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Friday, April 11, 2014

Lukla to Namche Bazaar

Greetings from Namche Bazaar.  It is 3:10pm and we just trekked into this town for the past 5 hours.  The views were spectacular.  Here is what happened the past two days....

We left Kathmandu on Thursday morning - headed to the airport to get on our flight to Lukla.  That morning was just a blur.  We met in the Hotel Shakti lobby at 5am and packed into buses and then we were off.  Once we got to the airport, we quickly scrambled through throngs of people with all sorts of luggage - including live animals.  The process of checking in was quite interesting.  None of us had any identification because we left our passports with the folks in Kathmandu.  No need for this on the hill and apparently no need for them when you fly domestically in Nepal.  The airlines checked our packs and duffles in some crazy whirlwind event.  There were scales, yelling, and negotiating - none of which I completely comprehended.  After a few minutes, Dan directed us to go to the gate.  I complied and found myself in a chaotic mess within the terminal.   Glad I got to that point. 

Once inside, I noted that the flight was scheduled for departure 5 minutes before we got there.  Oh well.  This is Nepal.  I walked up to the gate and was immediately whisked onto the plane with 8 others.  Yep, I got on.  Thankfully I was on and I was ready to get out of Kathmandu.  The flight was uneventful.  We took off right away and saw some amazing sites.  There are a few 7,000 meter peaks within spitting distance of Kathmandu.  Landing was uneventful too.  The runway was a trip.  It slopes upward and the plane must take an extreme right to avoid plowing into a stone wall.  Life is exciting in Nepal. 

OK, so now we were in Lukla.  Our team split up due to the plane sizes.  We got out first.  One other team got out about 2 hours after us.  Another team was stranded in Kathmandu because they closed the airport due to high winds and low visibility.  We - those of us who made it out - gathered in a nice tea house for breakfast and tea.  I couldn't wait to eat.  That meal ranks up there with the top ones of my life.  Dan decided that we ought to head out to Phakding - a little village roughly 2 hours of trekking downhill.  So, we headed out and made it without incident.  The new tea house we were staying at was really nice.  We enjoyed a great meal and some great chatting.  Afterwards, we were treated to beds and a real night sleep. 

I finally got a full night sleep.  Well, perhaps not full.  I fell asleep at 9pm and woke up at 2:30am, went to the bathroom and then struggled to fall back asleep.  Finally!  I did it.  I fell asleep and slept in until about 6:30am.  How nice to finally sleep longer than 4 hours.  We woke up and had a great breakfast.  During breakfast, Dan told us that our objective was Namche Bazaar.  So off we went right after eating.

Namche Bazaar was a 5 hour trek through some amazing views.  There were about 10 steel foot bridges that spanned wide spans over the Khumbu river (I think).  I took about a 100 pictures but cannot post them yet - perhaps tomorrow when I figure out the internet connectivity.  Obviously I have access now but the speed is quite limited.  At any rate, the views today were incredible.  Spectacular day.  We ambled our way easily up the hill and I made it to the town along with Dan.  I posted my location right away and then headed inside for some warmth. 

OK, enough for now.  I promise pictures soon.