Back in Kathmandu

Ahh heaven is to be found in a shower rose, sweet smelling body wash and a puff to get rid of all that dead skin!! Human again.
And my curls are back. 50 days of hat hair…. No, worse…beanie hair and now I have girl hair again.

On a more serious note I’ve been in contact with Plan. Their book launch has been postponed until September. Disappointing but they’ve decided on a global launch instead. So now I’m just waiting to hear from them re: a school / community group to visit Friday morning to deliver the Cricket Australia Milo in2 cricket equipment. Can’t wait to see the look on the kids’ faces. I’m excited!!

In the afternoon I’ll meet with the wonderful Plan staff in their Kathmandu office and then Saturday morning catch a long awaited flight home.

But there’s a gap in my story: A few kilometres both horizontal and vertical have been covered since those infamous words “Trotty it’s all over”

Decision made on the weather, it was a quick turn around to pack up camp and get ourselves down to Lukkla ahead of the pending storms.

I have to admit I did not enjoy the walk out of BaseCamp.
There was a bit of quivering of the bottom lip.
Quickly followed by a lot of self talk. “You made it to the Lhotse Face! You’re safe and get to climb another day WITH all my fingers and toes”.
Even difficult writing it now but you can’t beat Mother Nature.
I guess the disappointment is in missing the earlier window due to ill health and for Plan. A non-summitter means far less media potential for them. I had really hoped to get more coverage for them and the wonderful work they do. But I’ve told everyone I’ve met along the track about them.

We had two big days hiking to Pheriche and to Syangboche getting in early evening on both days.
The walk out is stunning, the rhododendrons were in flower along with a multitude of other plants. Lower down the hills were a swathe of green and gold.

Syangboche is an airstrip on the side of the mountain between Khumjung and Namchee Bazaar.
If the plane’s not airborne by the end of the strip…It’s Airborne!!!.

We awoke to fog, we ate breakfast in the fog and lunch and afternoon cuppa… at which point the flights for the day were cancelled.

What to do?
Hike to Lukkla or go shopping in Namche…..Hmmm lets see:
Hike 7 hrs, some in the dark or go shopping and have cake at the coffee shop?

Any guesses?

I got some great gifts and chocolate cake!!

The risk though was not getting out the next day and being stuck in Lukkla behind the storms.

I awoke the next morning at 5am to full fog.
Kenton tells me he awoke to the sound of me pulling back the curtains in the next room and going “We’re hiking! Golly Gosh!” (That’s my version anyway!!)

I rolled over and went back to sleep to awake at 5:50am to perfectly clear skies and what ensued was very much a parody of the opening scene of 3 weddings and a funeral.

Plane arrived spectacularly at 7:45.

I don’t think I have the words nor space to fully describe the preceding half hour.

We got the call the pilot was on his way so it was all hands on deck. Gulp down last mouthful of brekkie and lemon tea, grab bags and race to the top of the runway AND WAIT!

A chopper came in to land. The look on the airport guy’s face when he realised it was lining up to land on the runway….the look “Oh my gosh there’s a plane about to land up it’s bottom!!!”. He sprinted down the runway arms flapping…Over to the right, over to the right. The Pilot got the message and scooted it along the ground over to a bunch of madly flapping fellows that had a safe spot marked out.

Meanwhile eyes right… Dog comes racing across the strip, second dog madly in tow. Airport man still puffing grabs rock and throws. He’ll never get a spot in Ponting’s fielding team. Let’s fly with a second rock.
Whew! Dog’s gone, strip’s clear, turns his back as second dog, now that she’s chased off the intruder, comes tearing back across the strip. He half heartedly tosses another rock.

Strip all clear.

In comes the military Helicopter. Nooo to the right!!
What he doesn’t see is the Yaks now coming down the hill and lazily cross the runway with their loads.

And plane arrives oblivious to the bedlam below.

The freight is unloaded, we’re thinking sitting on floor??
But wait, the folding chairs come out and look at that, we have seats.
The pilot is undergoing annual checks with the Italian Chief Instructor so we feel we’re in safe hands.

The 8 min flight to Lukkla (yes 8 mins vs 7 hours) is spectacular. The view of Namchee Bazaar below on the right hand side is stunning. Cursing I didn’t have my camera at the ready.

Then we’re landing at that incredible Lukkla airport.

More hurry up and wait but before we know it we’re in Kathmandu. The heat and the humidity just envelope you as the plane lands and taxis to the edge of the field. You’re trundled onto an old bus for the short trip to the exit. Everyone stripping off their layers.

After 40+ days in the mountains the noise, chaos and smell of Kathmandu assault the senses. It’s a relief to arrive at the relative tranquility of the Hotel.

And then a SHOWER……….

2 comments to Back in Kathmandu

  • SRNH

    Oh! no! reminds me of Wally and Casey at Adelaide Airport.
    You are one courageous lady.
    Thanks for the lovely Blogs.

  • Beryl

    Hello Lynette! Not sure if you remember me, I was part of the young group of Aussie heading down from Base Camp while you guys were heading up (at the tea house in Dengboche). Sorry to see that you didn’t summit, but glad that you are safe and in good health! Safe travel home to Australia :)

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