The monsoon is supposed to be over by 15th
September but with climate change, extreme and unpredictable weather is more common and the rainy season spreads over a longer timescale. As our plane circled over the Gangetic Plains waiting for our turn to land, I looked out at the line of the Himalayas peeking out between fluffy cumulus and I found myself thinking about the awful events in September 1992 when a Thai airbus crashed just north of Kathmandu and just two weeks later a PIA airbus was also lost. Everyone aboard both aircraft died. Most well-travelled people living in Kathmandu at the time knew someone who had been on those flights. Navigation equipment has been built since so I wasn’t feeling too nervous about the landing although I wondered if the pilot was. He circled for a full thirty minutes and I couldn’t help thinking he was waiting for a break in the cloud.
It is a short distance from the Indo-Nepali border to the Kathmandu border – it takes less than a day to walk – but our plane was buffeted as we dodged through the low cloud and we flew close to a succession of interesting forested ridges 2-3000m high, to land smoothly and safely.
Now I’m enjoying all the half-remembered birdcalls and geography of Kathmandu. I couldn’t believe my luck when overnight rain cleared the air so at 6am I was treated to a glimpse of eternal snows…. Ganesh and Langtang himals
were clearly visible and so was Gauri Shanker. We asked a local to name the others but he didn’t know. It made us smile how little interest city Nepalis have in their mountains.
But today I shall keep this short because friendly locals are trying to engage me in conversation and I am struggling to resuscitate my Nepali language and vocabulary, barely remembered as I haven’t tried to speak it for 19 years.
|Overnight rain cleared the air so himals were visible from Kathmandu today