Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finally made it to India

Well I seem to have been writing and trying to post this blog for half my life. By rights I should now be in the air on my way to Delhi, but rather unsurprisingly the flight has been delayed and I am bored $hitless in the departure lounge watching a TV ad for a Nepali dance studio – might investigate it when I get back.
Tuesday was a big one for the Boustead-Smythes. Robin was asked to do a GHT presentation at the Australian Embassy for a select bunch of invitees. We were lucky enough to be able to ask a few people (hope you enjoyed it – and sorry to those who missed out). There was a drinks and nibbles party on the terrace beforehand – which went on for a while because so many people got stuck in dreadful traffic. Everyone told us that they enjoyed the presentation and many of them are keen to experience the trail for themselves. After the presentation there were more drinks and nibbles. The poor ambassador must have been wishing we would all nick off so she could go to bed. A big thank you to Susan for being such a wonderful hostess!
Robin spent most of Wednesday giving interviews to various news agencies here in Nepal, so if you keep your eyes peeled you never know when you might come across him in a newspaper.
Robin had a great time out in west Nepal, but did mention that trying to live off the land in a place where people are starving to death seems a little crazy. It was heartening to see in his photos that there are still plenty of forests out west.
Kathmandu went a little bit mad on late Saturday and Sunday after GP Koirala died. I got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam going to the airport to meet Robin (we got stuck in the same one coming back I might add) and then Sunday was a public holiday for the funeral. His body was lying in state at the National Stadium all morning (and I think just about everyone in Nepal went to pay respects) and then about 3pm they loaded him onto a truck for the trip to Pashupatinath where he was finally cremated about 4 hours later than planned. Many people have been shaving their heads as a sign of respect, and there is no other news being reported right now.
However, I did hear a hilarious story the other day, from a chap who is high up in the trekking realms here. You may have heard of a little fellow called Khagendra Magar who is (I think) about 45 cms tall (?) and will soon be named as the world’s shortest man. My correspondent was walking through the corridors of power when he got dragged into a meeting and told “this is about mountaineering- it will interest you.” He sat down and dutifully listened to the proposal which was: put Khagendra in a backpack and carry him to the top of Everest. Seriously. I’m still laughing. He suggested it would be like those people who carry a stuffed toy clipped onto their backpacks.
In our few brief moments of relaxation in front of the idiot box we are enjoying SHAKTIMAAN. Shakti means strong/powerful but Shaktimaan looks more like Mr Mudguts – he is just hoeing into a bag of peanuts now. He has a rather tacky maroon velvet clingy jumpsuit thing with gold epaulette wings – fabulous. He can spin around and fly through the air, and when he isn’t Shaktimaan he is a mild mannered office worker who wears glasses. Fancy that!

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