Bowery Mural

Agni, Agni, Agni...oi oi oi!! (part 1)

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Tuesday 6th April 2009

Day 4 of trip, day 3 of trekking...

I woke early this morning with a certain trepidation and expectation. Was this the day that we would finally fly to Lukla and start trekking? We'll see. After packing our bag for the possibility of a ride in a helicopter we headed down to breakfast. All I could manage was a piece of toast and a wee cup of tea - to settle the nerves. We sat there and I think everyone was a bit anxious about what would happen today. Saran turned up for breakfast and sat at a table a few metres away chatting with Kamal and making the odd phone call. By now I think we were all beginning to read his body language, i certainly was. Today i think he was extremely nervous, a little bit worried and like us, just wanting to be on that trek. We finished up breakfast, packed our last things away for the store room and headed to the lobby. Kamal and his 3 clients were in the lobby too and suddenly we were told to move quickly, the bus was here waiting. I thought uh oh! what's this all about? It could mean that we were late for the airport or there was a good weather window approaching and we did not want to be late for that!!

We drove the all too familiar bus journey to the airport, got ushered in as quick as we could and waited in the check in/weighing area for a while. There was no sign of any movement. I think word might have come through that Lukla was closed again. I clocked a group we had seen the previous day, they too were waiting patiently, a couple of the women playing cards. Then i noticed them talking to a young couple and relaying stories of delayed flights and 3 day waits. The young guys face fell. Welcome to our world i thought. Today we were flying Agni air (Agni meaning fire! - yikes). Strangely Banu seemed to be working for them today! having previously been seen wearing Yeti airlines attire. Yep, you're thinking the same thing as I thought - Del Boy!!! Soon we were weighing the bags and walking through that security curtain to the departure hall. Banu came through and told us to go and get free hot coffee from the wee shop. I think only a few people took up that option. I had a wee seat. Saran seemed in a lighter mood, was this a good sign, did he have some insider information - hope so.

After about half an hour Banu came over and told us that Rooster had flown the day before (possibly on a first phase flight!) but his bags were still in Kathmandu. He'd received a text from him to say the weather in Lukla was sunny and not windy at all. That made me feel a whole lot more positive. We started to relax a little but still didn't want to get too over excited at the prospect of flying, let alone actually landing at Lukla. After about half an hour we were called to the gate - woo hoo, here we go, her we go, here we go......

We get through the gates and onto a bus that seemed to take forever to go anywhere but we were soon on our way to the little Agni Dornier 22 plane. The bus was packed, more than one flights worth of people i was sure. Ok guys lets push and barge our way off this bus and onto that plane when we stop. The very short little bus ride took forever and there were a group of Americans on it who quite frankly loved the sound of their own voices. We learned that 'Baaaahb' gave good massages and another member wanted one tonight! How amusing....

When the bus stopped they called Agni XXX and we got off (the Americans did not, ha). We patiently queued to get on the plane and Banu who was still with us, went over to the very cool looking pilot, uttered a few words and shook his hands. This, in my eyes, confirmed to me what I already thought - Del Boy, fly guy, cowboy however you want to call it. I wasn't caring though, we were on that flight and would hopefully land today!!!!!!!!!!!

As the flight took off we were still a bit anxious as we'd been here before and never landed. But this time felt different. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and the flight seemed really smooth so surely no high winds. Andy started one of the music games - the letter this time was W. Wings, Wham, Wet wet wet, Stevie Wonder, L'il Wayne!, and then we sort of gave up as we grew closer to the mountains. A few more pictures were taken and this time it was clear. Then we started to descend. And this tiny little airstrip came in to view. Of course by now everyone had their cameras and mobile phones set to record the moment when we finally landed. And so we did. This was, to my relief, a surprisingly less scary event than I'd imagined. Woo hoo - everyone cheered!!!!! We were at last on the mountains... in the Himalayas, can you believe it??? ...... to be continued.....


  1. Really enjoy reading your adventure in the Himalaya, great writing. Now I need to continue with work, though I will pick up from where I left!

  2. Thank you Hendrik!
    I've just read a few posts again over lunch time and realised how great it was! I'm glad i've got this blog to reflect and record these adventures. Hope you enjoy the rest :o)


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