Friday, October 15, 2010

The Top of the World

My friend Bev seems to be constantly on the move these days - well even more so than she was in the past which is saying a great deal. When I heard from her yesterday she was in Bhutan having come there from Nepal. Her flight out of Kathmandu took her through the Himalayan range and past the highest point of earth: Mount Everest.

Coincidently I was reading a chapter in Jan Morris's A Writer's World - Morris was on the expedition and the one who broke the story of the conquest of Everest in 1953 by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepali sherpa Tenzing Norkay - when Bev sent out these pictures. Morris ends the chapter with an amusing aside about a formal celebratory dinner in London.
When we returned to London from Nepal we were invited to a celebratory dinner at Lancaster House, the government's official place of entertainment. I found myself sitting next to the major-domo for the occasion, a delightful elderly courtier of old-school charm, while opposite me sat Tenzing Norkay, away from Asia for the first time in his life. The old gentleman turned to me half-way through the meal and told me that the claret we were drinking was the very last of a particularly good vintage from the cellars of Lancaster House, and possibly the last anywhere in the world. He hoped I was enjoying it. I was most impressed, and look across the table to Tenzing, who most certainly was. He had probably never tasted wine before, and he was radiant with the pride and pleasure of the occasion - a supremely stylish and exotic figure. The lackeys respectfully filled and re-filled his glass, and presently my neighbour turned to me once more. 'Oh, Mr Morris,' he said in his silvery Edwardian cadence, 'how very good it is to see that Mr Tenzing knows a decent claret when he has one.'
Jan Morris - A Writer's World
Faber and Faber Limited - 2003

15 ottobre - Santa Teresa d'Ávila
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Anonymous said...

Talk about coincidences! A friend of mine left for Bhutan on Wednesday. -- Wonder if they're going to the same place?

Did you know that a Bhutan visa costs $200 per day?


Elizabeth said...

VERY funny story!!!