When #Nepal was a Kingdom: Part 1, July 28, 1983

Part 1: Travel and arrival. July 28, 1983

Imagine marrying someone from a different country from your own, and for 12 years they are not allowed to return! The reasons are extremely complex and nothing to do with family and everything to do with politics. My wife, Dr C, was the first ever woman from Nepal to get a PhD in 1971, the year we were married. Yet despite her being granted British citizenship we were told that the Nepal government “wanted her back”!

Now skip forward to 1983, we have two children, 7 & 5 years, have saved enough money for the air fares but have no extra money at all, so …….. Sod it, we’re going and to hell with the Nepal government!

These are extracts from a daily handwritten journal I kept. No photos from that time …… we didn’t even have a camera of our own!

Enlight7 After almost 24 hours of travel, my first time flying and first time out of the UK we arrive at TIA Kathmandu. Leaving the plane we were thanked by hostesses and captain, our passports and visas were examined and stamped within a few minutes, and our cases were personally brought to us! (Is this normal?)


The meeting between Champa and her parents was extremely emotional as you’d expect after 15 years apart. Her youngest brother Dr Madan had a taxi for us which he guided through the streets of Kathmandu on his motorbike. All a bit Hair raising since the driver only gave way to cows standing or sleeping in the middle of the road. Everyone else was scattered with a beeping of his horn.

I had been warned about the state of the city and the poverty, though many streets were no worse than parts of old Glasgow where we had met at university and married. But at last Swayambhu came into view, fantastic, I had dreamed about and looked forward to seeing this for years, but a full visit would come later.


We were now in Chauuni and turned off the main road by a military barracks down a narrow lane. Lots of family waiting for us by the gate of Champa’s oldest sister, Nanta’s house. Champa’s mother performed a puja …… an urn of water on each side of the gate, water used to wash her hands and mix with a red dye which was placed on our foreheads, the traditional tikka. Now we could pass through the gate and were welcomed by and introduced to the closest family members, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and one or two nephews and nieces.

So far this has been quite overwhelming and there is no doubt we are fantastically welcome, Champa is the returning hero as the most educated woman in Nepal, but they are all worried about me and my expectations in such a different environment. We have been fed with so much food in the past few hours and Madan has just returned with a fridge to keep in our bedroom! Unusual to say the least as most folks in Kathmandu don’t even have electricity!

As the day ends we reflect also on a quick walk up Swayambhu hill, not a single temple on its own, but a dome like stupa surrounded by Hindu shrines, Buddhas, and a monastery too. But everywhere there are wild dogs, vicious monkeys and people living in the most appalling conditions that would not be tolerated in Britain. And the smell! Also it’s monsoon season and the mosquitos here take lumps out of you so beware!

Time for bed ……. Physically and mentally drained.

Do look out and follow us for Part 2, Champa and The Merchant!

California Globetrotter

23 thoughts on “When #Nepal was a Kingdom: Part 1, July 28, 1983

  1. Pingback: What I have learned from wine and philosophy | Wine Tales From Mindful Travels

  2. I was in Nepal a month ago for a media trip. Seeing an old ticket of Nepal Airlines (i was supposed to fly with Nepal Airlines but later the sponsor changed the flight with another airlines) and the old photo of Swayambhunath is surreal. I really enjoyed my 10-day stay in Nepal and would love to go back again to experience this wonderful nation, probably next year. Thanks for sharing your personal journal with us – feels nostalgic, isn’t it – looking forward to read part 2 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kat, it’s obviously been a second home to me but a first home to my wife. I wrote this series after stumbling across my old foolscap size hand written journal full of postcards and tickets. The full series is already on my blog, as is another series I wrote entitled The Alternative Kathmandu #1-5


  3. This is wonderful B! This inspires me to make a habit of writing a diary! ‘Your suitcases were brought to you personally ?? ‘ May be because you were one of the few foreigner son-in-laws of Nepal back then…. 😄… (We have the culture of respecting our in laws…)This is not normal of course in these days now.!!!! Infact lots of luggages disappear from the airport, lots of complains of broken locks of suitcases, you have to wait for quite a long for your luggages. Perhaps people really are morally degraded these days!!
    Yet a lot of advancements you must have experienced in your last visits.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Zunaii for your lovely comment. Yes times have changed now for the worse, TIA is a horrible place arriving or departing. I still keep a personal diary even now but using the app called Day One. We really appreciate your comments and hope you will read and comment on the series. 🙏🕉👫

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes Sidran and I am posting several more about those days over the next week. Maybe you would like to repost this one on your own blog, it helps us all to get more followers?


  4. Strange and most fantastic trip of a life time that was the last I saw my mother. My mum was a wise progressive woman who educated all our brothers and sisters except my oldest sister Nanta don’t know why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a humbling and lifetime trip for all of us. The effect on our children was immense, not something you get from a standard type of holiday to Nepal. The tales continue my dear!

      Liked by 1 person

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