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April 15, 1978 - Image 15

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Michigan Daily, 1978-04-15
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. . ... .

Page 12-Saturday, April 15, 1978-The Michigan Daily Travel Supplement

The Michigan Daily Travel Supplement--Saturday, Apri

A dventurers
trek to
Him alayan
kingdom

And leave the driving to them

of Nepal

A

On April 28, grad students Will
and Joan Weber will lead a group of
ten local adventurers on a journey to
the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal,
land of Mt. Everest. Nepal, Will
Weber says, "boasts some of the
most beautiful scenery in the world."
At right, towering A ma Dablam
soars above the Sherpa village of
Pangboche, a last outpost of settle-
ment on the trek to Mt. Everest.
By Chester Maleski

By Mike Taylor
T SPENT LAST summer leading the
"good life" in Tucson, Arizona:
sipping margueritas and soaking up the
sun at poolside by day, impersonating a
"native" waiter in a Mexican
restaurant by night. But all too quickly
it was August and time to start ap-
praising the various ways to get home
while trying to incorporate a visit to Los'
Angeles, a short stay with mom and dad
in New York, and end up in Ann Arbor
by the end of the month-all at a
minimal cost, of course.
My friend Wendy was heading back,
too, so together we pondered our
choices. Our first option was driving,
but having no car we quickly ruled that
one out. We could have flown, but
having no wings we checked into air
fares and found them beyond our
meager budget. There was good old
Amtrak, but we were told we would
have to get to Los Angeles or New
Orleans first and it would wind up
costing more than flying. Thus we
wound up buying bus tickets.
At the time, you could leave the
driving to Greyhound and go anywhere
in the country for $75, as long as you
travelled in roughly a straight line.
(The same fare now costs just $59, but
Greyhound changed its fares all the
time.) We had to forsake our plans of
seeing L.A., but we were pleased with
ourselves for finding a way to get to
New York at half the cost of flying.
There was a catch, of course.
Travelling cross-country by bus is

anything but luxurious. It was quite a
come-down from the cushy, lazy days I
had spent all summer.
T'S A THREE-DAY, 66-hour ordeal
from Tucson to New York, but
somehow, in a perverse way, it's a
likeable trip.
We left Tucson on a Monday morning
at 10 a.m. Boarding the "coach," as
Greyhound euphemistically calls its
-buses, we claimed two seats together
and braced ourselves for the long trip.
Armed with a bottle of iced tea, books,
crossword puzzles and a camera, we
couldn't help but notice the sagging
eyes and pale faces of the folks who had
been on the bus since California. We
wondered if we, too, would soon be like
that.
The bus was air-conditioned and rode
surprisingly smoothly, so the trip to Las
Cruces, New Mexico seemed much
shorter than the six hours it took. An in-
dependent line runs Greyhound's
passengers through New Mexico, so we
had to transfer to a new bus. At the
station, we were rudely told we had to
check our packs, which contained spare
clothing and all our various amusemen-
ts. We madly tried to cram everything
into a smaller pack, then settled in for
the trip to Amarillo, Texas.
The only good thing about trans-
ferring buses was that it gave us a
chance to sit in different areas on each
bus. They weren't just seats for us; the
vinyl confines had become our home, if
only for a few hours.
AFTER A WHILE, the journey
began to seem like a collection of
smaller trips. Breakfast, lunch and

dinner stops became our milestones,
our way of keeping touch with reality.
Since we were running behind
schedule, our driver, who talked en-
dlessly like a proud son about his com-
pany, decided to forgo the dinner stop.
But before long he gave in to his hunger
pangs and pulled into a truck stop late
in the night. The great thing about truck
stops in the Southwest is that many of
them serve fantastic Mexican food
along with the usual greasy ham-
burger-and-fries fare. The little place
was quite an improyement over the
bland Post House, a chain of fast-food
cafeterias owned by Greyhound, where
we were forced to eat during most of the
trip.
At three in the morning, we awoke to
find ourselves in Amarillo. Once again,
t was time to transfer buses. We had
started out in shorts and t-shirts, but
the bus had become rather cold in the
middle of the night, so we changed into
long pants and heavier shirts. As the
trip went on, we alternately found our-
selves too warm or too cold, so we were
always changing our clothes.
By lunchtime we were in Oklahoma
City. That afternoon we made our first
friends, a woman and her daughter
heading home to Florida after a
vacation out West. Soon our driver
cheerfully announced we would be
dining at the "famous Glass House,"
the first restaurant ever to be built high
above the highway like a bridge. Best of
all, it was a Howard Johnson's. We had
a big dinner of fired clams and ice
cream (what else?), then set out for St,
Louis.
O UR 1 A.M. ARRIVAL was eerie.
The whole city seemed to be
sleeping. It was like entering a twen-
tieth century ghost town.
Our third day of travelling was less
interesting than the first two, perhaps
because we were getting tired, or
possibly because Illinois, Ohio and
Pennsylvania seemed less exotic than
Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

