Getting to Kathmandu

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Our flights to Nepal were uneventful but long. We did not all travel as one group — people left on different days by different routes, and there were interesting overlaps in our schedules — some people started out a day later than us but arrived on the same plane as us to Kathmandu. At some point or other we flew with nearly everyone on the trip but there was only one other couple that had the same itinerary as us all the way. We drove to Portland with a van full of gear, and flew to Vancouver BC, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. We overnighted in Bangkok and flew into Kathmandu the next morning.

Kathmandu is difficult to describe or capture in pictures. “Chaotic” is the best descriptor. John Manotti described the ride from the airport as “like a bad video game” with pedestrians, animals, bicycles cars and motorcycles taking whatever available space there is on the road regardless of lane designations. The sights and smells assault the senses. We checked into the Hotel Norbu Linka and walked around the Thamel district, changed money and took in the sights. While we were eating dinner at a nearby restaurant, the power went out. Blackouts are frequent, due to the infrastructure problems and the restaurant staff were not at all bothered or surprised; they broke out the candles and dinner arrived without incident.

We also were watching for news of any problems that tourists were encountering with the political instability in the country. A newspaper story about two Polish tourists abducted near Jiri, not far from our intended route, got our attention. But things appeared to be OK in the Everest region, and Kathmandu was operating fairly normally.

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