First Impressions

The conference officially ended after supper on Friday evening but by the time we cleaned up and de-briefed it was 11:00 p.m. before I headed up to finish packing for Nepal.  Since I needed to be at the airport at 7 :00 a.m. for my flight, it only made sense that I should do the 4:00 a.m airport run to see the first lady off on her early morning flight home.

The five and a half hour flight to Katmandu was very relaxing and as it turned, out the nap was absolutely essential given what we would face on the second leg of our journey.  On arrival we met up with Simon, our Nepal Ministry Leader, for a six hour drive west to Butwal.  There is only one road over the mountain, which snakes high above a beautiful river valley.  Barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass, it is packed with huge trucks, buses, cars. motorbikes, tractors, ox carts, bicycles, men and women carrying incredible loads, oxen, sacred cows, goats, chickens, kids heading to school,  little babies playing with rubber tires and rocks and debris from recent landslides.

After supper at Simon’s home, we finally arrive at our first hotel, Summerland Resort, well after dark. 

First impressions are funny things.  The vehicle we rode in seemed pretty decent but little did we know that it would become a torture chamber in which as many as nine people were trapped  for 6- 8 hours a day for the next week.  The road we travelled seemed narrow, rough and a little frightening given the steep drops into the valley below but it was a super highway compared to what we would later travel on.  The quaint little outdoor stall type restaurant where we ate lunch was later referred to as the “five star” restaurant.   Although the Summerland looked a little seedy and tired, with a few bugs, we soon found ourselves longing for the luxury of that accommodation.