A Buddhist’s View of Retirement

This is Wally Berg calling from 9,200 ft., just before 8 am on May 16. We left the Yak and Yeti Hotel before 6 am, left Kathmandu on an early flight and now we’re in the refreshing, crisp cool mountain air at Lukla.

In this Everest Jubilee Season, the 50th Anniversary season of the first ascent of Everest, it’s great to be back home in the Khumbu with trekking adventures ahead as we move up the valley.

Looking back at the last few days, I came into Kathmandu on the 12th. I was met at the airport by Ang Temba Sherpa, who you know well if you follow Berg Adventures’ dispatches from trips in Nepal. Interestingly, Ang Temba had come in from the Khumbu that morning. He’d been working on a BBC film production. He came in to meet me to prepare for this trip and had actually flown by helicopter from Namche to Everest Base Camp briefly and all the way to Kathmandu. He met me at the airport just off the helicopter from Base Camp. Wongchu Sherpa was there too, from Peak Promotions.

Buddhist Monks in KathmanduWe had a lot of work to do my first two days in Kathmandu working on the permit application for the Berg Adventures post-monsoon Everest Expedition. We got a lot of work done out of the office and I’m happy to report that the permit application is in and certainly the permit will be issued any day now.

Then on the 14th Lloyd Charton and Peter Mann arrived. Along with this dispatch, I’m going to send you some photographs of Lloyd and Peter’s first big day in Nepal, their introduction to Kathmandu. I think the photos will speak for themselves. As Lloyd and Peter just commented to me, it was a rich day of memories we will have all our lives.

Krishna DakhalWe went on a city tour of Kathmandu with Khrishna Dakhal who you may remember from Berg Adventures’ previous trips to Nepal. Krishna is a learned, wise man who is uniquely qualified to introduce Nepalese religion and culture and diversity to us because he was born a high caste Hindu, was a scholar and a professor at the university for years, began to study Buddhism and is now a practising Buddhist.

I can report to you that Lloyd and Peter were particularly intrigued by all this and I think the photographs will demonstrate that. There were a lot of new concepts and ideas for these guys. We had great fun laughing about the fact that there is so much to learn in this new world.

Lloyd and Peter with a new friendLloyd, who just a couple of weeks ago finished his last trial and retired after 30 years as a criminal lawyer, was introduced by Krishna to the concept of not struggling and not being combative but treating your enemy like your family or your mother. Lloyd looked at Krishna with wonder in his eyes.

Peter Mann, yoga instructor from Dana Point, California, was equally interested in learning from Krishna and all the sights and wonders of the temples we saw as we went around Kathmandu on the 15th.

So many images are staying with these guys. The colour and the peace of the religious practices at all the temples, Swoyambhu (the Monkey Temple) and Boudha Nath. We went also to Pashupati and walked through the peaceful cobbled streets, enjoying a city that has changed very little over the centuries, Newari wood carvings and architecture and the color of many of Nepal’s different peoples as they walked in the streets.Lloyd and butter lamps

It was a great, rich day.

We left the Yak and Yeti, as I said, this morning, and now we are far away in the Khumbu, the Everest region and the home of the Sherpas. We’ll have many adventures to share as we move up the valley and I look forward to checking in from time to time to tell you the stories about who we encounter and what we encounter as we head towards Everest.

Things are looking great up here in the Khumbu. It’s really warm right now, for here, and beautiful. We’re going to have a great trip.

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