Tuesday, November 27, 2007

hilarity, insomnia, and vegetarian recipes

i love penguins !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Do you think my writing is small?"
"Did you say, do I think your writing smells, or do I think it is small?"
"Why would your writing smell?"
"SMALL! Is my writing SMALL!"
"I don't think it smells."
"MOM!!! I am going to kick you!" She marches over and literally kicks me in the shin as I am cracking up and grab her to stop her.
"You can not kick! Seriously." I gave her a joking swat on the bottom, laughing, and then fell over.

Maybe you had to be there... but it was hilarious!!! (She typed the penguin message up top.) We had a fun dinner at Panera Bread and talked about things like school, boys, etc. Sam is doing so much better in basketball even though he's the shortest on the team. They played a game yesterday against all these extremely tall players - it could have been the NBA! Needless to say, they lost like 74 to 1. Oh well... Savannah will be 13 soon and is starting to like boys, it's so cute. I ask her questions and give her a hard time and she hits me ;) But she hugs me more than she hits me so I'm in good shape. So far. Usually.

I've been struggling with insomnia since I got back from Nepal but last night I took melatonin and it worked. I think I'll take half a pill tonight. Then nothing tomorrow. I want to make sure I don't toss and turn all night, which just utterly sucks... but I hate taking medication of any kind. You're talking to a woman who had two babies without any medication!! Melatonin is a natural substance produced in our bodies, but taking excess amounts is probably not a good thing and definitely not something I want to rely on for sleep!

On another note, I'm finishing reading Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son, which is a stunningly beautiful, powerful and amazing book that recounts his encounter with the Rembrandt painting and how he relates the stages of his life to the characters in it, which are the characters from the Biblical parable of the same name from Luke 15:11-32.

In the chapter on the Father, which represents God, Nouwen says,

"Here is the God I want to believe in: a Father who, from the beginning of creation, has stretched out his arms in merciful blessing, never forcing himself on anyone, but always waiting; never letting his arms drop down in despair, but always hoping that his children will return so he can speak words of love to them and let his tired arms rest on their shoulders. His only desire is to bless.

In Latin, to bless is benedicere, which means literally: saying good things. The Father wants to say, more with his touch than with his voice, good things of his children. He has no desire to punish them. They have already been punished excessively by their own inner and outer waywardness."

I especially love the Latin description of "to bless,"because it's a lesson I've been working on with my daughter, to teach her to say positive things to others rather than to criticize. I tell her that there is really never a need to say anything negative unless there is either a need to set a boundary, or to teach someone something and it needs to be done in love (Speak the truth in love). I never realized until now that the word to bless meant saying good things. I like that.

I'm looking for good vegetarian recipes so if anyone knows any send them my way!! I'm recently reverted back to vegetarianism, and just don't have a lot of good wholesome recipes. Send 'em on over! Let me tell you, the kids, carnivores that they are, are just thrilled by this!

"You're not a very good vegetarian," Savannah said to me tonight.
"Why?" I asked.
"You eat meat all the time!" she replied.
"I just started!"I said.
"You are NOT going to become a vegetarian, I'm not going to let you!"

This is going well... ;)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

powerful and sad

I just watched the movie Reign Over Me, which is about a friendship between two guys, played by Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. Adam's character has lost his wife and kids in a plane crash but it's not until later in the movie you realize it's from September 11th. He had become sort of a lost soul, wandering the streets of New York City, and one day he randomly runs into Cheadle's character. They'd gone to dental school together. Anyway I found it a very powerful moving film but maybe also related to the wandering soul lost on the streets... lost family... powerful themes in my life. Funny I was just blogging about that theme Thursday.

