Kathmandu, Nepal
April 9, 2014

Namaste Everyone:

I flew back to Kathmandu this morning after a wonderful interlude in Pokhora. I had such a great time on this side trip.

Yesterday, I decided to experience the longest zip line ride in the world in the mountains near Pokhora. The drop is over 2,000 feet from the top of the mountain to the valley below.

We started with a safety briefing from a Nepali ride operator. He was a fine fellow, but his English was not so good. Things got dicey when he started talking about the possible need for braking as the seat flys down the mountain at warp speed.

Here is what I heard: “Now something very important. The seat gain speeds of 140 kilometers per hour. When you pass over river, watch for (garbled) colored flag on the landing platform below. If see (garbled) colored flag waving, quickly pull on (garbled) colored handle near the seat. Don’t pull on other (garbled) colored handle or you accelerate your speed and crash.” When he finished, I said: “Wait, wait! Could you repeat what you said about the need to brake, especially the part about the flags and handles and the color scheme?” He repeated himself twice, and now I was even more confused. Fortunately, there was a young Malaysian Mom with her two daughters standing with me, so I asked her if she understood. She spoke flawless English and was able to coax out the answer from our instructor. The seats go down in tandom, with one seat on the left and one seat on the right of the launch platform. My flag on the landing platform was white and her flag was orange. The rope with the red handle slows you down and the rope with the green handle speeds you up. After all this high anxiety, we had a fun ride down the mountain.

Tomorrow begins the serious business of this trip. At 7 am, we leave by van for the Nepal/Tibet border. Our first stop is Zangmu, which is just across the border. I’ll file a report from there. For the next few days, I will only be filing audio reports since I won’t have access to a computer.

See you in Tibet.