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Nepal..A most amazing journey of discovery This is the 2008 remarkable travel diary in pictures of Fahim Mohammed. You'll find characters and markets and mountain tops; scenes that shock and images of heaven on earth.

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  #1  
Old December 25th, 2010, 11:42 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangri La..

The original links to the Nepal posts have been lost.

I shall try to populate sections of it, appropriately, as time permits. And if I can remember/find the photos.

In the meantime, here is a story in pictures of Ayesha's and my journey towards the highest peak.

Luckily, something I had posted in another forum way back was backed up on my hd. You might have seen some of these photos before. Our Apologies for that.

We have been to Nepal many times. At different times, seasons and to different parts. And experienced
different mountain ranges. Different people. Different religions. Different languages.

In all our journeys to Nepal, one thing has stood out for us both. No, not the grandeur of their landscapes or the majestic peaks of their mountain ranges.

The People. The people of Nepal are one of the noblest, friendliest, kind and courageous folk that we
have had the honor to meet. They might have less in terms of material possessions. Their hearts are made of gold. Their friendliness is timeless and their courage far greater than their highest mountain peaks.

Our Salute and sincerest thanks go to them for inviting us into their land and into their homes.

So here in words and pictures ( and in parts ) is the story:

The Road to Shangri La.
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  #2  
Old December 25th, 2010, 12:29 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Looking forward!
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Old December 25th, 2010, 03:41 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road to Shangri-La #1

The Road to Shangri-La #1

You are easily better than 6200 mts, said Fahim.

Fahim was referring to a climb of ours in Nepal. Mt. Denali, in North America , is 6200 mts. high, from sea-level.

Never without you Fahim, I said. Remembering what had transpired on those desolate mountain tops.

We were looking at some tv interviews and newspaper cuttings of my climb in the Himalyas.


Hi, my name is Ayesha. I am a Saudi woman. And proud to be one. A grandmother of four, and a novice photographer. And this is my story.


I have been married to Fahim for more than 37 years. We have had our successes and our failures. We have always had them together.

Now, I wanted to climb as high as I could of the 8848 meters from base to summit...
towards Sagarmata in the Himalyas. Known to outsiders as the Everest.

Fahim and I had discussed it. He said he would support me all the way; as long as my endeavors remained within the parameters of our religion and our Saudi traditions and customs.

I trained and prepared for it, in the French/Swiss/Italian Alps for months. In the Nordic and Canadian North. I walked in the heat of our desert, and lived and trekked in the cold of the Arctic.


Why? Because it is never too late.
Why? Because it is there.
Why? Because I am alive.
Why? Because a gauntlet had been thrown.
Why? Because I, a grandmother, picked up that gauntlet.
Why? Because I wanted to meet my fears..face to face.
Why? Because through these mountains lay the way to Shangri-La.

I was ready, the flight to Kathmundu was booked. It was time start on my way to meet the Guardians..The Guardians of Sagarmata, the Guardians of Shangri-La.


Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 26th, 2010 at 02:53 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 04:42 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangri-La..#2.1

The Road To Shangri-La..#2.1


You must have read James Hilton. Good!

What has that got to do with ' The Road to Shangri-La '?

A lot actually. His Shangri-La existed in his imagination. I went searching for it. Have I searched everywherw? No. I shall visit Tibet and China soon to continue
my search. I believe it shall be an ongoing journey!

This, however, is the story of one such journey of mine. This is the way I started my search for Shangri-La, this is the way I experienced the trials to find Shangri-La, this is the way I came in touch with the Guardians of one Shangri-La.

This is a true story. Not a work of fiction.

So, my friends, welcome on the road to Shangri-La.


What, no lofty snow capped mountain peaks? No lakes? No pristine glaciers?

I have spent much more time down here, on the ground in Nepal, than up in their mountains.
Fahim has always insisted, that to chase a legend, one has to understand that which created it in the first instance. Shangri-La, if it exists , is in the mind. Find out the beliefs of those that hold Shangri-La dear. You shall have found out the spirit that motivates.


One hires Sherpas on climbs to the mountain tops. For money, you have hired the gallant Sherpas to help you with the climb. That they surely will do.

We believe different. Understand their beliefs, their customs, live with their families, share bread with them; respect genuinely those things that move their soul and what you have are friends to accompany you on your climb.

On those dangerous mountain terrains, I would trust my life with my friends. Months we have spent on the ground, Fahim and I living amongst these kind folk. In their houses, not in hotels. We went with them to their places of worship, with the deepest respect for their beliefs, not necessarily to agree with them.

Understand what moves their deepest held emotions..