I spoke with my brother, Lazer, on Thanksgiving, who was with his daughter (Kira) but said to me he hated the holidays because he didn't have family to spend it with. Dad was sick. Lazer said he knew why people killed themselves during the holidays. He's not a depressive type at all - in fact he is quite the opposite. Almost to the point of denial of the darkness and sadness of the soul that we all hold within us, especially those with as strong of abandonment themes as we carry from our childhood. I felt for him, because I felt exactly the same. I didn't think the thought of relating to why people kill themselves but I myself had felt the extreme pangs of loneliness and I didn't have my kids with me, and he did. He's a single dad. My mom, when I related this to her, in her typical manner said she was going to call him and tell him to 'stop being so negative.' God love her! Relate, acknowledge, understand, feel the pain, listen. Don't deny or negate the feelings! So I have my mom and dad still living, but lost both at various stages of my childhood, as well as other people I loved. I also lost innocence in their care. Speaking of loss and the loss of innocence I wanted to share these photos of these beautiful orphans from the Oshin Child Development Center in Kathmandu, Nepal that I visited. The website has photos and info but I'll post my own. I really liked Samrakshya - she is such a beautiful girl! My daughter is excited to write to her when she gets back from Mississippi tomorrow.

Samrakshya is the older one in the far right, in the back.
Note how they eat with their hands - this is the culture there.
The boys.
So cute!
They are happy, they are kids being kids.

One thing I wanted to relate that has nothing to do with the orphanage. In Kathmandu and other big cities there are street orphans that are very dirty, and they come up to you very aggressively and put their hands together in the Namaste sign which looks like praying, and then they touch their hands to their stomach and then to their mouth and hold out their hands. They won't leave you alone. I'd just arrived in Nepal and I saw this one old man come out of a grocery store in Thamel in Kathmandu and when the kids begged from him he pushed them away with his hand and said something in a really rude tone like "Get out of my way kid" or "scat" or something to that effect. The boy was with another street urchin, maybe his brother, maybe not and I can't get this image out of my head. The boy reached over and kind of patted him and hugged him. No anger by the boy toward the man, he just looked like he genuinely got his feelings hurt, and his friend comforted him (did I tell this story already?!). I noticed that in Nepal boys and men will walk down the street holding hands. It is not homosexuality, it's just the public display of affection between male friends. Here's a photo, but even grown men hold hands. Very different than in the U.S.!

Friday, November 23, 2007

thanksgiving with friends

We're trying to see how many faces we can get into a self-portrait. First 4 then 5 then...
Six! But Carlos took this one so maybe it doesn't count! From left and going clockwise, this is Charlotte (in red) Lynn (in black), Maggie (in brown), Tammy, me and Trish (in white). I love these awesome women! What a great Thanksgiving! And I slept soundly for the first night since I've been home!
Me at Thanksgiving at Maggie's...


where is this land i wander in between joy and heartbreak. i've left the land of brokenness yet have not yet found that place i recognize. i wander to distant shores, hike mountains, ford rivers, sweat in the amazon jungle, sail aboard ships, swim in the sea, free, so free with the aquatic. i feel home floating swimming kicking and enveloped in quietude surrounded by diamond bubbles and bejeweled fish. i hike i walk i run and i stop and sleep breast to the ground, breathing, breath. i look i always look up dizzy to the stars. a billion trillion white lights. where is my casseiopeia? i can not orient. i am not home. even when i am. these paved streets and shops and stores and houses i do not recognize. i am content and free but i have not yet found. i am following the path, i have reached down and picked the crumbs left, the signs they lead me home but i do not know where they lead. i follow, i lose my way but i always find the stars and the earth and the fire leading me on, ever on to home. ever on.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Carbon Neutral for 2007 - Thankfulness!

I finally did it - I calculated and then fell off my chair at the amount of CO2/greenhouse gases that I personally emit...(well not personally, mind you, but through my car, plane travel and home electricity). I'm double the U.S. average and NO, not because I drive a Hummer or huge SUV (I don't... well I drive a Subaru Forester which is a small SUV). However I take a lot of plane trips, and most particularly the trip to Nepal in itself pretty much doubled my carbon emissions (at 25,980 miles...). Back in July during the Live Earth concert I did a quick-calculation and got 15 tons, which is under the U.S. average of 20 Tons CO2. However, this time I did a detailed calculation and added up all the flights and my car mileage etc. I got 39.66 Tons... Yowza. I used Carboncounter.org to calculate my emissions, and I chose to offset with its affiiated 501(c)3 nonprofit Climate Trust. Check out their carbon calculator. I chose this nonprofit to offset my emissions and make my life in 2007 carbon neutral because they were 1 of the 8 best ranked of 30 reviewed in the recent report by Clean Air, Cool Planet, "Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers." In other words their offset projects were high quality, they were engaged in education efforts, and it was an overall good organization to donate to.

