Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nepal - Everest

(Mount Everest, aka Sagamartha, aka Chomalongma, aka the Big 'un.)

Back in Kathmandu the atmosphere was as pressurised and hectic as before but it was great to get round some more of the temples and also to meet other travellers - especially Anna and Laura from Italy, who are working as volunteers on childrens welfare projects in Mumbai. They had travelled by bus and train for 3 days to get to Nepal - now that's real travelling. Best of luck with the return trip guys - hope this time it is free of midnight border crossings manned by immigration officials dressed only in their underpants.

It was also great to meet up with Adrienne again, if only for 24 hours. Also, Adrienne's laid-back approach to the chaos of Kathmandu was a real eye-opener and left me wondering whether it wasn't I who needed to relax and not Kathmandu... this would be on my mind when I arrived in Delhi with thoughts of changing my travel plans.

Adrienne had only arrived one day and I was leaving the next. The flight to Delhi was the 25th of the big trip by my calculations (I really need to take up Sudoku or something) and pretty unremarkable.

The 24th flight however was something quite different - one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

On the morning of my last day in Nepal, an already-jet-lagged Adrienne and I got up at 5am to catch a 6.30 flight with Buddha Air (genius) from Kathmandu to... Kathmandu.

This was possibly the world's best scenic flight. In an hour we were whisked (it was a day for cliche and superlatives) to within a few miles of Mt Everest.

(Right - A very excited Adrienne waits for take-off)

What an experience.

I have always had a picture in mind of Everest and the Himalayas. In this picture, the mountains were always firmly part of the landscape. After seeing the mountains towering over the clouds, and seeming almost separate from the landscape, I will never think of them in the same way again!
(Buddha Air - I can think of so many taglines... the plane that takes you to a higher plain?)

(When can you get into the flight-deck these days? The co-pilot points out some of the highest peaks in the world, including Makalu, Lohtse and Kanchenchunga. Hope my spelling hasn't offended too many mountaineers).
(How good is this???!!!!)

(If you think this is cheesy you should have seen the t-shirts.)


Adrienne said...

you wrote that whole thing beautifully!! i think on my blog i half-hazardly slapped some words together and posted a few pics... but yours does it better justice!

okay, a few things...
i love what you wrote about buddha air taking you to a higher plain... i dont know which is worse - that or their actual tag: "i didn't climb everest, but i touched it with my heart!" (or something horrible like that!)

also, i'm glad you put the pic of the certificate up there... now the next step is to frame that bad boy!

enjoy the rest of your time in india...and remember; you are the zen master.

addy :)

Graeme said...

Perhaps I am missing the point here (it's not the destination but the journey etc etc), but as a frequent flyer, I am curious as to how you could get credited airmiles for the trip of 0 miles! Or perhaps this is all part of Buddha air's cunning frequent flyer scheme - they have one, but you can never ever get any miles!

Calum said...

Thanks guys! Who could fail to be inspired by Buddha Air.

Perhaps Buddha Air's airmiles scheme is intended to bring home the central tenet of Buddhism - the importance of giving up the grasping and materialism of modern life. You don't really need those airmiles, you just need to touch them with your heart...

The Zen Master (of disaster)