Hyatt Regency (Kathmandu, Nepal)
I managed to log a couple hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. (The episode with the mouse (or small rat) earlier still had me a bit wound up.) I had 45 minutes to get ready before my driver arrived to take me to the airport for my 6:30 a.m. flight to the Himalayan Mountains.
At 5:30 we started our drive to the airport, which is about 15 minutes away from the hotel. The driver spoke somewhat good English and we made arrangements to meet up after my flight, though I wasn’t 100% sure if he understood, or if I understood our plan to meet up later, but I had faith that it would all work out for him to drive me back to the hotel.
The terminal used for domestic flights looked like it was the original terminal for the airport. It has certainly seen better days. The international terminal where I arrived on Wednesday is very clean and modern. I have since learned that getting around within Nepal either involves a car or bus driving for many hours along winding roads, which is the least expensive option, or to take a plane that will take less than an hour to make the same journey but will cost much more.
There was no guarantee that we will see the mountains today. I was told a test flight is made earlier to see if the weather is good for passenger flights and if the mountains can be viewed from an aircraft. We were told to board so that was a good sign and we took off 15 minutes later. Our assent took the most time since we had to get to 30,000 feet to be at the same level as the mountains.
Eventually we started our tour of the mountains, which are in somewhat of a line so the plane’s path would run parallel to them. I was not on the side of the plane with the view of the mountains. I assumed that the plane would turn around and on the way back I would be able to take pictures. The guy across in the seat facing the mountains took a few pictures for me. (Our plane was somewhat small and had one seat on each side of the aisle.)
The mountains were mostly snow covered and the morning sun helped highlight the peaks. To think that many of the mountains were twice as tall as Mt. Hood was astonishing. We had a picture representation handout that we could use to tell which mountains we were looking at but after a while they started all looking the same. The flight attendant helped us match what we saw out the window to our handout.
Just as we started to approach the point where we could see Mt. Everest we were told that clouds still clung to that section of the mountain range and that we were heading back to the airport. I was able to take a few pictures before the plane started moving away from the mountains.
On the way back to the airport I figured that I would be refunded my money and I’d book another flight for tomorrow morning. I’ll consider this morning’s flight to a test flight and will see the whole mountain range tomorrow.
As I was leaving the airport one of the other passengers came up to me and said that she confirmed that we would get a full refund. When I got back to the hotel I arranged with the travel desk to issue my refund and book another flight for tomorrow. Guess I’ll get up early again.
I hadn’t planned any other tours today and spent most of the day in bed. I’m coming down with a cold and the extra sleep will hopefully minimize the cold’s effects.
I’m starting to plan my itinerary from when I leave Abu Dhabi until I arrive in London in December. Prean isn’t sure of his plans for Christmas and let me know that Viktor will probably not get his passport sorted out in time to join us. I’m not too concerned because there are so many Christmas events during December I’ll be busy and make-do as it all unfolds.
I also learned today that Kathmandu experiences power outages from time to time. There was one while I was having afternoon tea in the lounge and again when I was there for my evening snack and beer. Then another outage later while watching Star Trek. I was wondering why there was a flashlight next to the bed. Now I know.
Think I got too much sleep today and had trouble both getting to sleep and staying asleep. I’m sure that 4:45 will arrive too early tomorrow morning. But I know that I’ll press on like I usually do.