Episode 003: Kathmandu, Part 2

Om Mani Padme Hum. Major finally arrives and the Everest expedition continues. We check out the largest Stupa in Nepal: Boudhanath. I can’t get over how amazing this place is. I just want to spend the day walking around and around the central spire (in a clockwise direction as is the custom) and stare up at the Eyes of Buddha. There’s a sort of New Age rendition of “om mani padme hum” piped in on the loudspeakers that you can’t escape and can’t get out of your head when you leave. It’s beautiful, but touristy, and I buy a CD of it anyway.

The following day we set out early for a scenic flight along the Himalayas. It’s a clear day and we get a very good view of Everest from the plane. The mountain is easy to spot…it’s the tallest one in sight. As the plane flies over the Kathmandu Valley I catch a glimpse of a familiar place. It’s Boudhanath Stupa in all of it’s architectural glory. I bet that if the plane wasn’t so loud we could probably hear the New Age music playing.

When we return to the hotel from the flight, we meet up with Elizabeth Hawley. She’s the author of the Himalayan Database and interviews someone from every expedition to the Himalayas. She may not be well known outside of the climbing world, but here in Kathmandu she’s an institution. Ms. Hawley has been documenting climbs for over 40 years even though she’s never climbed one herself.

That evening I try to play my new CD and discover that it’s blank! No matter, I still can’t get the song out of my head…

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 23:49