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Extraordinary! Descend through farms and small holdings to the hotel. Glyn, the Welsh wizard has succumbed to the tummy lurgi. On site we set about finishing the plastering and fix the roof sheeting – Nepali have never seen Habitat issue self-tapping screws – so have to demonstrate. Long discussion with leader Stefan, about WW II and how he used to be a vicar.


Glyn arrives in time for the dedication ceremony and makes a speech. We deck the house bunting and I have to do the dedication and cut the ribbon. “I dedicate this house to your future – may it bring you joy and happiness” Would have said more but voice cracks up. All very emotional.


Maria and Jess in tears. Family seem absurdly grateful – Hera insists on touching our hands to his face. Onita has a permanent smile. Then troop off to the closing ceremony at the marquee site – a bit like giant jamboree. US team sings and plays guitar, NZ do the Hakka – God knows, what the Nepali’s thought! Home partners all women parade and display boards that spell out ”THANK YOU FOR MAKING LIFE MEANINGFUL” although not sure what they made of “MEANINGFUL”! Then it’s emotional good-byes. Little Asok cries when his special friend and football partner, Darius leaves.


Back on the bus to the final luxury of a hot shower and the last of red dirt and, of course, the last of those beastly boots. Sumptuous last supper of fish and braised beef. Then pack for 7.30am start in the morning.


Day 7: After usual early breakfast, spend an hour and a half waiting for them to get the buses sorted. Used to it by now! Oh well, just Nepal. Eventually reach the Hotel Guangjong in Kathmandu – nothing like our mountain resort in Dhulikel. Kathmandu is a bit of dump or perhaps a permanent building site. It’s very like centre of any teeming Indian city – lots of tourists and trekker people.


Most shops are out to exploit tourists but good humouredly. Poverty is ever present, beggars and street vendors constantly hovering, - ok for few hours but no more. So we set off on hair raising taxi ride with Clive in the front for the shopping district, Tamil, a maze of every sort of shop selling every sort of goods from trekking kit to stone statues of Hindu deities. Glyn is fierce bargainer starting at a third of the asking price then walking away – he took over my shopping in the end with me always caving at the first round.


Lunch at the Big Belly Restaurant which suited us three variously portly gents. Ghurkha beer this time and I had the excellent Nepali lunch – sort of non-veg thali finishing with yoghurt, honey and banana – delicious! Walked all the way back to hotel in about 25 mins along chaotic streets guided by Clive. It seems that the mains streets are being widened so they have simply demolished all the facades and left the rubble with no attempt to clear it away or even any suggestion of rebuilding – quite an obstacle course. Walk to the Garden of Dreams Restaurant along the same route in the gathering darkness with no street lights, sometimes in the road illuminated only by the headlights coming towards us. Slap up farewell meal in slap up place set in a serene garden far from the hubbub outside. Another hair raising walk home in dark. Day 8: The day of our journey home dawns at last – long flight but mercifully lots of spare seats on plane so comfortable. Back in Blighty at 10pm and finally crawl into bed at gone midnight. Can’t sleep for mulling over the trip. Abiding memories?


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