The International Incident at Pokhara Airport

Our last morning in Pokhara dawned crystal clear. We were both on the roof of the Dandelion Hotel by 7:30, taking panorama shots of the Himalayas turning from rose pink to their stunning white. After all the time I have spent gazing upon their forms/contours/colors/shadows/ and summits, I think they have taken up (more-or-less) permanent residence in a corner of my crowded mind. I can close my eyes and see them clearly, including some of the lesser ridges and peaks. “Mountains on my mind” sounds oppressive but is anything but that.

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At the Pokhara airport, we are provided some jaw-dropping entertainment by a 40-ish Chinese man going through security. The young officer monitoring the x-ray machine calls over another security person to view the screen, and both of them then turn and look at each other. After some discussion among the four guards, the Chinese man is pulled aside, his group’s guide is called over, and a discussion ensues about the 4 Gurkha knives he has put into his carryon bag. These are substantial weapons, each with a blade of at least 5 inches. Since this is such a blatantly stupid act, the tourist off the hook because he is assumed to be ignorant (perhaps this goes with the territory of being a contemporary Chinese citizen, whose government systematically and consistently misinforms them about their own history, as well as misrepresents the history and politics of other nations). He not arrested, charged, fined or otherwise penalized. The knives are taken out and put in the check-in baggage, no problem.  I’m happy to get on a different flight than the one this guy is on.  Max and I sit by a window and enjoy the view all the way to KTM.

 

(note:  black face masks are quite common in the urban areas, so we are following local fashion as well as protecting our respiratory systems from the dust and other junk that can lay a person low)

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