August 10, 2013. Saturday. Our fifth and last day in Nepal. My eyes were shut for almost 6 hours of restful sleep, it felt a luxury. Then, I woke up and I saw my family – Tina & Gabby who were still asleep. I tried to hyperextend my lower extremities and forced my senses to rise from the bed. Like a child who wishes to see the sunrise beaming from snow-capped mountains, I gradually moved my feet off the bed and walked towards the window. Negative. I never had a glimpse of sunshine but all mist and blue.
Namaste. Good morning, from Nagarkot, Nepal!
It was only 5:10AM, no sight of stupendous Nepalese sunrise. No regrets, I told myself. It’s monsoon season and the Himalayas were thickly covered with fluffy clouds. After I clicked a photo, I went back to bed and tucked myself under the sheets again. That was sweet! I savored that moment for it doesn’t happen on a daily basis particularly on a work week. I didn’t bother to stimulate Tina and Gabby to wake up, but rather I rejoined them in Dreamland.
About two hours after, the three of us went down for breakfast at Cafe du Mont, the restaurant of Peaceful Cottage in Nagarkot. After we appreciated our first sip of Nepalese coffee for the day, we decided to transfer our plates and cups to the dining area at the expansive and overwhelming balcony. We were lured by the last-moment-experience in Nepal.
Our last breakfast in Nepal was savored at 7000 feet above sea level.
It was zero-visibility by the balcony. We didn’t see even the shadow of the mountains or the sight of lush green fields in Kathmandu Valley. It was a very cold morning in Nagarkot. The last time I felt fresh cold air that entered my nasal cavities down to my lungs was in Tokyo during the tail end of Winter 2010 and in Auckland, New Zealand in 2005 with Tina and our 4-month-old-Gabby then. Breathing and feeling cool and fresh mountain air together with my family was nothing but priceless!
True to the lyrics of the song, “Some Good Things Never Last,” our brief but memorable 5-day-break in this incredibly amazing country was about to end. After breakfast and some last-minute-photos and videos, we went back to our room to freshen up again and off we went to thank and bid goodbye to the friendly staff of Peaceful Cottage & Cafe du Mont.
Although it’s not a sponsored accomodation, I’d like to thank Caron, who replied to all my queries and concern via email when I did the reservation for the said mountain resort hotel. He also facilitated our transfer from Nagarkot to Tribhuvan International Airport with utmost efficiency. While Laxma and the rest of the staff of the said hotel displayed modest but warm Nepalese hospitality.
The next thing I recall vividly was Tina’s resounding comment; something like, “Mabuti kasama noong driver iyong anak niyang babae, at least I feel safe.” (Good that the driver brought along his daughter, I feel safe).
While Tina was preoccupied praying her rosary that was only interrupted by her excitement a couple of times when she saw (holy) cows on the road, and Gabby was quietly sitting between us, I continued to capture some last scenes on the road en route to the airport.
So here are the photos I took while we were on the zigzag road from 7,000 feet up in Nagarkot down to Kathmandu Valley where the terminal is. Enjoy!
Few minutes after an hour trip, we thanked and said goodbye to our Nepali driver, Krishna.
That’s it. We’re about to leave Nepal, however, we know we’re bringing not only our passports and luggage back to our present home in Penang, Malaysia but a thousand and one beautiful experiences we gained from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan and Nagarkot and the simple memories with people we met, the Nepalis who smiled and greeted us, Namaste.
No travel guide book or glossy magazine will ever get you close enough to the real learning experience.
Checking in at Malaysia Airlines counter was a breeze. The three of us were entitled to free 30 kg-luggage allowance but of course, we didn’t buy huge brass and wooden souvenirs to meet such limit! And despite we have to transit at Kuala Lumpur Interantional Airport and board another MAS flight to Penang, our 27 kg-luggage plus 3kg-duffle bag were sent directly to our last destination from Kathmandu and we didn’t need to claim and drop them again at the counter.
The semi-OC-in-me rechecked and verified all our documents prior boarding. And with random flick over our passports, I saw again our Visas to Nepal stamped upon arrival. With Gabby’s FREE Multiple-Entry-Visa valid for 30 days, and Tina’s and mine that were valid for 15 days, I can’t help but take a shot of what I consider one of the best things that a US$ 50 (for Tina & me) could buy!
As we took turns in going for bladder breaks, my attention was drawn to a group of 15, if not around 20 Nepalese Boy Scouts who also went to queue at MAS counter. They’re going to Kuala Lumpur too, boarding the same flight with us to attend Jamboree in Malaysia.
“Gabby anak,, look at them! They’re like your age and they’ll be traveling without parents but only a couple of guides. Come, let’s talk to them and I’ll take a photo with you.”
These kids are doing right. They’re blessed to see and experience the world at an early age!
Few minutes prior boarding time. Here we go.
Because Tina was in the ladies’ queue at the Boarding Area, she went to the plane ahead of us.
To bid adieu to Nepal was a lot harder than I thought.
The feeling was uniquely different from previous departures I had.
Perhaps, because in five short days, we encountered not only Nepalis but ourselves.
Upon ascent of the aircraft and the last view of Kathmandu from my window, I promised to revisit. We shall return in the future. Who knows? We never expected to experience Nepal too soon but it happened. And apparently, it left us in awe!
A deep sigh and a smile.
Happier moments followed. What else but meal time at 36,000 feet!
Never underestimate an inflight meal experience in Economy section. I redefined bliss perceived immediately after separation anxiety with Nepal with white wine and orange juice to wash down all those savory Malaysian goodies amidst gorgeous sunset views by my window.
No matter how many words I write, regardless of the volume of photos I share, I cannot completely express what my family and I experienced in our journey from Malaysia to Nepal and back.
I could not thank Tina and Gabby enough for joining me in this journey. The trip was made worthwhile because I traveled to Nepal with my family.
To be continued with a blog post containing BTS-videos taken by my wife in Nepal…
*A life journey of mine, an epiphany of travel for you, made possible by Malaysia Airlines.
This Nepal Blog Series includes :
- Our Unforgettable Journey From Malaysia to Nepal
- Incredibly Beautiful Bhaktapur
- Patan : The City of Fine Arts in Nepal
- Beneath Buddha’s Watchful Eyes : Boudhanath Stupa & Swayambhunath Stupa
- Nagarkot : Sleeping in Nepal’s 7000 feet
- Our Last Moments in Nepal : From Nagarkot to Kuala Lumpur International Airport