After many hours in the air, followed by several hours at the airport getting a visa, waiting for luggage, and finding a taxi, I made it to my hotel in Kathmandu. Despite feeling gross from sitting in a plane for almost 24 hours, I opted to immediately collapse into bed for a wee nap.
When I awoke, Sanjay was back from wandering the city. Since Rick’s arrival was still a few hours away we opted to venture out for a beverage at a local pub. The beer was cold and exactly what I needed. Afterwards, we wandered around a bit before returning to find Rick had arrived.
It was at this point that the adventure began to truly sink in. After many months of planning, the three of us were in Kathmandu. I may have giggled a little. Of course, given that we were all still very tired we decided to turn in relatively early. We were in Kathmandu and that was enough for day 1 of the Biggest Mountain Challenge.
We awoke on Thursday to a rather beautiful day in Kathmandu. The sky was perfectly clear, and the temperature cool enough for one to see their breath, but also strangely warm enough to be comfortable. We sat on the rooftop patio and had breakfast overlooking the city. It was, to be honest, the perfect way to start our day.
From there we met with our guides and began an excursion around the city. From temple to temple we toured. The city was vibrant and full of people – some buying things, some selling things, some wearing brightly coloured clothing, some with face paint, some without. The fabrics and art and sculptures were stunning. The traffic was chaotic yet somehow organized. The smells of spices and foods wafted through the air, sometimes masked by incense or other smoke. Dogs lounged pretty much anywhere, seemingly too tired or lazy to give a passerby notice. Monkeys ran by in large packs looking for adventure and food. Massive flocks of pigeons were everywhere. Cows lazily stood in the middle of busy streets, unaware, or unconcerned with the traffic passing it by. Everything screamed for attention. It was literally a feast for the senses.
We ate lunch overlooking the largest Stupa in the world, with the snow peaked Himalayas acting as a rather spectacular backdrop. It was a simple but remarkable experience – one that reminded me again how lucky I am to be able to travel.
In the morning we leave for Lukla – the first step in our trek to Everest base camp. We’ve purchased everything we think we’re going to need, and have repacked our bags. I’ve set out my clothes for the morning. Our battery packs and electronics are recharging. We are as ready as we’re ever going to be.
Tomorrow is going to be an awesome day.