Yes, the road to Shangri-La begins here. if I wanted to ever find Shangri-La, it had to start here....It is here that one begins to understand the courage, honor, the sacrifice, the hardships and the deep seated convictions that are required to go in search of Shangri-La.

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Old December 26th, 2010, 12:02 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Amazing visits and a treasure of a spouse! You are indeed on top of the world. What a dizzying experience! If you make mistakes, Ayesha has to forgive you!

Asher
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  #6  
Old December 26th, 2010, 12:22 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayesha Mohammed
Hi, my name is Ayesha. I am a Saudi woman. And proud to be one. A grandmother of four, and a novice photographer. And this is my story.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayesha Mohammed
I have been married to Fahim for more than 37 years. We have had our successes and our failures. We have always had them together.

Now, I wanted to climb as high as I could of the 8848 meters from base to summit...
towards Sagarmata in the Himalyas. Known to outsiders as the Everest.

Fahim and I had discussed it. He said he would support me all the way; as long as my endeavors remained within the parameters of our religion and our Saudi traditions and customs.

I trained and prepared for it, in the French/Swiss/Italian Alps for months. In the Nordic and Canadian North. I walked in the heat of our desert, and lived and trekked in the cold of the Arctic.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayesha Mohammed
Why? Because it is never too late.
Why? Because it is there.
Why? Because I am alive.
Why? Because a gauntlet had been thrown.
Why? Because I, a grandmother, picked up that gauntlet.
Why? Because I wanted to meet my fears..face to face.
Why? Because through these mountains lay the way to Shangri-La.

I was ready, the flight to Kathmundu was booked. It was time start on my way to meet the Guardians..The Guardians of Sagarmata, the Guardians of Shangri-La.


This is a most wonderful story, Ayesha. You've set a high example for everyone to follow. A love of family and an unstoppable zeal to appreciate the wonders bestowed on us. Few people knowing the desert as you do also face the winds, colds and risks of such high places!

Being able to take dreadful risks is one of the greatest features of humanity. We should train for that too and then do that in the name of peace.

Asher
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  #7  
Old December 26th, 2010, 03:29 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangri-La #2.1

The Road To Shangri-La #2.1

I had trained hard for this journey. But that was in other parts of the world. I had to
prepare myself here, in Nepal.

Fahim and I set up our training camp.


The body had been trained. I had to train my mind.

Be part of that which governs the life of those to whom Shangri-La belongs, Fahim had said. Share their daily world with them.


Fail to understand and appreciate this, and you shall fail even before you begin your search for Shangri-La. It can never be otherwise. It will never be otherwise.

All you would accomplish is a climb. Nothing more. Much easier and safer to do it back home then. No?

The family of this house very generously accepted us in their homes. We lived with the family, ate with them, worked with them ( Fahim chose to sit with the old man all day..each and single day talking and taking photographs! )


The porch ( ? ) you see in the photograph was our bedroom.

Living with them, I began to learn a little. The human mind is a marvelous thing. Respecting their customs implicitly was paramount. One had to be accepted as genuine, as one of them, so to speak. Different though I was in many ways, but I must genuinely be and appear to be similar where and when it mattered. Pretenders would never last long.

Is it difficult to understand and respect another culture?. Is it difficult to be accepted, even though one is a foreigner? Of course it is. Very very difficult.

But then again, I was never under the impression that the Road to Shangri-La was going to be easy.

The Journey had to start here. The Journey did start here. The Journey shall always start here.

But where are the mountains? Oh, them? They are just behind the house. The path
you see leads directly to Lukla.

Lukla? What or where is Lukla? Follow that small trail for many days, and climb 2800 meters high. You cannot miss Lukla.

Which direction? Any direction. It would not be Shangri-La otherwise, would it? But the mountains..

If you must, here is the back of the house. Careful, it is a long way down from here!

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Old December 26th, 2010, 09:31 PM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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Immortality... A dream?

May be it is, but it could equally be nothing but a nightmare.

Shangri-La, a place we all visited, a place we all know so well. Indescribable beauty, breathtaking, a place where even the most troubled mind will rest, find peace, reconnect.

Connect? Connect with what?

The truth, the real matters of life!

We are all connected.

Connections are broken, everywhere. People rushing from A to B, not really knowing why, but they were told to do so, so they do. Bodies with lost souls, hearts pumping blood, lifeless, no compassion, no self esteem, no empathy, no simple love.

War.

Expressions of disconnectedness, entry hall to insanity. Finite decisions, echo in eternity. Old men with hatred faces call on young men to obey. Young men follow, children unborn, women unloved, parents heartbroken.

Shangri-La, when did we loose the way? This clearly marked path, every child can see it in the dark, but we lost it.

A blind man can see. Did you know this?

