May 8, 2001

Prem, our driver (whose services have been so benevolently donated by Cathy Thompson, a Baha'i who works for USAID) is not only punctual but always 10 minutes early, a miraculous feat in view of the horrendous traffic problems here in the valley. It took quite a while to gather all of the musicians. The studio where we are recording and mixing our sessions costs $5.00 an hour for everything! The rupee is extremely weak compared to the US dollar.We arrived at the US Ambassador's residence at 5:30 to get ready for our 6:30 gig for national dignitaries. I was struck by the world-class Northwest Indian collection, primarily Tlinget artwork. Much of it is private but most is on loan from big corporations. It's just stunning and very appealing to the aesthetics of the Nepalese. Immediately I was impressed by the good taste of the Ambassador. He went all out for our performance by setting up a stage with a big top tent, top rate sound system, and a sumptuous meal. The guests were the top level of Nepalese society. Pamela, Emile and I all had our time, including a neat collaborative rendition of "The Picture Song," a classic Lakota song. Pamela has been including this in her concerts since I first taught it to her 16 years ago. During the banquet following our concert I sat with the Speaker of the House, herself an aficionado of traditional culture. We had a lengthy discussion on the Baha'i Faith and I was thankful to have begun my study of "Century of Light " - it came in handy! Tomorrow we are to make our way to Pokhara....more later.

May 9, 2001 - Our Cosmic Air flight was delayed a couple of hours due to weather - the poor little prop planes have to lock the brakes and rev the props full throttle to get enough umpf to catapult over the steep mountains surrounding Kathmandu Valley, but we did it. The pilots are very good!Pokhara is pure heaven compared to Kathmandu - much more tropical and wrapped around a picture perfect lake. It's one of the most beautiful spots on earth. Oh yeah, the amazing thing is that some of the highest Himals (Himalayan mountains) are literally right here!!