Tonight, the house will be emptier than its been for the past two weeks, as Dave, Lisa, Lily & Iris are en route to BKK right now, possibly about to land, as I finish up today's work and begin to look longingly across the valley from my perch here in UNDP to the lush, rain-swept quiet of Budhanilkantha...
So, for us, the delightful friendship trail summer interlude that began with a very late (and lucky...) arrival in BKK on June 19th to reunite w/ the Ellenbergs plus Davis & Catherine that Friday morning and flying together to Phnom Penh with Scott, Sochua and Steve's friendly faces awaiting us comes to a final close.
It's been a full, fun and chaotic 12 days here on the Nepali side of Camp Kampot. The Licchavi Lane residence was warmly awaiting the Ellenbergs on their return to Nepal. Dave, of course, had been part of the Chorten Trail in the summer of 2005, while Lisa had been here last some 16 years ago with Lily in uterus, while Iris had never been here. Gita had her renown Nepali tea ready for the weary travelers, while Tek was ready to to drive our guests around the traffic jams of the Valley.
Tours of the historic sites with shopping happy afternoons filled the schedule, retreating to the vestal sanctuary up on the Hill for dinner courtesy of Shakun's well-planned schedule. Then, after a week of Kathmandu madness, softened, at times, by Shabat dinner w/ our Israeli friends, an early evening stroll on the Boudha stupa, an afternoon in Bhatkapur, french fries at BK's, the exquisite Patan museum, a discussion on Josh & Ezi's citizenship rights at the entrance to the Garden of Dreams, the Oregonians wisely fled to the tropical isolation of Chitwan national park and the peaceful beauty that our friend Emil created inside the park, complete with swimming pool and elephants to dream of and ride upon.
We had a lovely, transcedent long w/end at Machan's bluff within the Park watching the clouds gather over the Himalaya and the Rapti river flow.
Then, of course, stuck inside of Bharatpur with the Budhilkantha Blues Again as our Budha Air flight was delayed three hours due to the monsoon. But, fortunately, we each had our books ready, so finally, after another Nepali travel hiatus, near dusk we returned home Sunday night for an exquisite meal prepared by Shaku & Gita for Lisa's birthday.
Our time together ebbed Monday as Dave & Lisa shopped in the afternoon while we gathered for a final repast at Fire & Ice, followed by take-home Baskin & Robbins ice cream to see Ezi's favorite "Master & Commander" on the DVD in the comfort of our home.
This morning, leave them slow but leave them laughing, I took the morning off as we lingered in the garden, gathering a few more final leeches, trimming the bamboo and slowly winding our way around the congestion we call home to take the Ellenbergs to the airport and their journey home.
It has been good. Very good. Both the joys of group living in Kampot and two families together in Budhanilkantha. These times are special, precious and fleeting. We draw from them sustenance and life.