I’ve been so anxious to add this word to my vocabulary.  I’ve known the word only because it’s something people say doing yoga… which I don’t.  But I knew I’d hear it in Nepal.

The first two days of this adventure in Kathmandu certainly gave me one beautiful chance after another to receive this greeting and to return it.

With hands together and a slight bow, we were greeted at our hotel – by the man at the desk, by the man helping us with our bags, by the security guard.  Then the people  – the myriad of people we passed on the streets.  By the chefs at breakfast, by our guides, by those selling their wares on the steps to the temple.

I listened intently to see if the accent was placed on the second syllable or the last.  It seemed both ways, or sometimes equally sharing the load.  I wanted to pronounce it like the Nepalese.

But I was never truly greeted with this blessing until we flew to Lukla to begin the trek.  After the most incredibly chaotic time leaving the airport… group after group of trekkers loading small plane after small plane… and after the most incredibly gorgeous half hour flight on this globe… verdant valleys of terraced layers with the snow covered Himalayas framing my view… we landed on the runway that cannot truly be described the way I like to describe things.  Let’s just leave it at “amazing”.

So – we have landed, we don our backpacks, and we take a short walk to a tea house for hot lemon and ginger tea before we begin our journey… this group of people we now call our “team”, but honestly our new friends.  We are eight Americans with our three guides from Active Adventures and our two guides from Nepal.

And when we have taken only a few steps along this beautiful street of Lukla, a massive mountain looming in the distance… this tiny child – a baby boy who could be no older than two, holding a trekker’s nalgene drinking bottle in his itsy bitsy hands… he grips that bottle between his palms, bows gently to each of us as we pass by, and ever so sweetly exclaims, “Maste”.

The tears filled my eyes, and I knew I had truly been welcomed to Nepal.


6 Responses to “Namaste”

  1. Glenda Powell says:

    Loving the vicarious adventure. . .

  2. Marcea Clive says:

    Love this story.

  3. lawaanda calton says:

    Vivid words and the photos fabulous!

  4. Kim says:

    What a fabulous adventure!

  5. Betty Williamson says:

    What an excellent beginning.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Oh, Sandy. How can such simple words bring such big tears to my eyes? What a sweetheart. This little one just makes my arms dying to scoop him up and give him a hug. I have a feeling that you could easily put this “book” of your trip on one of those photo book sites and many people would buy it.:) Thank you, thank you for allowing us to experience it first.

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