I found this picture of the same area online this morning. I recognized the colored building right away. However, most everything else, including the building I was standing on it seems, is gone.
|photo credit: http://time.com/3835621/nepal-earthquake-pictures/|
It’s unsettling to know that many, if not all, of the historical places I visited around Kathmandu are gone, if not forever changed. From the first day exploring Kathmandu on a seven mile walk to the tour we took with Ron Jon (totally not how it’s supposed to be spelled, but that’s how I remember it ;)), all of those would be completely different if we took them this year….if that would even be possible now.
And that was before the trek even started. I read an article somewhere that said the small villages were 80% damaged. I tried to look for further information, but was unable to find any. Not really surprising….communication and internet and phone were difficult enough to come by during normal times, I can’t imagine now. Are the lodges we stayed in still standing….in any sort of shape that’s reparable? Are the people who showed us nothing but kindness safe? I can’t help but think of the woman who ran the lodge at Lobuche and knitted wool hats to sell as souvenirs. She had a horse for rent and let me charge all of my electronic gadgets for the hourly fee, even though they ran over the hour. Or Namche….what of the bartender who served celebratory beers on the way down, who had moved from Queens, NY, after her Sherpa husband. And the souvenir shop owners who sold us most of our gifts….and told us we could store it in our guide’s house while we were trekking….haha. I can only hope that they’re all safe and able to repair their homes and businesses.
And that’s not saying anything of the guides, porters, and kitchen boys who were with us every step of the way. From the ‘sherpa saunas’ to clear my congestion to a hand up to the top of Kala Patthar to all twenty-some of them rushing out to say goodbye as we made one last trek to the Lukla airport, nothing was overlooked and they always made sure we had exactly what we needed. I can only hope, pray, and send positive thoughts that they and their families are safe.
We’ve reached out via email, but haven’t heard back yet. Of course, internet will be very difficult to come by, and they’re trekking with a group, so I’m sure have lots to sort out with their current group. One of my fellow trekkers checked the site, and we think the schedule puts them somewhere near Gorak Shep, the highest point of the trek. Hopefully it was Kala Patthar day and they would have been heading back down at the time of the quake.
All the places I’ve traveled have been special to me. Nepal, first because of the people and second because of the history. Never have I been somewhere that just about everyone treated you like one of their own. I hope that they are able to rebuild and that people continue to travel there, because it truly was a life-changing experience.