Your eyes are in good health, but you are blind.

Your heart beats, pumps blood, but you are blind.

The silence has a voice, you just have to listen, it may not be a language you ever heard before, but you will understand.

Without water we are nothing. When the glaciers are gone, the sound of silence will be deafening, leaving millions starving to death. When the glaciers are gone, a frozen leaf will fall and touch the ground, and somewhere a million stars explode.

Shangri-La, the true eyes of the blind man. Tears run down his cheek, the glaciers are gone....

- Thank you Aeysha, thank you Fahim -
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Old December 26th, 2010, 09:51 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georg R. Baumann View Post
Immortality... A dream?

May be it is, but it could equally be nothing but a nightmare.

Shangri-La, a place we all visited, a place we all know so well. Indescribable beauty, breathtaking, a place where even the most troubled mind will rest, find peace, reconnect.

Connect? Connect with what?

The truth, the real matters of life! ...............


War.






Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
This is a most wonderful story, Ayesha. You've set a high example for everyone to follow. A love of family and an unstoppable zeal to appreciate the wonders bestowed on us. Few people knowing the desert as you do also face the winds, colds and risks of such high places!
Then, Georg, I added the following, (well aware of the implications you might imagine), that we must contend with.

"Being able to take dreadful risks is one of the greatest features of humanity. We should train for that too and then do that in the name of peace." I am inspired by Ayesha's climb and Fahim's support. That shows the we, as ordinary human beings, have, for certain, all the stuff it takes to overcome the negatives you rightly dwell on. We just need to do the training and apply the support for the the new generations to address real issues. Without training, what values can be applied wherein what is out manifest heritage is also sustainable?

It's not just going to happen. We need role models. Our mindset must be filled with the logical and emotively motivating books, movies and songs; our will, with the necessary goals. The reality is that with or without great tragedy, we'll change or be extinct. Shangri-La is as fragile as we all are!


Asher
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Old December 26th, 2010, 10:33 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Fahim and Ayesha,

Pardon the brief diversion, but your work is inspirational. We're so glad Georg was moved to comment on our fragile muddled presence on this planet. Now back to the photographs.



A casual onlooker might pass on this sight of mundane activity in a run down uninteresting back of a house. A modest "garden" yard with just some bushes for privacy, bleeding, it seems, into the surrounding rolling countryside. But there's no landscape beauty near us, right here in the picture, just that rusty corrugated iron, (rain-barrel, perhaps), makeshift repairs to a table and untidy, but practical stores of cut wood for fires. But what do we have here in the photograph that's so worthy of lingering more? There's much for those who linger quietly and just observe.

In this most unlikely setting are two barefoot ladies. They're both graceful in their clothing of wrapped red-patterned fabric; busy, minds occupied in mundane chores or perhaps essential ritual ablutions.

In their pose, form and and stature they show nobility and rich beauty. Not an ordinary picture!

How would it print? That would be a huge job but worthy of the effort. I think one would have to prepare the image very carefully. A simple print would fail to show the importance we see in the women.

Asher
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  #11  
Old December 27th, 2010, 02:26 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangri-La #3

The Road To Shangri-La #3

Fahim has agreed to contribute his thoughts....















Let me know the people...I shall let you know. About Shangri-La.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 08:25 AM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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What I wrote above, they were my spontaneous associations when I looked at your photographs, I took the liberty to express it as spontaneous as they came to my mind. It is a place I long to see since many years, like so many more.

What you achieved, no one can comprehend, except those who were with you, and even they will not know about your deepest battles, the only and true djihad in ones life that really counts. You strike me as someone with the soul of a noble ancient warrior.

May be I can describe my reaction better, with less potential for misunderstandings, without words....

This was the music I heard in me when I saw your photographs and read you words. I started recording straight away, otherwise the tunes disappear so quickly, like the vapor from hard breathing in ice cold air. Again, thanks for sharing. I am most impressed!

With respect and Fahim's permission, I dedicate it to you, SHANGRI LA: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4914840/shangrila.mp3

Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
Best wishes
Georg
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Old December 27th, 2010, 09:01 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Georg!!!

Long long time...no hear. Need to know what you been upto.

I hear you my friend. Ayesha is out right now. She shall hear the .mp3 you so kindly attached.

She has asked me to post my thoughts once more!! See the next post them.

Take care.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 09:05 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangril-La #3.1

The Road To Shangril-La #3.1

Fahim once again...











Let me know the people...I shall let you know. About Shangri-La
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Old December 27th, 2010, 09:34 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangri-La #3.2

The Road To Shangri-La #3.2

Fahim, once again...




