Two good friends worked for Pan American World Airways when the Clippers ruled the skies and first class travel reigned. Mary Lee Reshkin and Vallie Szymanski would plan their trips a year in advance and when they discovered that they would rendezvous in Kathmandu for one single night they were inspired! The Reshkins’ trip concentrated on the exotic wonders of Nepal. The Szymanskis’ trip included 3 days in Hong Kong and 3 days in Bangkok before joining Mary Lee and Jerry for dinner at the Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu.
Vallie and Joe met an extraordinary man on their flight from Bangkok to Kathmandu. Charlie Rickert was a 75 year old retired principal from Pennsylvania, “bumming” his way around the world. While we stayed at the Peninsula in Hong Kong, Charlie stayed next door at the very popular and “cheap” YMCA. While we stayed at the Annapurna Hotel in Kathmandu, he stayed at a Japanese guest house right next to our hotel for a fraction of the cost. (We wanted to splurge as only airline employees can do in the most economical of ways!!! Long live airline discounts!!) Our most memorable excursion was a trip to the Tibetan Border with our friend Charlie on a “luxury” bus that broke down twice. We will never forget a rest stop where the men were directed to a tree in the middle of town and the women utilized a slightly more primitive convenience.
Then, the much anticipated dinner date at the Yak & Yeti! That hotel was famous for providing a base camp for teams beginning their ascent of Mt. Everest. What a memorable evening we had...the beef stroganoff was so much better than the mutton curry we had the day before, even if the only wine they could offer was a $33 bottle of a California Sauterne. It was the time spent with our friends that we loved!
For many years afterwards, Mary Lee and Jerry would join us for our legendary Chinese Hot Pot dinner on New Years Eve. Every year, we would reminisce about that very special dinner date at the Yak & Yeti.