Happy New Year – sorry for the delayed blog updates but the internet was turned off for “maintenance” over the holidays. anyway, now we can strap our helmets on and get ready to travel! Last Thurdsay was Sandeep’s interview day at the US Embassy. We showed up promptly at our designated interview time of 10:30 and we were led to the interview area. We were pretty comfortable with this process as we had already been through it once before as you know with Shanti. With the long weekend coming up and half days being the norm on Fridays, we were not expecting to get Shanti or Sandeep’s visas issued for almost another week. To our surprise, after we completed Sandeep’s interview we were asked if we could wait a short while while they issued both visas. Of course we said yes and now have everything we need to return home with our family!
Another good thing that has happened in the last week was the arrival of our friend Michele, aka Aunt Mo. She has very graciously come to Nepal to see the sights as well as help us on the arduously long return flight to JFK. Now that we have no official responsibilities we are free to make plans to see some of Nepal in detail. In fact, we have planned a two night, three day trip to the Royal Chitwan Animal Preserve. One of the only places left in the world where you can see the one-horned rhino in the wild.
New Year’s Eve was a bit of a nightmare but we got through it. The hotel got a famous DJ from India to perform and setup an outdoor nightclub in the courtyard just outside our room. We got the kids to sleep before the music started and once it did they kept sleeping and we thought we were home free. Although I couldn’t sleep until the music stopped at 2:30, I still thought we were home free. Then the unthinkable happened – Sandeep, perhaps alarmed by the sudden lack of pounding in his ears, woke up screaming and would not go back to sleep for the next two hours! Oh well, just one night.
Overall, in the last few days with our free time we have spent time with monks in Boudhanath, visited the Kopan Monastery, dined with Tibetan friends in their home, visited the village of Pharping where Padmasambhava left his hand print outside of a sacred cave, and taken a harrowing ride up the side of a “hill” to have lunch at a resort overlooking the Katmandu Valley with great views of the Himalayas. We are looking forward to this trip to Chitwan now and plan to make at least one more post before our journey home.