April 23-24: Leaving Nepal
We arrived back in Kathmandu to a city still embroiled in conflict. We got off the plane and out to the baggage claim area, where we were met by an Asian Trekking representative. He whisked us to a bus to get us back the hotel before the 9:00 AM curfew took effect. We made it with ten minutes to spare. Dinner that night was in the hotel since we were not able to move freely about town. John and I briefly risked curfew violation in order to get enough cash from the ATM around the corner to enable us to pay the exit tax the next day.
The following morning John and I bid goodbye to the rest of the group and took off for Bangkok and a couple of days of decompression before coming back to the good old USA. We took in the sights of Bangkok, ate some fabulous food and once again got used to the hustle and bustle of traffic and the crush of humanity that comes with city life.
The king made concessions to the protesters and the curfew in Kathmandu was lifted the day after we left. This gave the others in our trekking group the chance to do some exploring in Kathmandu for a couple of days before heading in the general direction of home.
So. . . what about the Pumori team? The weather and some health issues forced them to retreat without reaching the summit. They cleared their gear and backed off the mountain, and headed home by a variety of routes, some taking a direct path back to Lukla and flights to Kathmandu, others lingering in the Khumbu region.
All stories come to an end, and this one is no exception. In a way, the story is not yet over. The nine trekkers all went our separate ways from Kathmandu, and the Pumori team and Adam and Carrie returned a couple of weeks after we got back. John and I have seen nearly all individuals from the group at least once since the trip, but we have not reunited as a group since we got back. At this point we are hoping to have the first reunion of the whole group in October.We’ll probably eat some fried potatoes and lentils and rice, play some Hearts, and — who knows — maybe do a little reminiscing as well.