April 30, 2006 - Jim and Roger Arrive in Kathmandu

After the nostalgia I reported yesterday for “TG- 319” and the flights into Kathmandu to begin adventures in Nepal and the Everest Region, I was not disappointed with today’s events.

Elizabeth Hawley waits for Sir Edmund Hillary at the airport in KathmanduYear after year at the Kathmandu airport the same group of trekking agents, hotel staff and foreign guides wait for the flights from Kathmandu, Delhi and elsewhere bringing a fresh group of climbers, trekkers and tourists to Nepal. When Shital and I drove into the parking lot across from the arrivals exit at the airport today we saw the usual collection of faces, agents with their staff holding signs for various hotels and groups.  A few minutes after we arrived, Shital commented to me, “look there is Miss Hawley.” Indeed, Kathmandu’s venerable expedition chronicler, the woman whose personality has colored the Asian experience of several generations of mountaineers, Elizabeth Hawley, was waiting outside the airport with the rest of us.

If any of you need an introduction to who Elizabeth Hawley is read Bernadette MacDonald’s excellent book “I’ll Meet you In Kathmandu” , finally the story of this mysterious private woman who has puzzled so many, has been told and her lifetime of adventure given some of its due.

I had spoken with Liz earlier this morning by telephone and enjoyed catching up on some news and learning that she is well and back to work after a trip to Bangkok for surgery earlier this spring.  As I heard her rustling through her papers at her desk impatiently correcting me as she always does -  (“Liz I heard there were 15 expeditions on the South Col route of Everest this spring”  “No, there are 30 teams at Base Camp on the south side this season, I am not sure how many permits that represents, but that is how many team names I have”) – I was pleased to hear an old familiar strong voice and know that “Miss Hawley” is still very much a presence in Kathmandu.

Roger and Jim arrive in KathmanduI smiled as I walked over to greet Liz and pass the time as we waited for the passengers to clear customs and walk out, it was not the first time I had waited outside Tribhuvan with her, but I knew that there is only one person that Liz Hawley goes to the airport to meet.  I was already thinking how thrilling it must be for Jim and Roger, the first of the BAI team members to arrive this year, to be flying into Kathmandu on the same flight with Sir Edmund Hillary. 

Sure enough, Roger and Jim walked out into the clear Kathmandu day a few minutes later; they had cleared customs ahead of Hillary, but had enjoyed meeting him in Bangkok.  The excitement on Roger and Jim’s faces as it sank in that they were really in Nepal after weeks of dreaming and planning and more than 40 hours of international flights was neat to see.  They had met up in Los Angeles, arriving there from Phoenix and Edmonton.  Now they are in Nepal and the adventure is just beginning.

Waiting at the airport for our team to arrive

And as for today’s report about the arrival of TG 319:  For those who might still be asking, “Are things normal in Nepal?”, rest assured that two very different people who I admire very much, Hillary and Hawley, whose lives and work in this country span precisely the 6 decades since Nepal opened its borders to the outside world in the 1950’s, are both still doing their thing here.  Yes, for the time being, things are very much “normal” in Nepal.

All Text, Images and Audio Files © Berg Adventures International 2006

Want to go
with us
next time?

You Can!

Click here for
more info!