I would say I am an enthusiastic traveler – comfortable enough with the unknown to be a bit more than just good, but not quite yet intrepid. There are few things I enjoy doing more than exploring new places and, thus far, have been incredibly encouraged to experience how kind people are to one another regardless of nationality, linguistic barrier and/or creed. So, it was an absolute no-brainer that when good friends invited me to their wedding ceremonies in either Kathmandu or San Francisco that I would jet off to Nepal.
As of this moment, I am on my way. Well, sort of. Currently, I am actually sitting on the tarmac of an airport in Lucknow, India. After a complication-free first leg of the journey (from Paris to Doha) and smooth sailing for most of the second, we hit bad weather just as we initiated our descent into the Nepalese capital. The clouds rising off of the Kathmandu valley were stunning, yet at no point could we see the ground. I gave up counting after five attempted landings, each one sending our vessel directly into a threatening grey cloud bank, only to be battered and buffeted by winds like we were no more than a child’s toy, and then emerging, steeply climbing far above the tempest. Eventually we gave up the aerial roller coaster and just circled over the bruised cloud cover for another 90 minutes.
Finally the seat belt sign was illuminated, we put our tray tables and our seat backs into their upright positions, more than ready to land. There was a collective sigh of relief and exclamations of delight when civilization was finally sighted, followed by an uneasy murmer that swept through the crowded cabin as we taxied towards the red brick terminal stating proudly: ‘Welcome to India’. Whoops.
It is all part of the adventure, right? I am very grateful that the rest of the passengers appear to feel the same. Everyone is especially in good spirits now that the flight attendants have commenced complimentary beverage services and turned on Tron : Legacy (definitely more distracting than Country Strong). Safety always comes first and, as we await further details on our diversion and possible return to Nepal this evening, we are refueling the plane and restocking food. So far, so good. Plus, maybe I can tack on a few more points towards ‘intrepid’ along the way?
Edited to add later: Finally arrived in Kathmandu, 4 1/2 hours after originally scheduled. After some minor mobile phone mishaps, my hosts picked me up and dropped me off at the guest house. Now tucked in (and tuckered out). More adventures can wait until tomorrow.