Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel and Bookpleasures is honored to be the guest writer and guest writer, Sally Wendkos Olds.
Sally has written about family, children, women, relationships, sex, mind, health, and travel, and has written a few books.
Sally also contributed articles: McCall’s, Ms., New York Times Magazine, Redbook, Woman’s Day, and many other major books.
In 1993 Sally and artist Margaret Roche set off on foot for the remote Badel area of the eastern hills of Nepal. They were the first western women to go there.
Sally, can you tell our readers something about you and why you wanted to go to Badel? How often did you return from your first trip?
I had twice traveled to Nepal with my husband, Mark, who fulfilled his youthful dream by going there. In 1987 we moved to the state of Annapurna and in 1991 we moved to the area of Everest, and I fell in love with this small Himalayan kingdom.
I was captivated by the incredible beauty and cheerfulness of the Nepali people. Despite poverty and poor health, not one of the Nepalese people I have ever met showed a sad face, hatred, or even contempt in the world. I wanted to learn more about them – and I wanted to learn what they could teach me. I ended up doing both.
Mark, whose knee was aching, did not want to go back to Nepal. Through tragic circumstances (which I describe in the book) I met Margaret Roche, an artist who had traveled to Nepal several times, and we decided to travel together to a remote mountain area and live with local families. We went to Badel for the first time in 1993, and we returned together three times, once for each trip. I have now been to Nepal seven times.
Where exactly is Nepal, and Badel? How easy or difficult is it to get to Nepal and what can travelers expect when they are there?
Nepal is a small, moon-shaped country the size of Florida, with a population of about 27 million. It is located in northern India and southern Tibet, bordered by the Himalayas, the smallest and highest mountain in the world. It is easy to get there if you do not pay attention to the hours spent in the air and at airports changing planes. Arriving in Kathmandu, the capital, from North America takes about 20 hours of flight time. Badel, on the eastern slopes south of Mount Everest, is reached by a 35-minute flight from Kathmandu to a small airport in the town of Lamidanda, with a three-day journey, as there are no roads to the village.
Kathmandu is a living, densely populated city with half a million inhabitants. It’s full of motorcycle thunder; trumpet blasts by taxi drivers circling the holy cows resting in the middle of the busy streets; and men and boys trying to sell you carpets or hashish or nostrum for the whole purpose “tiger balm,” exchanged dollars on the black market, or took you for a bike rickshaw ride.
Most of the business takes place on the street – and in many shops and restaurants that sell food from around the world. Religion also takes place on the streets, with shrines and Hindu and Buddhist temples.
I noticed that you wrote an article about the Himalayan Seder-Easter Easter in Kathmandu. What was all this about?
Nearly a dozen years ago a group of Lubavitchers from Brooklyn (New York) held an annual Passover celebration at the Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu, flying over 250 frozen kosher chickens, countless jugs of gefilte fish, and dozens of boxes. for matzo.
Israel and Nepal have been cooperating since 1960, and Nepal is a popular destination for Israeli youth, especially after completing their military service. About a thousand Israelis come to this seder every year, and in 1993 I had the good fortune to participate.
Since many of our readers are interested in places of love, can you describe some unique and romantic places in Nepal, and would you recommend Nepal as a place of love?
I would recommend Nepal as a romantic destination for any couple who enjoys visiting unique cultures and getting to know each other in a whole new place.
* Those who love hiking, camping, and natural beauty can experience all of this in Nepal. Kathmandu, the capital, offers 5-star hotels and simple guesthouses, fine restaurants, beautiful Himalayan landscapes, artistic splendor, and attractive cultural and cultural opportunities.
* Pokhara, the center of the country, is renowned for its magnificent natural beauty, mild climate, tropical flowers, sapphire pond, and spectacular mountain views.
* In Chitwan National Park in the south, you can ride on elephants, ride on white water, see tigers, rhinos, and 50 other species of mammals, as well as 400 species of birds.
* The world-famous Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge offers luxurious accommodation and food, as well as a number of modest lodges in and out of the park.
* On popular hiking trails you can camp in tents or stay in tea rooms, some of which are elaborate, while others are modest. Travel agencies can make all your arrangements in any of these areas, or you can travel independently and hire your own guides.