This year I'm thankful for:
  • Family and friends, new and old and the love you've all shared with me
  • That so many people care enough to try to help save the planet - let's hope it's not just a "trend" that disappears.
  • That we CAN offset our emissions... I encourage others to at least match the average U.S. output. That equals a donation of around $200.
  • Good health, a wonderful home, and the opportunity to travel and write about places and issues that need positive attention drawn to them.
  • Saving grace, and the love and sacrifice of Jesus: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. My Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Friend.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. God Bless You!

spending holidays alone sucks

Maybe it’s because my kids left for their grandparents with my ex 2 days after I got back from Nepal and I’m totally alone on Thanksgiving (tho a friend did invite me over tomorrow) but I’m just feeling really incredibly lonely. Funny thing is that despite how heart-on-my-sleeve this blog is, and how often I share my feelings, I feel hesitant about saying that I'm lonely. I don’t mind being alone, I actually like many aspects of it, but I have to wonder if that is not just my wall that I’ve built to deal with an inevitable situation I can’t exactly control. Or can I? Do I keep myself single and too busy for dating or out of the way of meeting people subconsciously on purpose? Anyway, I’m just wanting to share my thoughts because I’m alone on Thanksgiving and it sucks! Hopefully I'll go to bed and wake up tomorrow feeling a little better, and I'll offer some things to be thankful for. xoxo Wendee

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

it's not my imagination!

I am having had such a hard time with jet lag and getting my sleeping/waking rhythms right that I had to research this, and what do you know, some scientists say that it is indeed more difficult to recover going from East to West (I flew East from Nepal to Bangkok to L.A. to Houston over the Pacific Ocean coming home) - check out the Wikipedia entry on jetlag (OK I know this isn't exactly a scientific paper but I don't have time for serious research on this right now!). It probably doesn't help that I am able to sleep in or go to bed when I want, as opposed to when I went to Nepal and we pretty much had to wake up and go, no matter what. I went to bed at 1am, pretty normal for me, but then woke at 450am and could not get back to sleep! So I worked for a couple hours, then napped again expecting to wake at maybe 10am but I got up instead at my mom's phone call at 145pm!! Crazy. I went for a run today and it felt so great. I'm trying hard to work on my article on mountain lions and it's killing me...

A couple of my articles are out now.
An Off-Setting Adventure:
Cruising the Galapagos with a Carbon-Neutral Conscience, E/The Environmental Magazine, Nov 2007. Unfortunately you need a subscription to access it... but soon enough I'll post a version online.

Don't Mess with the Snappers: Irascible conservation veterans keep fighting for their beloved Big Thicket. Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. Dec 2007. The link still goes to the Nov issue as of today but the Dec issue will be up soon.

Fabrics, KathmanduMacaque at the monkey temple, Kathmandu, overlooking some Tibetan prayer flags.
A tea plantation in eastern Nepal. Tibetan bowls in a Buddhist temple in Meghma, India.
The porters carry stuff in baskets that they balance with their heads. It's amazing how much weight they can carry... they would carry 4 of our backpacks/duffel bags in one load.
Insane! Amazing!

Monday, November 19, 2007

reflections on non-attachment

We're both looking for something we've been afraid to find.
For once in my life, I'm scared to death.
It's easier to be broken. It's easier to hide."
- First Time (song) by Lifehouse

This came from my journal ... reflections on the trip.

