Posted by: Yury Pritzker | April 3, 2009

In Kathmandu

I am in Katmandu. My flight was not so bad, much easier than I expected. The longest wait was in London were I spent 11 h laying on the nice soft bench in the middle of the shopping center of terminal 3. It was a little challenging not to lose the spot during my toilet breaks, so I was waiting for some kind people to sit near me to ask them to watch my luggage.

 

I was carrying and wearing all my important summit gear including my high altitude boots in case of a catastrophic (but not so unusual) situation where my luggage would get lost. I was ready to summit Everest right from the airport or even from the airplane. My second small carryon bag was holding all my electronics and my communication gear. I was carrying about 30 pounds in these two backpacks and a big plastic bag which I used for my more comfortable clothes. I changed as soon as I went through the security check.

 

The flight to Bahrain on Gulf Air was not that significant. It was very nice to receive a large menu for dinner in coach class. However, my expectations were not met. Two and a half hours after the menu was delivered we were given just what was left. No choices and no questions asked.

 

On my last leg from Bahrain to Katmandu I was unexpectedly given a business class seat instead of my assigned coach seat. However, the flight was relatively short, just 4 hours, so I spent the whole time learning how to move  my seat in 5 different directions, switching on and off my new individual TV screen, and trying to find an even more comfortable position.

 

There was another advantage to being in the business class: I was the first one to receive my new Nepalese Visa. It took me just 5 min and $100. It looks like the Nepalese learned how to take money very efficiently. To my joyful surprise all my luggage arrived safely and I was given a green light to exit the customs area. “Asian Trekking” representatives met me at the exit and I was introduced to the craziest driving I have ever experienced.

 

As I discovered on my first day in Kathmandu, six months was not enough time to pack all that I needed for the Everest expedition. I ended up forgetting my music. So I had to log in remotely to my home computer and ftp my music files to my website. so I could later ftp it from there to my laptop that I have here with me. At least it gives me something to do.

 

The streets of the tourist shopping district of Kathmandu are narrow and both sides of the streets are lined with small stores. Every third store sells climbing and trekking equipment. All famous brands are present here – The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, etc – all made in Katmandu and all are fake. I could not contain myself and bought nice balaclava, two duffle bags for doubling mine in case of a rain or rough carrying on yaks. I also bought a pair of spare down mittens – all for a fraction of the price we pay in the US.

 

The streets are full of people, bikes, and cars. It is now clear why people have to stay in Kathmandu for some time before they go to Everest. It is a test. If you survive traffic on the streets of this city and don’t get killed or get a heart attack, you are ready to go.

That’s all for now. Cheers,

Yura

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Responses

  1. Yury, I am following your blog! Keep posting, and good luck!


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