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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Roof of the World Part 2

So we left off with my abbreviated trip to Kathmandu, Nepal. If you recall, I was skunked out of Abu Dhabi and also denied on my first Everest flight in Kathmandu, that meant I would have no sleep and would have to do the Everest flight  at 0630AM on my day of departure. I sat around KTM for 2 hours before they told me the flight was cancelled the first day. I was happy my guide waited and he took me to a good restaurant and bar that afternoon, but I was disappointed I didn't get to fly that morning..

 Enjoying a Nepalese Afternoon

Mmmmm, Everest Beer

Prayer House

Spooky Blue Eyes

Spinning Prayer Wheel in Shrine

No Shortage of Squabs

We did drive around town and saw some awesome Kathmandu sights but I had to have a nap after the long unproductive time at the airport.

The next day, I was up bright and early for my Everest flight. This time it did go.

Departure from Kathmandu Valley

So, we ascended through the soup an soon I saw this:

The Himalayas

The way the tour works is that the flight goes towards Everest and circles while each passenger goes up front in the cockpit to snap a photo.

Everest Peak 

Mt. Everest from the Cockpit

The reason he flights left so early is that the weather gets bad during the summer in the afternoon. I would suggest a fall or winter trip although I am totally happy with my photos as they turned out. A Bucket List item completed!

The flight done , I was dropped off at the hotel to get ready to go. My guide picked me up later and we had lunch downtown. I have to admit we had a tense time at the ATM when he wanted his fee but on later review it seemed fair...I had some "extras". Its not what you think! As a westerner, I was stared at a lot.

Getting the Stink Eye

I stayed at the Everest Hotel and I can honestly say I have never had better service. It is a 5 star hotel and the looked after me like I was a king....all for $70/night. They are highly recommended!

Kathmandu is an interesting city. There didn't seem to be any order to it but it seemed to get along OK. The traffic is atrocious but I didn't see any accidents. Kathmandu is also a quite attractive city, much like some I have seen in Mexico. The architecture was interesting, but the smells were quite pungent mostly due to the motorbikes and cars.

Streetside Roasted Corn was Popular

After my guide dropped me off at the airport, the fun began. To get from outside to my airplane, I had to go through no less than three x-ray screenings and a manual bag search. Most of the shops were closed and us passengers were staged at no fewer than 3 areas, the last being the aircraft itself . It was very uncomfortable. I have never seen security like that. Boarding the aircraft was from stairs. I am no wimp, but it seemed extreme, what about the Nepalese winters? I am not going to stand there in the snow for 20 minutes.

A Tedious Time at Kathmandu Airport, I Spent Way Too Much Time Here

For my Italian Friend....FL

All in all it was a good trip even though it was throttled by overbooked flights and I was cheated out of a day. I got back here to Abu Dhabi on time and that is what counts. Kathmandu  is an interesting city, it seems to be a cross between Asia and India. I want to go back again to sample more of its charms, I did not feel like I had enough time to do that this time.Get a guide, it will save you time and money.  And everyone has to see Mt. Everest in their lifetime, at least I have done that and ticked the box!!


Neil Roberts said...

Shame about the lost time, but a cool trip - I'm jealous!

Ace said...

Yeah, I had 5 days off and the whole thing ended net 2 days in KTM. I recommend it as it is close, exotic and inexpensive+Everest, how can you go wrong?????

Neil Roberts said...

How much did they charge for they Everest trip?

Ace said...

The KTM airport was quite tedious on exit though. I have never seen so much security and they took my BIC lighters too.

I can't figure that out. Like a T-attack was coming from Nepal...fat chance!!!!

Ace said...

$160 USD, it was on a Beech 1900D and each passenger got a few minutes up in the flightdeck to take photos. The whole thing lasted 1.5 hrs. Well worth it to me!

Neil Roberts said...

Agreed - well worth it for a once in a lifetime. It would definitely be on my list if we went.