May 1-2, 2001

Greetings, Everyone! So far this trip has been excellent, aside from a few minor inconveniences. When I arrived in London for my 12+ hour layover it was slightly tiresome to haul all my gear, about 75 pounds worth divided up between five articles (two big ones) on to the Gatwick-Central London train, then down many flights of steps to the Tube, then up some steps, etc. But it was all dispelled by the quality of hospitality and good cheer shown by David White and Sandy Hoover and the opportunity to do a little recording in their home studio. We might be able to shop some music to one or two of the labels in the United Kingdom? Oh yeah, I had some "real" coffee! The trip back from their place to the Heathrow airport was infinitely easier because it was all on one tube line straight from their flat to the airport! My flight from London to Doha to KTM (Kathmandu) was blissfully uneventful. I basically slept all the way to Doha, the capitol of Qatar and then again from there to KTM. I did wake up to see the dramatic transition from the flat, cultivated Indian terrain to the sweeping Himalayan foothills over the top into the bowl of KTM. I'd heard that air pollution could be much worse than Los Angeles because of the inversion in this basin, but everything was brilliantly clear! When I arrived in KTM I realized that I had spent all of my cash on London transportation and couldn't pay the $30 fee for my entrance visa into Nepal. The fellow said that he would hold my passport until I could come up with the fee. He was nice about it, so I went through Baggage and went out and met the hotel driver and explained the situation. He said "no problem" and came up with the cash, which I promptly took all the way back through Security and Immigration and, sure 'nuff, the fellow was there waiting for me and issued my visa. When I arrived at the sponsoring hotel - the Hyatt Regency - Mr.Thapaliya, Pamela's husband was there to present me with two flower necklaces, just like in Hawaii! Later Pamela, Jambo (Pamela's artistic collaborator who grew up in Senegal. I greeted Jambo in the Wolof language with "nangadef" (how are you?") He answered, and then I responded with "mangiferek" (fine) "jerijef" (thank you). He was properly blown away. I told him that a few words of greeting in any language can cut thru many barriers, and he agreed. I had an interview with a national TV crew. Everyone was extremely polite and kind. This morning is Thursday May 3rd 6a.m. and the night was quiet for a big city but is now stirring and the sun is breaking over the Himalayan foothills!