I was really excited on the flight home to Houston, as well as the last leg of the trip from Bangkok to LA. Don't know why, it was just this bubbling energy from the adventure gone by, that all had gone well, that I was safe and sound and the bonding and connecting that occurred really mostly toward the last days. For many days of the trip I just felt alone, though not lonely, but didn't know if I fit in. Anyway, as I was riding in the bus back to Bhadrapur from the mountain highlands I started to reflect on the sort of detached attitude I carried through the trip and wondered where could I find again this pure joy that I experienced when I spent some weeks in solitude in New Mexico? Why on my trips to Peru, the Galapagos and now Nepal was I not feeling particularly inspired? I felt mostly just a lone soul wandering through a distant land. I liked the people on the trip but making friends takes time. There's no instant bonding as adults, I think, the way kids do.

At one point on the trip a communication breakdown, and some small frustrations added up and I felt overwhelmingly not just a lone soul but I felt strongly that I'd made a poor choice in coming on this trip and spending money that I should have saved or spent on the kids education or something for our family (since my editor said I could write the article without going - though of course such articles are inevitably better when one sees things first-hand). I questioned myself as to why I made the choice to wander and explore when my heart truly belongs at home, with my children who need me and my ability to love, protect, cherish and guide them. (I also do believe that kids suffer when parents have unlived lives or unmet dreams -- they sacrifice too much of themselves at the kids' expense... kids need parents as role models also). But in my circumstance, money is truly extremely tight and I just felt that I'd made a bad choice. I started to cry as I walked alone down and up the rugged path, people far behind me and people far in front of me but me alone.

I felt maybe the reasons I chose to go to Nepal - besides my wanderlust and desire to see all the continents - will come out in time. I certainly loved seeing the red pandas in the wild, something very few Westerners have seen - few people at all, for that matter. I loved the scenery (though cows and their cowbells are omnipresent no matter how seemingly remote the forest or extreme the slope), and I loved the hard sweaty, heart-pumping, breath-taking trekking we did and meeting new people and seeing the culture.

I came to a sort of conclusion that I want to travel with someone rather than alone. I don't mind being alone but there's something to be said for traveling with a close friend or partner who you share a bond with already before the experience. I think that having someone like that there would have made all the difference. I'm a social person who cherishes my friendships, even as I also need a lot of alone time to nurture my creative spirit. The experience certainly enriched the muse and gave me some inspiration for the fount. The feeling on the plane was unmistakable, just hopefulness, excitement and energy and a desire to step back into a leadership role that I have given a backseat over the last few years. I love public speaking, teaching a group of students, and hope that with my book I can step back into that role.

I also had some insight into religion and spirituality as I reflected. Being in a nation with a lot of Tibetan prayer flags, Buddhist temples and Hindu worship (and sharing a trip with Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and myself a Christian) I got to thinking about the Zen Buddhist principle of non-attachment. I am interested in knowing the origin of this principle and its etymology, because I tend to think that attachment is normal and healthy - to friends, family, children, and even God. It's when attachment degenerates into addiction that problems ensue. We have to be able to say goodbye - often permanently - to people or ideas that no longer work without catapulting into depression or an inability to function. The alternative is that the principle is 'wrong'... though I tend to think not because Jesus' teachings repeatedly echo these words about non-attachment or what I'd refer to more as non-addiction.

"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25) -- don't be attached to your very life because it's a temporary home of the spirit which has a greater purpose - to serve and love selflessly. Death is not to be feared.

When his immediate family wanted to speak with Jesus while he was in a crowd, he replied, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Mt 12:48-50). In other words, do not be too attached to blood family because although it's natural to feel more altruistically toward them, our true calling is to God and hence all humanity. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all One. Our duty is to serve all.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Mt 6:24) In other words, do not be too addicted or attached to money or the seeking after of it...Jesus also told the parable of the rich fool: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:16-21). Many more teachings on greed and attachments to money are there also...such as when he tells the young man to sell all his possessions and follow him.

