March 19, 2012

Sad Goodbyes in Pokhara

Saturday , March 17, was a day of sad farewells in Pokhara.

It was a goodbye, probably my last, to a place on earth where I’ve felt the deepest serenity: cabin number six at Hotel Fewa, overlooking the lake by Mike’s Breakfast. Here’s my peaceful, private balcony, upper right:

Surya and his sons joined me for breakfast on my last day. I met Surya and Ramesh during my first visit eleven years ago to Mike’s, where they were both working as waiters. Surya helped care for Mike during his last years of failing health in Nepal. 



Here Surya stands with Home, another staffer I’ve known since 2001: 

After breakfast, I headed to Ramesh’s house for the tearful goodbyes between the extended family and Laxmi and Rahel, mother and son, who will return with me to Washington on Tuesday, March 20. There, they’ll join Ramesh, husband and father, after a separation of several years. In this picture, Laxmi and Rahel receive a farewell blessing in front of Ramesh’s photo: 

Here’s a shot of the sad group. Ramesh’s mother (red sweater) is seated. Lazmi’s mother (also in a red sweater) is standing: 

Wearing the traditional khada scarf, I’m standing with the two mothers, receiving the farewell blessing. I was served several spoonfuls of yogurt, and – as part of the ceremony – found flower blossoms and 100 rupee notes pressed into my hand:  

Departure time is nigh. Laxmi and Rahel sit at an outdoor table at the Pokhara airport. Rahel is holding the hand of his uncle, Ramesh’s brother Suman:

On to Kathmandu for two days, before the long flight home.
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