Let me know the people...I shall let you know. About Shangri-La
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Old December 28th, 2010, 07:21 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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The Road To Shangri-La #4

I am almost ready to start on one of my climbs. I am privileged to have you with Fahim and me.

But first a longer than usual pre-amble and a very very humble but important tribute.

It must be paid. It deserves to be paid.

I feel very strongly about this post. And very humble as I write.

There are multiple ways to search for Shangri-La. I can only envy those that have had the courage and luck to stand on the summit of Everest; to look for it. Did they find it?

I do not know. However, I know this; I can never ascend to the summit. Those who thought that bravery and courage were the only determinants to scale the mountain peaks, are either lost or dead. Period. There is no second chance. At least not where I went.

' Don't Delay ' was a thread Fahim posted as a tongue-in-cheek way of illustrating the way most ' visitors ' to Nepal trek through the mountains.

I hope you realize that that was not our way.

Our climbs ( yes we have taken different routes at different times ) were non-commercial. Meticulously planned by the best in the business.

I was guided by the best there is. Our principal guide and his beautiful young wife are family friends of ours.. Very precious and dear to Fahim and me.

They want to remain nameless. I will respect that.

I shall call him Tan in my posts. Tan's grandfather was a Gurkha. His father has helped in many assaults on the summit of Everest. Tan and his young wife were with him on some of them.

Have a look at your palm, any one palm. Do it now. Turn it over back to its normal position. You have carried this palm since your birth.

Now tell me how many lines are there on your palm? How many cross overs amongst those lines.? You get the drift.

Tan and his wife could tell the position of boulders around you in the pitch of darkness.
Anytime of the year. In any weather. On any of the routes they have traversed in the Himalayas. And there are a very very few routes that they have not travelled.

Travelers and Tourists will not have the good fortune to meet Tan and his wife. They never ever will do it for money. For friends, they shall go the distance. I know, by experience.

Who do you think reached the summit of Everest first? Another successful attempt, who reached the summit first? All attempts, who reaches the summit first?

The first person to reach the summit is invariably your lead Sherpa.
The brave, noble and unsung heros; making it possible for those whose pictures you see on your television screens.

The final ascent to the Everest Summit commences in the dead of night! For various
reasons...not the least being the time it takes to make the final assault and the weather encroaching on the summit as the sun rises. Depends also on the attack face of Everest.

Stakes are hammered in the ice and rock. A step is taken, another step and another ladder. The perilous preparations are done.

The Sherpa stands aside, holding the slung ladder against the dreaded and fatal wind shear. The 'climber ' steps up to the summit and the photographs.

Fahim and I salute them.


Walk with respect on this ground. Walk softly. Walk silently. Walk through this land with humility. You are walking through the resting place of the Guardians. Guardians to the gates of Shangri-La.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 03:59 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default The Road To Shangri-La #5

The Road To Shangri-La #5


My journey here was part of a long journey; in search of a legend or was it different legends. Different and Same.

Zeus on Olympus, the Guardians on Everest.

Valhalla for the Vikings and Shangri-La for the Sherpas.

The journey had started much earlier and much farther away. As most journeys do.

The terrain was different, the weather was different, the life forms had adapted themselves to their environs and were necessarily different; but underneath all the pretense it was unbelievably the same.

See a child smile. See a child cry. See the joy or sadness in those eyes. You see the joys and sadness of mankind; of grown-ups. Of those that were, are and shall be.

Different but similar.

Always.

Whether one offered prayers by erecting stones in the Arctic Lapland,


or let the prayer flags speak to the wind.


Indeed we had come a long way. Had experienced much.

A fleeting moment of indecision, of doubt.

I looked towards the South East. The Guardians looked back. Through the rampart walls.


Looked North..toward the seven highest summits on the planet..


I recited my prayers.

Let's go, I said. I had picked up the gauntlet.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 02:37 AM
Anna Lee Anna Lee is offline
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I'm so late to come here and missed something. Thanks for your pictures and story, wonderful!
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 01:48 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Anna it is very gracious of you to
Stop by and comment

My apologies for the late acknowledgement.

Regards.
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 03:08 PM
charlotte thompson charlotte thompson is offline
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Fahim

What a beautiful beautiful journal you and Ayesha have written. Not only for the eyes but the mind as well- Wow!
As a young girl I always dreamed of Shangri-la Nepal and Lap Landers -
I see you helped me find it-
the photos are awesome just awesome-
Thank you!

Charlotte-
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 05:39 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Good afternoon Charlotte

Fahim reading this with me
U 2 r an awesome lady
We r honored 2 knw u

Ayesha/fahim
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 12:48 PM
Michael Ritter Michael Ritter is offline
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Such lovely pics - well done!
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