Fasten yourself seatbelt it’s going to be a bumpy ride or There is literally nothing that duct tape can’t solve.

Dawa picks me up at 5 am sharp and we make it to the airport by 5:15 for our 6:15 flight to you know where! There is no traffic to speak of. It is really foggy outside and they announce that our flight is delayed. Then delayed again. And again. This is quite normal since Lukla airport is a bitch and the last thing they want is a crash. Tourism makes up a huge slice of Nepal’s GDP. At least 8% to be exact. Their service sector and agriculture make up most of the rest.

By 8:30, with the airport packed with people scrambling to find a flight to somewhere in Nepal, our turn finally comes and we are rushed on a bus that would take us to our plane. There are 16 passengers. A full load. All local with one exception, me! The bus weaves through the tarmac and finally stops next to our tiny plane. It may as well be a crop duster! The inside is 5 feet high. Great for Dawa and most of the passengers but not for this guy. The seats look like the back section of a 1955 Montgomery Alabama bus. The overuse of duct tape is alarming. Duct tape on the seats, on the walls, around the cockpit door. There is a constant drip from the ceiling that apparently the duct tape has failed to stop. The flight attendant hands the person under it a paper towel! One more cursory look and you realize that they have yet to discover the magic powers of soap and water. Or just anything wet frankly. They can make good use of that drip for instance. This plane hasn’t seen a wet rag since the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015. Nothing about this plane gave me confidence. With one exception, the attendant, who stays cool as a cucumber for the entire 40 minutes of this flight, even keeping a straight face while giving safety instructions in case of a crash (yeh right!). She would repeat everything to me in English with a smile. No one paid attention. Everyone knew that this plane would fall apart at the slightest trouble and we’d all die. Why bother learning stuff you’ll never use. There were several moments during the flight where we came alarmingly close to kissing the Himalayas. Her plan will have to wait another day.

The dreaded landing into Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla (named in honor of Sherpa Tenzing and Sir Edmund Hillary the two submitted Everest in 1953) turned out to be a piece of cake. The plane came to a complete stop with a few feet to spare. Most of my adrenaline was used up in the air while flirting with the mountain side. The landing strip is hilarious though. It sits in the middle of a neighborhood on the edge of a cliff with kids playing tag inches from the plane.

I unfold myself out of the plane, stretch my body and take in the fresh air and what’s left of the sun rays before the clouds steal them. At 6500 feet this is the highest point I’ve been on earth! No nose bleeds, no headaches, no dizziness. I am told to be patient, that may come later! For now I will enjoy breakfast in Lukla at a tea house overlooking some gorgeous snow covered peak and will hit the trail moments after.

Hope you come along.

MIABMORE

Busboys and Poets – Baltimore

You may have noticed the new mural being installed on the windows of the new Busboys and Poets location Charles Village – 3224 St Paul Street Baltimore, MD This mural is titled: The Busboy and the Poet by Mia Duvall The name Busboys and Poets refers to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a … Continued

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Everest Base Camp #20

FINAL POSTING FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TRAVEL LOG. Thank you for staying with me and for your beautiful comments. Hope to see at least some of you soon. Why I am here. It is 7:15 am. Our flight out of Lukla is at 8. I savor a yak cheese omelette and my last Himalayan coffee. … Continued

AndyShallal PeaceandStruggle

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Community Resources for COVID-19

Here are some resources that you may be able to take advantage of: Find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you Back To School After Lockdown – Tips From An NHS Psychologist One Fair Wage – Emergency Funding for Tipped Employees/Service WorkersRWCF- Restaurant Workers COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund USBG- COVID-19 Relief Grants for Bartenders Restaurant Opportunities Centers- United … Continued

On Censorship by Salman Rushdie

On Censorship by Salman Rushdie

No writer ever really wants to talk about censorship. Writers want to talk about creation, and censorship is anti-creation, negative energy, uncreation, the bringing into being of non-being, or, to use Tom Stoppard’s description of death, “the absence of presence.” Censorship is the thing that stops you doing what you want to do, and what writers want to talk about is what they do, not what stops them doing it.

Best Gluten-Free Menu!

Best Gluten-Free Menu!

Sending BIG LOVE to all of our beautiful guests, friends and family who voted for us in Washington City Paper’s Best of DC 2015 poll

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Dine After Dark

We’re proud to be joining Dine After Dark along with other great local businesses to make dining-out more convenient for our Muslim community celebrating Ramadan. 3.5 million Americans and 1.6 billion people worldwide celebrate Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, as a time of reflection and charity. We’re inviting customers to “Dine After … Continued