I have only been in Kathmandu for half a day, and have only explored about a hundred square yards of the place, but I love it here already! It is so busy and chaotic, and it feels like a million miles away from Perth, which I left only yesterday morning. You can buy anything you need here, all within a short stroll from the entrance to the hotel, and it’s so cheap too! I changed fifty Australian dollars, and have stocked up with food, water, and enough medical supplies to open my own pharmacy, and I’ve still got money left over.
I set off from Australia yesterday morning, after some hurried early-morning bag-packing, when Paula picked me up from Marty and Carol’s house, and very kindly took me to the airport. I had had a couple of days on my own there, as everyone was away over the Easter weekend, and the familiar old trepidation had crept back a little, as I prepared to step out of my Perth comfort zone once again. Maybe not quite as much as on previous occasions, because this is now the third time I have done this, but it was increaced again by the fact that this time I have no idea how things will work out at the end of the journey.
My first flight took me to Singapore, which has to be my favourite airport. The facilities there are brilliant. Free internet, international electric outlets, free movies, a butterfly sanctuary, free games, and I believe a pool and gym too. One of the nicer airport to transit through.
My next stop was at Mumbai, nowhere near as nice or as clean as Singapore, and I found a relatively quiet corner to doss down for the night. I took a photo of the cardboard box I had found as my mattress, and the pillow I had brought, planning ahead for this night. From comfy guest bedroom to cardboard box airport hobo in less than a day! I left the pillow and box for the next overnighter to find.
This morning I flew into Kathmandu, and on the descent into Nepal I got my first view of the towering white peaks of the Himalayas in the distance. I caught a taxi through the manic traffic to the Kathmandu Guest House, where I had been booked in by tour company Himalayan Encounters. I had had a very lucky meeting in Perth with my friend Bek’s tour guide companion Kim, who takes groups from the UK to Australia, stopping in Kathmandu on the way. She put me in touch with Niraj, owner of Himalayan Encounters, who is helping me out with the logistics of the trek to Everest Base camp.
I meet tomorrow with my guide, and fly on Thursday morning to Lukla, and begin my 17-day trek, so have been making some purchases and preparations this afternoon. I am really looking forward to tackling this challenging goal now.