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    Image Courtesy of Brad Clement

From: Tonya Riggs
Kathmandu, Nepal, September 8, 2008

Blessings for Safe Passage

We arrived in Kathmandu yesterday after over 30 hours of travel. We are literally on the other side of the Earth, very far from home. Given that we changed planes in Los Angeles, California and again in Bangkok, Thailand, we were happy to see that all ten of our bags arrived. It would have been difficult to miss a few key pieces of clothing or climbing gear. Upon our arrival, we spent an hour sorting our gear to make sure nothing was damaged or missing in transit.

Today is our first full day (and last day) in the city of Kathmandu. We need to limit our time here as it is very easy to become ill while visiting. Like in any developing country, our bodies can't handle the local water so we drink only bottled water and avoid fresh fruits and salads so we don't get sick. The pollution is very bad and our eyes and throats burn from the smoke and smog.

This morning we did something very important. We joined our climbing sherpa, Dayula, in a special ceremony. The buddhist people believe it one must receive a blessing from a lama, a high level monk, for safe passage into the mountains. Our lama said many special prayers to ensure our safety while traveling in the high mountains of Nepal. Many sherpas will not step foot on a mountain without first receiving this very important blessing.

Namaste from Nepal, Brad and Tonya

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Postcards from the Field: Annapurna

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