Saturday November 21st – Everest Mountain Flight!

Sagamartha - Everest from the plane.Well, we all managed to be up and assembled in the lobby by 5.30 this morning, but sadly there was no bus, which was very unusual as every other day they have been sitting waiting for us. Quarter of anhouir ticked by and we were getting very edgy as the flight was at 6.30. Maybe the driver knew something we didn’t because when we got to the domestic airport at about 6.15 it was total chaos! Hundreds of people all wanting internal flights and there was only one xray machine which broke down within minutes of us joining the queue. People were jostling and complaining right left and centre and we could see the flight going without us. We should have known better. When we eventually got through it was only to join another melee of people some of whom said that there was a delay as a flight had had to be sent up to see what the weather conditions over the Himalayas were like! There was a lot of ground mist at the airport, but we all thought that the control tower would have had continual input from somewhere or other about weather conditions, but obviously not. We watched the sun rise over the waiting planes and it was actually 8.40 by the time we took off, by which time everyone was very fed up. Once we got going all that was forgotten and we had a wonderful flight which lasted an hour and forty minutes instead of an hour, as the delays meant that all the landing slots – shared with the international airport as there is only one runway – had been messed up and we had to wait for clearance. The views across the range of mountains got better and better as time went by and the haze disappeared. I had not realised just how vast the foothills of the Himalayas are, or the distance that must be travelled on foot even to get to base camp. Sagamartha (Everest ) itself was just so impressive and stunningly beautiful, as were the lesser mountains on either side. Photography doesn’t begin to do justice to them really – you need a very powerful camera, and a tripod to overcome the shake and turbulence of the small planes. All in all a memorable experience which was worth every penny. In fact it was about £90 which is pretty good for the time it took and the commentary which told us exactly which peaks we were looking at, at any one moment. We all had a snooze after a late breakfast and then this afternoon

Durbar Square - one of the temples

Mary and I took a rickshaw into Durbar Square and spent a fascinating couple of hours looking around the old palaces and standing in the celestial palace to see the Kumari Devi, or the celestial goddess as she is known. She is a young girl from the Newari caste who is chosen by priests for her beauty and purity at about the age of four. She remains the goddess and lives in the Kumari Palace until she reaches puberty when a new goddess is chosen. She lives a very secluded life and only appears in public once a day at 4.pm and about six times a year at ceremonial occasions. Photographing her is absolutely forbidden and they went to great lengths to ensure that no-one had a camera in evidence. All very strange, and there are many weird legends about how there came to be a living goddess in the first place. We saw some really old buildings which are in a dreadful state of repair and which still house shops and businesses. You wonder how they manage to stay up.

Durbar Square

It was great to have a really relaxing day, as tomorrow we are visiting another school early in the morning – Sunday is a working day in Nepal – and then Mary and I have a lot of preparation to do for next week’s lessons, not to mention my 90+ essays to mark!!

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One Response to “Saturday November 21st – Everest Mountain Flight!”

  1. Janet Says:

    Hi Margaret, at last I have managed to find the site ! What a wonderful time you seem to be having. The flight over Everest sounded amazingly spectacular. I am sure that your musical creativity is bringing such a lot of pleasure to those children. I hope you are keeping up with the marking. The weather here today is extremely wet and wintery. I am missing you and looking forward to seeing all your photos.
    Take care of yourself, Mary sounds a good friend to be with.
    Lots of love
    Janet

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