Last Thursday Aly brought me to the airport where the lady at the check-in didn’t bother about the excess luggage weight. I had a very pleasant flight with KLM to Dubai, where we arrived – despite the more than one hour delay in departure – only about 20 min late. Moreover, the purser gave me a bottle of wine ‘since I appreciated it so much during the flight’.
With a short taxi ride I arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in Dubai where I spent the night and after breakfast I went back to the airport for another pleasant flight with FlyDubai to arrive well on time in Kathmandu. The problems started there,since my luggage didn;t arrive. After an endless procedure of filling out forms etc. I went to the exit where Pasang was waiting for me. A taxi brought me to the good old Shanker hotel where I’ve stayed so many times. I share my room with John Gill, from Canada, who organised this expedition with Namgya. Arien en Lisanne are also in the Shanker and Friday evening we go the the Purple Haze Rock Bar in Thamel where some (very loud, but apparently famous) band was playing live.
Saturday morning John and I get up quite early have breakfast and drink coffee with Namgya. Namgya later went picking up Fane and Catalin, the 2 Rumanians that join the expedition, at the airport and finds there one of my bags (that apparently arrived with the early morning flight from Dubai) and brings it to the hotel. The other bag comes with the second flight from Dubai and is delivered to the hotel at five. Quite a relieve that everything turned up timely, Most of the day I spent at the pool as the weather and water are very nice,
In the evening we went, together with the Indians who also arrived in the course of the day, for dinner in Thamel. We had a good time and I learned to know the Indians and some of the trekkers much better. Suresh, one of the Indians – with a very impressive climbing record – is only 23 years old and is the baby of the team of which I am the granddad. After the dinner we have a group meeting to give everyone an update of the (already changed) plans. One of the issues is that halfway the day, the Nepalese government have declared tomorrow a public holiday and that our permits have not been issued.
Sunday morning, after breakfast, Namgya, John and myself meet with Billi Bierling who now maintains the Himalayan Database. Billi and I have met several times before and talked a lot in German to catch up. We settle all the database business and then I go to do the final shopping. When I get back, I go to the pool once more and then we have another updat as the plans have changed again. Most of us will fly tomorrow to Suketar (Taplejung) where we will stay overnight. Namgya and Mingma will stay in Kathmandu and sort out the permits, They will fly tuesday to Badrapur with the luggage. Then both teams will drive to Kewang and possibly even Yamphudin.
Our last night in Kathmandu for the time being, Arien, Lisanne, Adam, Steward, John and I go to the Nepalayan Restaurant in Thamle for a nice dinner and drinks afterwards in the hotel bar. Our luggage is sorted and tomorrow we go !