I am really not sure when I will be able to post these entries but I will keep an eye out for WiFi wherever it may lurk and take full advantage.
Last night (Sunday 2nd April) about 5.30pm local time, we finally arrived at our hotel in Kathmandu, after leaving Peterborough at 1pm on Saturday. Crikey it was a long way, but not only have we travelled to another continent, it feels like we have travelled to a different time! Kathmandu is chaotic, full of cars and choking pollution, every second building is a time capsule with exquisite carvings and fantastic temples. The damage caused by the earthquake in 2015 is very visible but work is taking place to rebuild. Our hotel looked like a bombsite from the road, but once you pulled through the entrance it was stunning. The room were lovely and we enjoyed what might our last decent bathroom for a while. Last night we visited the beautiful Stuppa temple and mixed with locals, monks and wild dogs amongst the clouds of dust and incense. It is exactly as I expected it to be, and I loved it.
The roads are busy and the pavements are a mix of potholes and rubble so one must pick their steps carefully. At least no one appears to be trying to run you down, you just have to commit as you step out into the road and 'apparently ' the cars will stop. Not sure I am that brave yet!
This morning was an early start with a 4.30am alarm call as we are taking a scenic flight around Everest. Well it has to be done! Our flight was delayed which meant a couple of hours watching the world go by at Kathmandu airport. That is an adventure in itself. This was then followed by an interminable time sitting on a stationary plane on the runway as we waited for a takeoff slot. Some of us has been told by the guide to leave our rucksacks with the porters outside to save carrying them as we would be leaving that way to get our tickets to fly onwards afterwards. That was a fine idea until we realised our water and books were in there. Plus we were now going to miss our connecting flight to Pokara which would add further complications to an already stressful morning. Would they even manage to fit 22 extra people on a later flight? What would that do to the planned hike for today? Would a leisurely start have to make way for a forched march to catch up with the rest of the crew? I was still very nervous about my fitness levels for the trek so this wasnt helping. Needless to say, I was not feeling particularly happy with Buddha Air.
However, as is the way of things, we were eventually airborn. And it was certainly worth it. The views were stunning! Below is a picture I took of Everest out of a rather smeared plane window. They also let us up to the cockpit for a better view! Later we discovered the reason for our flight delay; a leopard on the runway! (He was eventually captured and relocated. ) At least it beats leaves on the line!