Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Carly and I (and Molly when she's in town) are staying with the Mulepati family at the Himalaya’s Guest House in the Basantapur neighborhood of Kathmandu. They are a pretty cool family. Mom and Dad (Mohan) are very sweet and their children are awesome. They are from the Kathmandu Valley Newari ethnic group. Moni and Monish currently live in the house with us. There is another sister who is currently in Australia. Monish is our official host, tour guide and all-around support system. Moni is now married to Pem Dorjee Sherpa and they have the cutest one-year old daughter. Pem and Moni are both climbers and met while members of a group who were training to crest Mt. Everest. They achieved their goal in 2005. Not only that, they were married at the summit. Also of interest was the stir each created by marrying outside their ethnic group – a pretty big deal in Nepal. Moni and Pem have turned their passion for climbing into a mission to bring development to Pem’s home village. They bring groups from the U.S. to Nepal to trek and then ask them to help the village. This September a group of dentists is coming to the Himalayas for a trekking expedition followed by the hosting of a dental camp in Pem’s village.
Wedding on top of Mount Everest
A Nepalese couple have exchanged wedding vows on top of Mount Everest, the first people ever to marry there. They briefly took off their oxygen masks and put on plastic garlands, while the groom symbolicallyapplied red powder on the bride's forehead. Moni Mule Pati and Pem Dorjee Sherpa were part of the Rotary Centennial Everest Expedition earlier this week. They had kept the plan secret as there was no guarantee they would reach the top of the world's highest peak.
The couple stayed on the peak for a mere 10 minutes which gave enough time for the ceremony and for friends to take photos. Other climbers were "very surprised, they are really shocked" Ms Mulepati told the BBC's Newshour programme.
They plan to hold a more formal ceremony soon.
Mr Dorjee said other couples had wanted to do the same in the past, but none had managed because they could not get up on top of the peak together. Fearing the same possibility, they had kept their own plan secret. The surprised families have welcomed the marriage, which is also unusual because it cuts across Nepal's deep-rooted caste and ethnic divisions. "If some people are loving each other they have to get married," Pem Dorjee told the BBC. "That's why we want to give all Nepali people [the message] that people are people so there's no problem about caste."
One Nepalese paper joked that this was a marriage which, if not made in heaven, was solemnised closest to it.