly 10,000 dead. Today, Kathmandu is still recovering from the quake. Many of the homes and businesses struggle to come to life. The city’s historic temples (mostly in areas called durbar squares) are slowly being reconstructed by UNESCO World Heritage strict guidelines. Regardless of the quake, the people of Nepal are resilient and peaceable…and I enjoyed every moment of my travels there.
Flight 1: PHL to DOHA > 12.5 Hours
A generally uneventful, but very long, first flight. Business class looked rather awesome while economy is very tight. Luckily, on the initial flight from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar (12.5 hour flight) I was seated at the window next to a skinny, quiet, older man. Unluckily, a large man behind kept grabbing seat and snoring loudly–but those noise-canceling headphones are a godsend! Before the trip began, I slowly adjusted my sleep at home, waking one morning at 3am and the day of the flight at 2am, so I fought to stay awake until at least 2pm home time (EST) to adjust my schedule slowly to Nepal time. (I watched most of Magnificent Seven (2015) and slept roughly for 6.5 hrs, watched the end of the movie, began to read and listen to Barack Obama’s book Dreams of My Father. The setting sun as seen from over Doha, Qatar, was quite remarkable as the desert cast it in a heavy orange hue and the atmosphere distorted it like a balloon filled with bright lava, as it disappeared beyond the horizon. After landing in Doha, I grabbed “coffee” that turns out to be double espresso.
Flight 2: DOHA to KTM > 4.5 Hours
Once I board flight to Kathmandu, I hear a crazed, short, lazy-eyed Nepali–who is dressed very well and business-like–ask the flight attendant to store a medical bag in fridge. The attendant declines and the man replies “This could be a bomb!” The people around him chuckle–I’m shocked he isn’t taken off the plane. Once we are in the air, he becomes very rowdy and orders many drinks. He yells at flight staff about disrespecting his people. “The people of Nepal need respect!” Another attendant attempts to calm him and says, “Everyone loves Nepal sir.” Later, he yells at me for reclining my chair. He says I am hitting the man’s legs behind me (who didn’t seem to mind that my chair is reclined. Eventually several men gang up on him and one tells him to shut his mouth, then turns and apologizes to me. The irate Nepali falls fast asleep for the rest of the flight and doesn’t open his mouth again.