The day has arrived, and I’m off to Nepal, stopping first in London, then Delhi, then Kathmandu. It will be two days before I come up for air! Packing is difficult not only because of security restrictions (put all your batteries in the checked bag and heaven help you if the nasal spray in your backpack exceeds 2 oz.), but because Heathrow Airport is notorious for eating luggage. So that means an extra carry-on for “can’t live without” items. I’ve been burned once too often. But here’s the way I look at it…all these calculations keep your brain agile without having to pay for a class in geriatric mental gymnastics.
I shall be updating you after I return from Bhutan, my first stop on a two-month trip. I will be staying, while in Kathmandu, at the Shechen Guest House in Boudhanath, a charming Buddhist enclave, where I stayed last year. Upon my return, I will be joined by my eldest daughter, Cary, with whom I’ll trek for two weeks in the Yolmo area of Nepal.
I couldn’t resist one more photo of the glorious view from my balcony on a brilliant Fall day just as the leaves were fading and Mt. Baker poked its head up to say, “See, I’m still here, fog or no fog.”
One word about Langley before I leave. I was very touched by a traditional ceremony, begun by my daughter in 1996 as a way to honor loved ones past and present. The cemetery is a cherished local spot, which is cared for by volunteers and has become a place of great peace and tranquility over the years. All Soul’s Eve, as it is named, takes place from 5 to 8 PM every November 1st, rain or shine. It’s a lot of work to set out 200 luminaries, and prepare another 150 bags with votives for those who come to honor their loved ones. But the results are worth it. There is a silent stream of residents, some taking one and others taking several votives and placing them on graves, under trees, and on various stone structures. This year was especially beautiful and clear and it was with regret that we couldn’t let the candles burn all night. Thank you, Cary, and your volunteers for a memorable experience. (Hope you don’t mind, Mom, but your behind the scenes webmaster daughter is here with a link to the front page of the South Whidbey Record featuring the event, published after you left for Kathmandu…. click HERE to see Meg front and center!)
Last week I kidded about Elizabeth George living on this somewhat misty, rainy island, and who should I meet at All Soul’s Eve but the author, herself, fresh from having her latest Lynley mystery, Just One Evil Act, published. Needless to say I was thrilled! I mentioned taking it on my trip and she said, “It’s 700 pages.” I said, “Wow! Why so long?” She answered, “Because it took that long to tell a good story.” Good answer. I won’t miss this one!