From visions of basking aboard his own yacht in the Baltimore Inner Harbor to the hot seat of the world, US Ambassador to Libya. Ambassador Bodde, recently, has gone from the “frying pan” directly to the “fire”. Last year, President Obama selected Bodde to become the new US Ambassador to Libya, one of the most dangerous posts anywhere and where, in 2012, the last US Ambassador, Christopher Stevens in the Libyan city of Benghazi, was slaughtered in a hail of bullets. The New York Times is presently featuring a series entitled. “How Hillary Clinton’s hopes for Libya dissolved into civil war, letting ISIS rush in”.
We are somewhat surprised that Bodde accepted this challenge since he shared with us while at dinner in Kathmandu less than two years ago that Nepal was to be his last post and he was looking forward to purchasing a boat and having it docked in Inner Harbor Baltimore where he could go each day and sit around on deck with other retirees and share great stories. Then again, Peter loves to be where the action is and no more talented a diplomat representing the US than Ambassador Bodde and his wife, a former State Department Foreign Service Officer.
Ambassador Bodde postulated at dinner that the key to achieving the future of a prosperous Nepal lay in its mountain glaciers. Nepal needed to have built a series of hydropower dams to harness the great mountain run-offs each spring, coming down the many Nepalese rivers from the snow melts of Mt Everest and surrounding peaks. The power could be the primary source of electricity for much of India and some of China and bring tremendous wealth to all Nepali. If the hydropower-generating dams are to be built, Nepal will need billions in investment from outside sources.
So much for politics. We went to Nepal in 2014 for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons was to visit an old tennis-playing friend, Dr. Ram Thapaliya, who, with the help of his good friend Peter Bodde and US AID funds, had just inaugurated a new graduate school of international relations in Kathmandu. Our friend also owned the Sunkoshi Adventure Retreat, about two hours from Kathmandu, where he operated a full resort lodge to those wanting to enjoy Nepal’s temples, rivers and mountains. See: https://www.facebook.com/SunkoshiAdventureRetreat/?pnref=lhc At the lodge, we trekked to a beautiful nearby Buddhist Temple, went rafting down the glacier-fed Sunkoshi River, enjoyed the on-site sauna and the great hospitality of the Nepalese resort staff.
One of the other reasons to visit Nepal was to release some of the ashes of my departed wife, Cathy, into a river which eventually flowed into the Ganges and to visit and to meditate in some of the Buddhist temples of Nepal. My host had arranged an overnight visit to the Kopan Monastery overlooking Kathmandu where approximately 200 women monks prayed, accompanied by beautiful chimes, flutes and drums, for the departed soul of Cathy over a three-day period. See: http://kopanmonastery.com/
Another one of the key moments of the trip which I especially cherish is when we stopped at the family home of the daughter of my host, Pinky. Her grandfather presented me with a gift enclosed in gift wrapping. I opened it in my hotel room that night and found it was local currency. I asked Pinky about it later and she related that I was an honored guest and as such was given the gift of money. The home was filled with much love and the outdoors had animals roaming the area. Simple lives but in close touch with Nature and Love.
Our recommendation: Forgo visiting Libya but definitely, if you seek adventure in a dynamic, third-world nation that is seeking to move into the 21st Century (both the bad and the good), contact Pinky or her husband Subash at Sunkoshi Adventure Retreat http://www.theretreatnepal.com/ and greet them with a “Namaste” from Bob.
Written by Robert Utne, Chairman of EWA Travel