Last Days in Kathmandu…

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Beautiful and Stunning! Mount Everest from the cockpit of a chartered airplane. My husband Mike and I had the opportunity of viewing the Himalayas and take pictures with a small group of about 25 people. It was a fun ride as this would be the only way I would ever see these mountain peaks!!

Our last day in Kathmandu, we have a flight out at 7 p.m., finds us having breakfast at a favorite restaurant near our guest house.IMG_1233

We then take a taxi to the other side of town to visit Patan and Durbar Square for a last visit of some ancient temples. Our driver leaves us a few blocks for the square as the street is blocked off because it is a festival day. We walk along side many motorbikes and other locals and tourists.

Overview of Square (we were standing just next to the pond at the far left)

Overview of Square
(we were standing just next to the pond at the far left)

After about 10 minutes we arrive at Durbar Square. We stop and take in the view and I tell Mike to wait so I can take a picture of the temple before us:

Durbar Square (Before)

Durbar Square (Before)

We are standing near the open square with buildings on three sides. I snap the shot and then the earth begins to jolt and then ungulate strongly! Mike says, “Get down it’s an earthquake!” We are standing near a pond in the center of the square, he pushes me down and lays over me as we both watch in disbelief as the temple before us implodes! Suddenly we are covered in debris, unable to breath for a few moments, we wait for the quake to stop. As we look up we see this incredible sight and I snap another picture:

After

After

The one temple is destroyed in an instant, people are standing in disbelief, screaming and running, it becomes like a war zone. We look at one another and immediately head back down the street we entered. It takes us some time to traverse the crowds heading in the direction of the temples. We are headed out of the area as quickly as possible, looking for a taxi to return us to our hotel. After several attempts we find a young man and his girl sitting in a taxi, Mike knocks on the window yelling “Kathmandu?” the man says yes and we hop in and off we go! The young man is fearless navigating over sidewalks, rubble, the chaos of people, animals, emergency vehicles, hospital beds with patients being rolled out onto the street and finally after about 30 minutes we are within walking distance of the hotel. We get out and walk, not really knowing if we will find our guest house standing. We pass multiple businesses closing the gates of their shops, we realize to rush home and check on family members. Later we hear the earth quake is a 7.9, a major quake!

We arrive safely back at the hotel to find everyone there out in the parking area. There we will spend the next approximately 6 hours waiting, collecting our possessions, watching our guide working with his superiors to make an exit plan for us. The staff at the hotel responded to all our needs even though there was extensive damage:

After an unsuccessful attempt at making our flight (the airport was closed and all flights out cancelled) we are transported to another hotel outside of the city. We spend the night in the outdoors with our group, all grateful for the efforts of our tour guide Anand and especially Nick Cowie, whom both make us feel safe and cared for. We cannot say enough about their organization and how they help got us through this crisis.

Our overnight camp where Nick and his family welcomed us!

Our overnight camp where Nick and his family welcomed us!

Fran and the girls after our night out...

Fran and the girls after our night out…

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Symbol many homes have at the entrance door.

The next day we head out to the airport, at 9 A.M., once more to attempt the masses of people vying to leave Nepal. Our guide Anand again goes above and beyond his obligations as he makes sure we are all able to obtain our boarding passes and fly safely to our next destinations. While a second earthquake hits (6.7) at the airport and all of us have additional challenges in leaving the country, we do make our flight at 7 P.M. that evening!

While there is much more of the adventure I could share, it would make this post very long indeed. I will just say that I can’t speak for my husband, but will never pass this way again!  I loved the people that shared this adventure with us! Each one touched our lives in a special way and we are so grateful that every single one of them made it home safe and sound. We felt God’s hands upon us, as well as the love and prayers of all our friends and family!

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8 Responses to Last Days in Kathmandu…

  1. Joanne Blatt says:

    Wonderful pictures and account of the trauma. Why hasn’t someone notified the Newspaper? What a incredible first hand experience this would be! I am so thankful you and Mike are home safely. Hugs Joanne

    Sent from my iPad

  2. susieant says:

    Wow. That is an adventure you will never forget and one I would not like to partake in. I’m glad you all made it safely home. That is so great your guide took such good care of you in the midst of all that.

  3. My dear Nilda, I keep reading this post and so very grateful ypu and Mile returned home safe and sound. I miss you and cannot wait much longer to give you a hug 🙂

  4. Mary says:

    Nilda, from the first I heard of the quake and thought you may be there at that time my prayers began. Then when I read you were home, I knew my prayers along with so many others had been heard. I have been waiting to hear this personal story. In the previous days you had been leading us to this horrific day which we all wanted to hear, but I’m sure was difficult for you to tell. Thank you for sharing. We are so elated you are home and safe and that God provided you and your group with a true and faithful guide to bring us safely back to us.

    I will see you Monday as our small group celebrates you and what God provides. The color of the day will be red.

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