Do not be addicted to outcome... "God's will be done" even to the point of death such as Jesus crucifixion. There's a far greater good that comes out of suffering done for God's glory. Don't take this out of context though - there's never glory in inflicting suffering on another nor in staying in a relationship or situation in which one's very life, safety or sanity are threatened. I do believe that God brings good out of our suffering if we're open to the life lessons within and our hearts do not become hardened but stay open and humble. We can see a thousand deaths but still know that death - even if prolonged and tortured and scary - is not eternal but a momentary suffering. Sometimes perhaps it's harder to see death than to experience it. Death occurs and ends but our life sustains beyond it. Even if one doesn't believe in an afterlife, the gifts or creative works we leave behind, the love we've shared and given to others through hugs, kind words, smiles, friendships - these things live on after our death. Our molecules certainly live on - forming into dust and then into other organisms or parts of the earth and the universe. As Michael Dowd says, we are all stardust!

So overall I sort of had a feeling that I was ready to 'feel' again, to risk, to feel deeply and passionately in the part of myself that I seem to have closed off somehow, maybe due to detachment. But detachment differs from non-attachment. So... Bring it on!

jetlag from hell

It's taking me a lot longer to recover from jetlag than it did when I got to Nepal. I suppose it doesn't help too much that I stayed up purposefully until 430am this morning working on getting my photos resized so I can post a few. Then I slept until noon. However tonight I'll try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I am physically exhausted though. It's weird.

At the airport my kids gave me a HUGE hug (both of them at the same time). Sam clung especially hard, which is unusual because Savannah is usually the one expressing how much she misses me. I gotta keep this short. Here are just a few photos from the trip. Will create a gallery at week's end after I write my article on mountain lions!

Paige, Dana and I at Malibu beach. I stayed with my friend Paige on the way to Nepal. I love this photo!
This is me, Mickey, and Tim (back row) with a family we stayed with one night. Tim is the producer of the It's Your World documentary on eco-conscious travel. Check out http://www.culturalfilmfund.com/

We saw 3 red pandas in the wild! They are so teddy-bear cute. It took a while to find any, then we saw 3 in the last days thanks to the sleuthful hard work of the local "forest guardians" who know the forest well and are hired by the Red Panda Project to survey and help protect the community forests. Whew!

A sunset shot of mist, clouds, and a silhouette of the forests and mountains. This shot was taken somewhat near the village of Santapur at the India-Nepal border, and around 12,000 feet.
I have so many shots of cute kids peering out open windows! Love this one. A cute Nepali boy carrying a load of sticks (probably firewood).
An abstract shot of incense and marigolds inside of the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. Althuogh it's a Buddhist temple a Hindu prayer service was being held here.
A baby macaque eating what remains on a candy wrapper. The monkey temple is so named because of the many macaques there, protected by Hindus who believe they are an incarnation of the monkey God Hanuman.
Tibetan prayer flags were common throughout Nepal.

The whole group on the last day of the trip (minus Chuckles, who was sick). I had to include one photo of the Himalayas! This was Mt Kanchenjunga. We also could see Mount Everest when we got to the highest spots on our trip. Clouds covered the Himalayas much of the time though. Clouds would roll in, and back out with amazing speed! And along with that came heat, cold, snow, sun, rain... all within a few hours or even minutes sometimes!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

one night in bangkok

I arrived in Bangkok about 7pm, and went through all the customs stuff. The doc crew just happened to be on the same flight so we're hanging together in the hotel and vicinity. We went out and had some Pad Thai and Red Curry and pineapple smoothies from some street vendors. I'm staying in the Khao San Rd area, and we walked around a little bit. We first headed out at 10pm (its almost 1am now) and everything is alive just like NYC - the street vendors are open 24 hours - and tons of people walking around, sitting around listening to music, eating good food. Pretty cool. Tomorrow my flight leaves at 740pm so I'm going to check out a few sites, like the Grand Palace and just walk around the Khao San Rd area. Then I'll catch a cab to the airport and hope I can get an aisle seat!! I want to get a Thai massage tomorrow! Sawadee! Ciao!

hello again from KTM

I'm back in Kathmandu after several days trekking around eastern Nepal. We saw 3 red pandas - they are sooo adorable and cool. So many images flood my mind from the days past, moments and laughter and good food (dhal baat=rice and lentils) and snotty nosed dirty kids (cute though) and lovely people all welcoming us with "Namaste" greetings. I got 3 memory cards worth of photos and it will take me a while to go through and put some up but I will when I return. I fly to Bangkok in a few hours, and stay one night, and then to LA, then home. The documentary film crew along on the trip were all very cool and they are also flying to Bangkok on the same flight as me - Tim, Chuckles, Mei-Ling and Jon. Another guy came also, Mickey, but he's not heading to Bangkok now.

