Himalayan Kingdom: Heading to Nepal

 

Half the Fun is Getting There?

I am on the way to the Himalayas for a month to trek and spend time in Kathmandu, if I ever get there.

This is my fourth trip to Nepal but it’s been sometime and I guess I forgot that it is not around the corner, by a long shot.

Some will recall that it is a fairly small country, 57,000 square miles and it is squished, literally, between India and Tibet.  The southern part of the country mirrors the climate and topography of India while the same is true on the Tibetan side.   It is there that eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world spring up from the grinding together of opposing tectonic plates.

In search of the cheapest business class fare, I flew from Baltimore to Chicago where I caught an Air India flight, non-stop, to Delhi, where I sit, waiting on the final leg up to Kathmandu.  That’s 14 1/2 hours from Chicago on a B-777-300 ER with additional four hour layovers here and there.  I remain amazed that any airplane can fly that far non-stop but it is even more amazing that on arrival at Delhi it would be serviced in a few hours and on the way back to Chicago.  That’s the ticket, day-after-day.

As an American, the cabin service seems funny–it’s chaos in the kitchen and you just eat what they bring till you can’t anymore.  But always with the opening question, “Veg or non-veg?”  After ordering non-veg, they came around with a cart and I dutifully ate the fish and chicken they offered only to later discover that it was simply an appetizer. Dinner looked good, even if I didn’t eat it when it arrived because I was stuffed.

Delhi is as I remembered it, at least from the air, is sprawling and very polluted with the sun setting in one of those orange hazes where it is a burning ball, viewed through noxious gases.  One of my enduring memories of the city is a pedestrian fatality laying in the middle of a busy street, surrounded by traffic cones, as people went there merry way, careening.  Life (and death) has a different price here.

Well, it’s time to head to the gate.  Catch up soon.

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Eric Lamar

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November 2012
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