By the time we r
was dinner time
sfer-again. Ourr
there was garbal
restroom looked
cleaned in days.
We spent the ev(
dreary little Pen
now, the end of oi
sight and we wer
At one point, a be
self from a clump
to roll around.
swearing and yell(
it, but we were a
stupor to do anythi
Shortly after mi
Philadelphia, whe
as authorities fin
bus. Then we clirr
would-at last-b(
trip. It was a quie
did a lot of sleepir
driver proudly pro
City."
W E WALKED
only to find t
had not made it w
ably be on the bus
an official assured
tendant who made
way back in New N\
to wait. Fortuna
came in the pack w
of our fellow tra
lucky.
Three days had I
we lost contact wi
A long bus trip resi
disorientation tha
seems like a minor
Wherever you I
you might want tc
bus. Generally, it'
to travel long dis
chhiking, but it's a
though it can at
table, it can also
thing is for certair
a thoroughly unpre

W ILL WEBER'S love affair with
Nepal began when he visited the
Himalayan nation as a Peace Corps
volunteer. He later taught at a village.
school, then took a job as a conser-
vation official for the Nepal National
Parks and Conservation Office.
On April 28, he's going back there -
along with his wife, Joan, and a group
of ten local adventurers.
"This is definitely not a hotel trip,"
said Weber, a graduate student. "We
will be staying in the homes of local
people. We will sleep in yak herders'
huts and one night, in an elephant
camp. Some nights we'll stay over in
monasteries.
"You can't get a village experience
through a travel agent," he insisted.
T HE WEBERS AND their group will
fly commercial airlines from New
York to New Delhi, India, where trey
will transfer planes to exotic Kathman-
du. After a short brether, they will fly to
the city of Lukla in eastern Nepal. At
Lukla, the party will cut its umbilical
cord with Western civilization.
The party will traverse ancient trade
routes through the rural foothills of the
Himalayas to Mt. Everest. They will be
assisted by Sherpa guides and porters,

world renowned for accompanying Sir
Edmund Hillary on his assault of
Everest. The group will trek to the
18,400-foot mark, bypassing the Everest
expedition base camp on their own
minor assault.
The trek itself is a photographer's
dream. "Nepal boosts some of the most
beautiful scenery in the world," Weber
said. "All the spring flowers will be out.
In Nepal, rhododendron trees grow to
heights of 60 feet in all different
colors." The Himalayas themselves?
"Incredible," was the only description
he could manage.
The Webers promise their group a
culturally-oriented experience. "The
monasteries cater to tourists," Will
Weber said. "The insides are decorated
with colorful paintings and ornamental
masks. You can find some really good
buys in native art along the way. Often,
you can trade American items for
jewelry and pieces of turquoise."
I N ADDITION TO bargains, the trek
is sure to offer much excitement.
The group will get a chance to search
out the Yeti, the Abominable Snow
Monster of the Himalayas. "The local
people all believe in Yetis," Weber ex-
plained. "There is no doubt in their

minds that they exist. Nepali parents
worry about leaving their children
alone tending animals for fear that the
Yeti might carry them off."
As for Weber himself, he thinks there
is "a strong possibility that animals
exist in some of these remote valleys
that have never been seen before.
"Hillary himself photographed some
very strange footprints on one of his ex-
peditions in the area," Weber said. "I,

Photo by WILL WEBER
flight home for the exhausted team.
Departing June 5 from a land of rhinos,
tigers and Yeti, the expedition back to
exotic Ann Arbor will pale in com-
parison.
Stine Ball will be one of three studen-
ts on the tour. "This is the kind of thing
I've been saving money waitressing to
do," she said. "I love to travel. I've
been to Europe a lot, but I've never
been any place like this. I want to learn

'This is definitely not a hotel trip. We
will be staying in the homes of local people.
We will sleep in yak herders' huts and, one
night, in an elephant camp. Some nights
we'll stay in mflonasteries.'
-Will Weber

r Budget Fares
" Stand By Fares
Round Trip Detroit-London
296 00*
Scheduled Pan Am-British Air
SEE US FOR DETAILS
2504 PACKARD " GEORGETOWN MALL - PHONE 973-9200
Iow season, slight increase after May 1, subject to Govt. approval

myself, have found these same foot-
prints around the Arun Valley, one of
the unexplored regions we will visit."
The 23-day trek will take the group
back to its original base in Kathmandu.
From there, tour members will have
the option of continuing on with the
Webers to the Pokhara region in
southern Nepal and the Chitwan
National Park.
T HE CHITWAN IS one of the few
pockets of natural jungle left in
Asia. The group will ride elephant-back
on a trip through the park in search of
rhinoceros, tigers, deer, bears, and
wild boar. "The elephants search out
game much as a hunting dog would,"
Weber said. "We will definitely see
rhinos, though the tigers are much har-
der to find."
From the Chitwan it will be a short
trip back to Kathmandu, then along

about the country, the people and the
art."
Peter Ostling, 25, a baker, is sim-
plistic about his motives. "I've got the
time and I've got the money, so why not
go?" he said. "I have an unlimited time
agreement with the group. There's
nothing I have to get back for, so I'll be
staying on. I figure I have enough
money for a year or so.
For the Webers, the trip will offer the
perfect chance to renew old friendships
in Nepal. Between the two, they have
amassed five years living experience
within the local cultures. Both speak
fluent Nepali and have had extensive
experience trekking in the Himalayas.
Even though they haven't departed
for Nepal yet, the Webers already have
visions of their next journey, perhaps to
some other exotic Asian country, next
winter term or next summer. "Based
on this experience," Will Weber said,
.we coulddoisoethingblder",

Photo by MIKE TAYLOR
THE GREYHOUND TERMINAL in Dayton, Ohio is much like hundreds of
similar facilities across the country-rows of benches filled with tired people
waitinig trtheir bus.

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