Friday 3rd April 2009:
We landed in Kathmandu after 2 quite good Gulf Air flights. Me and Kate had amused ourselves by watching a very good Bollywood thriller movie. It was fab!
We disembarked from the flight made our way through passport control only to be called back as we hadn't filled in our disembarkation card! (I think that's what it was called). The wee guy at the desk was too busy chatting us girlies up and only noticed we hadn't filled them in when he quizzed Andy. Next stop was exchanging US dollars for Nepalese Rupee's. I think I changed $450 and got 26,000 rupee's - not sure if this was a good deal or not?!?
WE then collected our bags and headed outside into the dusky Kathmandu air. We spied a guy with a Charity Challenge sign who took us to a bus where we met Banu of Himalaya Expeditions. All seemed very good so far! The bags were flung on the bus and we were presented with a beautiful flower garland - 'this is what I'm talking about' i thought. We each got a seat to ourselves and the bus weaved and bumped it;s way through the busy streets of Kathmandu. It was about 5.30pm by now. The darkness was just about falling and I sat with my mouth wide open all the way to the hotel. I remember thinking this is another world altogether. People were selling stuff on the side of the road, some houses were like shacks, there was what i can only describe as a sub-standard football field with a group of guys at one end melting black stuff in to large metal drums. I soon realised that this was tar - for the roads perhaps? The stuff really did smell. We passed and were soon greeted by a mish mash of other smells, sounds and sights. I was blown away. After about 25 minutes we reached the Hotel Malla. It was like an oasis of calm off a busy street. Very nice I thought. We came in and were greeted by a drink of orange stuff. To this day I'm still not sure what flavour of drink it was - Mango?
(I can't quite remember if we went to our rooms and then came down to the lounge). But...We settled in a lounge area, pulled seats around and met our trek leader Saran. We all proceeded to call him Kamal for the first couple of days as this is what was on our information from Charity Challenge. He explained a bit about the trek and what we would do next and the arrangements for the next day. I was getting excited but this point. He then told us that Sir Chris Bonnington was in the hotel. I was well excited now!! Next thing I know he walks passed from reception. Emma there's Chris I said. 'Chris, Chris' she shouted. He came around and had a brief chat and then we got a few group photo's with him. His advice to us keen trekkers - 'remember to change your time on your camera's or your photo's will all be out of sync!'. Wow... that was great advice!! His son Joe then came along and had a wee chat too and then they were off. They weren't due to fly to Lukla for 2 days. We were due to fly the next morning...
We moved to the dining room and had a very nice buffet dinner. This was a nice way to start off our trek. I was well chuffed and excited and nervous and.... well couldn't wait to get started really.
Off to bed we went, get ready for the adventure ahead!!!...