Just getting to my home-away-from-home was high adventure! Try thirty-two hours and three layovers, and a bus ride from one Toyko airport to another for starters. Then picture me curled up on a bench, in a semi-coma, hugging my pack and hoping someone won’t lift my duffel with all my trekking equipment, and then hoping they will so I won’t have to carry it. I have to say that I’ve never met more hospitable, helpful people than in the grand Tokyo airports or the even grander Bangkok edifice. It was being completed when I was last there, and the only way I can describe it is to imagine yourself in the belly of a huge glass whale with intersecting ribs and fins shaped like torpedoes.
I had to laugh when the pilot on my first United flight came on the intercom to laud the grand new Boeing 777 with its multiple engines and luxury appointments. All I could do was wonder why such an enormous piece of machinery could decrease the seating space for the tourist class to the point where anyone with knees would soon be an endangered species. Never before have I so envied first class! I will say that the food during my flights was awful, until I boarded Thai Airways. Now that was fabulous…the food as beautiful as the stewardesses.
For three days my daughter, Cary, and her friend, Christy Korrow, have been staying at the Norbu Sangpo Hotel in the town of Boudha, which is famous for its enormous stupa around which devout Buddhists do kora morning and evening. There is a much more relaxed pace than in Kathmandu, and nowhere near the smog and dirt that is becoming so prevalent in Asian cities. Temperatures are in the 80’s, since we’re in the Indus Valley, and poinsettias and bougainvillia abound. It’s spring all over again.
Yesterday Chisty and I did a grand tour of Kathmandu, starting at the famous Swayambunath Temple, swinging through Thamel, the student area, and ending up in Durbar Marg with all the Hindu Temples. Next time I’ll write more about my sentimental return, but right now a car is waiting to take us to the mountains. For two glorious weeks we’ll actually be incommunicado, something I’m looking forward to after the hustle and bustle of the city.
I’m thinking of you as you approach Thanksgiving and will be with friends and family in spirit as you celebrate.