May 3, 2001

No matter what, the human body is befuddled by travel over so many time zones. After all we are made up the stuff of the earth, so inevitably it requires a little time to get over this jet lag. Which explains why I'm up at 4:00 a.m. pecking away. I've been reading "Century of Light" and have been totally amazed at how little I've understood about the forces that have shaped the 20th century (the Century of Light) and how much they affect every aspect of humanity's current plight. Every paragraph leaves me with the sensation that a big reality pie has been thrown in my face! This document illuminates so many aspects of history, such as Abdul Baha's trip to the West; WWII; the meaning of the Covenant; "winter" - every sentence is filled with new insights. It's not only a fascinating read but, as the preface explains, "The value of the contributions we as Bahai's can make to the process demands that we ourselves grasp the significance of the historic transformation wrought by the twentieth century." I would have delved into this for the rest of the day but Robert Kerr, director of the American Center, invited me to lunch. I had met Mr.Kerr while in Papua New Guinea in 1993. He was working as a trainer with the Peace Corps then and has been in several duty stations since, so when Pamela approached him to be a sponsor of this tour he was eager to help. During lunch he shared some insights about how the programs have suffered since Arts America (the US federal budget budget line item that sponsored my tours in the past) was slashed. But he also offered valuable tips and contacts regarding an informal network that has developed. We went out to the American Club for lunch where we met quite a few Americans including one who is a friend of Tree Cody and who had attended a performance that my daughter Kim and I did in Arizona several years ago! After this Bob Kerr turned me loose to wander the streets of Kathmandu. Much like many Asian cities, the old infrastructure can by no means support the glut of motorized vehicles and pedestrian traffic vying to fill every last inch of space in the streets. If I hadn't seen similar situations in the past, I would've been in culture shock. My mission was to find a pair of sox, which I did, two pair of silk sox from China, for 40 US cents each! After that my mission was accomplished and I found it to be quite challenging to plot my way across town back to the American Center for our 4:00 p.m. press conference. I was fine walking around but found myself lapsing into a coma during the press conference. I just hope that no paparazzis caught me on film! More later . . . Love, Kevin