Hi it’s Lori and Amy!
There is so much to say, we don’t know where to begin. We arrived in Kathmandu and went straight to our hotel, The Yak and Yeti. It was very nice. The grounds were nicely manicured and our room had a pretty garden view. Dad walked us into Thamel, a bustling town in Kathmandu. It was exactly how Dad described it last year…dogs, cars, rickshaws, motorbikes, cows, pedestrians, etc. all sharing the roads. The streets are lined with one shop after another selling basically the same products, just competing with each other in price. We went to a great pizza place for dinner called, Fire and Ice. We had wonderful pizza for dinner and some great ice cream for dessert. Fire & Ice is a town favorite for trekkers and climbers from all over the world. After dinner we walked back to the hotel in the dark! This was the scariest part of our trip so far. Imagine the streets mentioned earlier, but now imagine them in the pitch black! We had a big day ahead of us, so we when we got back to the hotel we went to bed.
The next morning we met our personal sherpa/nanny/bodyguard/personal shopper/currency converter/interpreter/tour guide/spiritual leader and bag handler! He’s like that doll you can buy at Ace Hardware, “Mr. Wonderful!” His name is Puchhanga. He is over 6 feet tall, slender build, and giant warm smile! He is one of very few Christians in Nepal. He is very involved in his church and does a lot of missionary work. We discussed our plan to visit the orphanage and our trek from base camp to Kathmandu with him. Our plan for the day was to first visit Swambhu Nath Temple ( AKA “The Monkey Temple” ), the Pashupati Hindhu Temple and then visit the orphanage. We invited Puchhanga to spend the day with us, which made our day so much more enjoyable. He had a wealth of information to share and he was very protective. We knew we were in good hands. With no disrespect to the Swambhu Nath Temple itself, our favorite part was hand feeding bananas to the monkeys! We had to walk up nearly 1,000 steps to get to the temple and the monkeys followed closely behind! Our next stop, the Hindhu Temple, which is also where the Hindhus hold their cremation ceremonies. That’s when we knew for sure we weren’t in Kansas anymore! The smoke and ash was suffocating and the smell was horrid. Puchhanga gave us the some historical information about the Hindhus, in particular the ones called Sadhus. These are the Hindhus who have left their families, jobs, homes, and all luxuries in life to seek spiritual enlightenment. Right before our eyes we saw four Sadhus. They sat in very still poses with their legs twisted like pretzels. They were covered in white powder, their hair was very matted, no clothes, just a metal trinket covering their privates, somehow rigged by a thin string! They will let you take a picture with them for a fee. That must be how they support their cigarette habit and expensive taste in watches! Speaking of very little luxuries in life, it was time to visit the orphanage.
Visiting the orphanage was worth the trip all on it’s own! They had been expecting us all day, prepared a special bread and walked 30 minutes to and from the community showers to get cleaned up for us. Their were 20 boys and girls, ages 4-23 and a house mother and father. The kids were extremely polite, cheerful, smart and amazing in every way. They each stood up one at a time and introduced themselves and told us what grade they were in. We felt like Santa Claus for the day! We opened our bags and started handing out clothing, games, shoes, Bibles, study guides, crafts, medicine, tooth brushes, tooth paste and balloons. They were all dancing around, holding up the clothes to themselves and each other, trying on shoes, reading through their books and tossing balloons! It was a great day for them, but an even better day for us! It seemed everyone naturally formed groups… some doing crafts, some playing games, some trying on clothes, some folding clothes and refolding and refolding again! Thanks to all of our support at home, this was one of the most rewarding days of our lives! Before we left they sang us a worship song in Nepalese and English. It was the most precious site! Our taxi arrived and we gave each one a big hug before we left. When we got back to The Yak and Yeti we were exhausted both physically and mentally. We layed in our beds pondering the day in silence.
Tomorrow it’s off to Lukla!
More to come soon…
Lori and Amy