Day 3 of trip, (and what should be) day 2 of trek
So here I find myself again doing the whole bus to the airport, escapade through security - no I've no matches or lighters and yes i did pack my bag myself. Back to the dingy departure hall where countless trekkers are again lining the seats waiting patiently for the flight to Lukla. There's quite an interesting mix of organised groups, independent travellers and Everest Expedition teams. Love it! We meet Rooster and Pasang again and have the familiar talk of think positive, we will fly today!! We are on flight Q today with Yeti airlines but... we're on the 3rd phase. Now to explain. Day one we were on the 2nd phase of flights. In each phase there are 4 flights (Yeti), the first flight goes at approx 6.20am if on time and then every half hour after that. This means that we should expect to fly at around 8.30-9am. Since we were on the 2nd phase flight yesterday and we did not land then we are pushed back to the 3rd phase today (or whatever flights are available) as people are already booked onto the 2nd phase flights. Anyway we all became experts in the art of timings and the flying of flight phases to Lukla.
Today we wait for a while and then are hopeful when we get called to the gate..... but nope, Lukla is closed is the message that comes through again. We grab a seat again before anyone else and sit there trying to be positive about flying out of Kathmandu today. Alas after much twitching and nervous looks by Saran, he tells us it's very unlikely that we'll fly - it's raining heavily in Lukla, but we have to wait until the flights are officially cancelled by Yeti and this will be at about 1pm - another 1 and a half hours away. Oh well, here we go again!
I wonder if we'll ever get out of this god damn departure hall?? What will Lukla be like when we eventually get there? How come Chris Bonnington and his gang flew today?? Cos hey were on first phase flights of course!! I get the drift now... to be sure of flying you really must be on the first phase of flights, you have the best chance of taking off and even better one of landing in Lukla.
We take the now familiar drive back to the hotel and Saran asks us if we want to visit the monkey temple. We all agree except Andy who has come down with some nasty bug. When divvying up the new rooms at the hotel we agree to let Peter and Andy take one of the suites as it has bigger beds.
About an hour later we set off for the monkey temple walking into the Thamel area of Kathmandu again and then getting into these two tiny Suzuki taxis!!! This was an adventure in itself. I'd sussed from our walks around the city and from driving in the bus that the road laws aren't exactly adhered too if there are any at all. Kate, Ruth and I got into the back of its little car with Daljit in the front. We bounced our way along the road which at times resembled a dirt track. Got stopped about half way with a truck that appeared to have been abandoned and cars and bikes were coming from all directions. I couldn't move for laughing. I mused to the girls that the law of the road appears to be whoever gets in front first has the right of way! Oh how we laughed...
As we were driving along you could tell we were going up higher and the views of the city were becoming fantastic. It was quite hazy - probably smog but the scene was lovely. The soundtrack to our city tours and drives was a constant beep beeping of car horns and the huck-tooing of people trying to clear their throats from the pollution. In fact I should have bought one of those medical masks a few people were wearing - maybe my cough wouldn't have got as bad. We eventually arrive at the monkey temple which is at the top of a very steep flight of steps. This is a test I thought to myself. Ok I'm up for it! We head up the steps which are covered in the prayer flags that have become a familiar sight now too. Scattered down each side of the flight of steps were some people selling their wares and then we come upon two little kids sliding down the concrete on a flattened plastic bottle - it's the simple things eh! We head up the steps stopping every now and again to take in the sights and capture the moments on camera. Then we reach the top. Wow - what a view!
It was quite peaceful at the top even though there were a lot of people milling around. We hung around for a while soaking up the atmosphere and taking lots of pictures then it's time to head back down those steps. Strangely they look steeper from the top. Time also too for another taxi ride back into town. This one doesn't seem too bad. During a walk around the city we decide to buy some maps of the trek and head into a map shop. The guy seems pleased that he's sold 3 maps in the space of 5 minutes. We head back to the hotel and decide to eat in tonight. Can't face another walk around Kathmandu in the dark.
After a half hour we gather at the table for our dinner. The hotel doesn't appear to be that busy but there are a few tables of groups in tonight. A team of teenagers who are heading to Annapurna and a group of older people and I ask the group is that us in 30 years time? We have a laugh. Andy has now recovered from his tummy bug and joins us for dinner, although i notice he only eats some soup. Hope he's feeling better tomorrow. There is some debate about how or when we are paying the bill for this dinner. The calls to just split it 8 ways falls on deaf ears and after much toing and froing it's decided to be put on each of our rooms. We call it a night not long after our dinner but the seats seem so comfy i can hardly bring myself to get up. I do and me and Emma make our way to the room.
It's so hot tonight. I write in my journal about the past few days experiences and head to sleep. The corridors are noisy with the teenagers all around us but I soon fall asleep...