By Ram Khatry I 23 March 2020 I An Ausssie mum says her 18-year-old son and his classmate are devastated to leave Nepal following Federal Government’s advice to return home amid the unfolding coronavirus crisis but not without a promise that he would be back before long in order to repay Nepalese people’s kindness and friendliness.
Lisa Broad told southasia.com.au that her son, Noah Perego, is due to arrive back in Sydney at 6:30 am Tuesday morning after having spent some time teaching English at a school in Tipling, a village in Dhading District.
The former Fairfax journalist is now relatively relaxed and counting hours for her eldest son’s arrival but it was a different story altogether until yesterday when two previous air tickets that she had organised to bring him home got cancelled one after the other.
“We bought a ticket on Singapore Airlines but it was cancelled. Bought another one for Tuesday and it was cancelled too. It’s been so hard to get travel advice as you can’t get through to the airlines here,” the Sydney-based mother, who wants to accompany her son when he goes back to Nepal to complete his dream adventures, recounted her desperation.
Ms Broad finally managed to get her son out of Nepal on a Qatar Airlines flight, “only because a friend who works for Amex Travel helped me.”
The Nepal-loving teenager’s mother is preparing to place her son “in a strict self-quarantine” once he lands at Sydney airport tomorrow morning. Mr Perego’s friend who was with him during the Nepal adventure, identified only as “Jack”, is also going to be into strict quarantine.
“Both boys went to St Aloysius College in Sydney and it was their dream to go and teach in Nepal. They’ve loved their time in Tipling. The people have been so kind. He’s been teaching Years 2 to 4,” the proud mother stated.
Asked if she thought her son would want to travel back in the future given the bitter and abrupt end to his Nepal adventure this time, she said he would definitely be revisiting the Himalayan nation and that she herself would be accompanying him.
“He’s determined to do the Everest Base Camp Trek with Chandra who is the guide who led them out of Tipling. The people will need tourists to go back and help them get back on their feet, just like we will here in Australia. I’d love to go with him. I’ve been so touched by the kindness of the local people,” the former Australian Financial Review staff added.
Although their exact number could not be ascertained, Kathmandu is still estimated to have hundreds of Australian tourists who are desperate to get home.
Australia’s ambassador to Nepal, Peter Budd, has taken to the “Australians stranded in Nepal” Facebook group to remind his fellow countrymen and women to quickly get out of Nepal or risk being stranded for an extended period of time: “We are hearing reports that UAE will suspend passenger flight transits for two weeks. Decision will take effect in 48 hours. It is possible that the Etihad flight on 24th out of Kathmandu could be last one for (at least) two weeks. The international environment is fluid. Australian travellers who wish to return to Australia should take the earliest flights they can to mitigate against the potential for further transit closures.”
A number of Australians have expressed their frustration in the Facebook group about their inability to get through to international airlines companies, with some calling on the Australian ambassador to intervene.