I've been reflecting on what the trip meant, what eye-opening things it held for me and I'm not sure. It was hard trekking, lots of uphill, camping in the cold, extreme weather changes from hot to freezing and hailing and rain - within a span of minutes!! Everyone got sick in one way or another -from violent throwing up to nausea to sore throats and colds and fevers... I didn't have any particular revelations - maybe those will yet come. I've seen third world countries before - and in fact the area we went was one of the least poor regions due to a prevalance of cash crops like ginger and cardamom. Many houses near Ilam (a town) were all very beautiful with blue, white, and red ochre paint and a lot of flowers, especially marigolds which they use in their festivals and religious ceremonies. The religion/culture is a mix of Hundu, Buddhism and animism.

I always love the children, and took a lot of photos of them. This morning back in Kathmandu I visited an orphanage run by the same guy who was organizing the eco-tour (Not Brian, who runs the Red Panda Project, but the guide company he hired to run the camping/food/trekking - but Achyut Guragain of Sea & Sky Tours) and these children were all orphans from the Maoists war againt the villagers. Their parents were killed by Maoists, or their parents were Maoists and killed in fighting. It's very sad. One girl there, who was my daughter's age, is just beautiful and spoke perfect English and I felt a connection with her. I saw in her eyes the longings of youth, hope for a future better than the one she had and determination to succeed and live fully. Her next years will be so formative and important.. A few of the kids have mothers back in their home districts still alive but are too poor to take care of the children, or abusive, etc. I may sponsor one of the children there. Only $1000/month (US) pays for the entire group of 25 kids food and schooling! So something like $30/month would sponsor a single child. I'll post a link to their website when I get home. Well I need to go catch a ride to the airport. I'll post again when I can!

Friday, November 02, 2007

hello from Kathmandu!

I'm in an internet cafe in Kathmandu. We're staying at the Northside Hotel in the part of town known as Thamel, which is a tourist part of town, but it's very different than anywhere in the US! The streets are insanely narrow, and on them at all hours of the day and night are cars and motorcycles beeping their horns constantly and spewing out polluting stinky stuff and also tons of people walking both travelers and Nepalis. There are no sidewaalks but the storefronts come right down to the street, and they sell clothes and Nepal-made crafts, and incense and lots of Buddhist and Hindu statues and things like that.

Today in the morning Brian, Mickey and I (Brian heads the Red Panda Project and Mickey is his friend who is coming on the trek) walked to the Monkey temple which had these really steep steps up to the top, and lot sof monkeys (macaques) and Tibetan prayer flags streaming from the top of the temple. It's a Buddhist temple but there was a Hindu prayer service going on. It's really a hybrid area culturally and religiously. They use marigolds to offer up their prayers and people who have been blessed by the priest have red ink on their foreheads. Then we walked down so the guys could get a shave. They Indian barber shops not only shave with a razer blade they massage the head and the back for a really cheap price! Then we walked to the place where the film crew is staying (we met them last night and they're all really cool) and Mei-Ling said that Tim was violently ill last night!! So they were taking it easy, and we're supposed to meet them for dinner at an Indian restaurant tonight so hopefully he has recovered. We had a great breakfast there and then we took a cab back to the hotel, and after a bit Mickey and I got a cab to another area of Kathmandu which was totally cool called Patan. The architecture there was just amazing (google it!) I bought some things for Christmas gifts and just poked around. We got this awesome lemongrass/green tea at the Patan Museum. Well I need to get back to the hotel because we need to go to dinner!

We head tomorrow by plane to Badrapur (sp?) and then will trek in eastern Nepal for 2 weeks before flying back to Kathmandu. sorry about the typos! Hugs!!