Episode 064: Sat Phones and Monkeys

A Tikka Is Not Just A Headlamp. When you first arrive in Kathmandu and settle into your hotel, the best thing to do is to get up on the roof and look around.

That’s exactly what Scott and I did today. We spent a good deal of the morning up on the roof of Hotel Marshyangdi looking out over the seemingly endless sprawl of Kathmandu. Unfortunately is was very hazy today and quite warm. We could only see for about one mile in any direction but it actually made the city seem larger by seeing less.

I called my wife, Heidi on my satellite phone. It was good to talk to her. I really enjoy these trips and I get to a point in my daily work-a-day life where I crave adventure so badly I can taste it. Heidi and I have been married for almost 5 years now and that has changed things. When I got off of the plane as we arrived in Kathmandu I was walking towards the entry visa room in the airport. You walk outside for a moment and you can smell the Kathmandu air. It brought back all kinds of wonderful memories of the 2003 expedition with Ben, but also reminded me of how much I missed my wife during that trip. Here in 2007, I instantly felt that I was indeed half a world away from Heidi. I gulped, and decided that this would probably be the last trip to Nepal I’ll take without her.

One of the reasons I needed to talk to her so badly is because it’s possible that she’s pregnant. If she is, then it’s all part of our plan. I am here in Nepal and soon Tibet because that 2003 expedition changed me. The people, culture and environments I experienced had a profound effect on me. Everest had a profound effect on me. It’s difficult to explain and hard to understand. That’s why I’m here. I want to understand better just what it was that made me feel more complete while I was here on 2003. If I can do that, then I will know more about myself and therefore be a more spiritual person, a better person and ultimately a better father.

If you want to get spiritual in Kathmandu, you go to a temple, or Stupa. Later this morning we visited Swayambudnath, better known by tourists as the Monkey Temple. Amazing place. So many people praying, chanting, meditating. There’s incense burning everywhere and musical versions of Om Mani Padme Hum playing through the hazy air. Wonderful.

A kind woman sitting down next to the gigantic stupa motioned for me to come over to her. She didn’t speak english and I don’t speak Nepalese but we were able to communicate through gestures. She wanted to paint a red dot, or Tikka on my forehead as a symbol of Hindu worship. “Absolutely, ” I said. She carefully painted it on me with delicate skill. I was able to wear it for about an hour but it fell off. No problem, it left a bright red stain on my forehead where it was attached. Still good to go. Scott and I had been separated but we met up at a viewpoint where you could look down again, over the city of Kathmandu. Scott was really enjoying himself. This place is wild, and you can feel a powerful energy here.

And the trip to Everest has only just begun.

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 24:40