Himalayan Travelogue – Part 4, I’m goin to Kathmandu
I’m re-posting my Himalayan Travelogue posts from one of my other blogs, given my upcoming adventure, hiking the Appalachian Trail, I thought these might be an interesting look back as I prepare ~ Rev Kane
As I was planning my time off I mentioned to a buddy at work that I was thinking about Everest and he said, “I’m in.” A lot of people say these sorts of things, hell there were at least 6 people who had hoped to join us on the trek, but in fact, he was in. We began the planning process shortly thereafter, reading, researching, looking at all of the trekking companies and guides available was a bit of a daunting task. Some of the things that became important to us were that the guide had some flexibility built into the schedule, that the company was more concerned with the experience but kept the goal in mind, and finally that they had some sensitivity to the local people. We had narrowed the search down to a few companies when my buddy saw a picture of one of the guides and boom; he decided we were going with them. Now to her credit, our guide Kim is a beautiful woman, but even more importantly the group she works with met all of our criteria and then some. Let me save you a ton of research, if you are thinking about trekking in the Himalayas, then you want to go with Kim and Lahkpa of Project Himalaya
The Project Himalaya team takes great care of their clients and the locals they hire, they pay them well and treat them with respect. It was a pleasure trekking with them and I’ve recommended them too many friends. Now in planning this trip one thing was apparent, I was goin to Kathmandu, and of course for the full year before this trip Bob Seger echoed through my mind, so listen to Bob sing I’m goin to Kathmandu
The day finally came, after all of the training, gear purchasing and planning we were heading to the airport in San Francisco to leave it was the end of October, 2009. Now you get your Nepal Visa at the airport in Kathmandu unfortunately my ticket agent for Singapore Air at the counter didn’t know this, nor did she believe me. Neither did her supervisor and finally after a 5 minute discussion the clerk from the next window, who had processed my friend in like 30 seconds came over and took the responsibility. So a piece of advice, have your visa forms and pics accessible when you check in to avoid any issues. I will say this, that one glitch was the only negative thing I have to say about Singapore Air they were awesome.
One of the nice surprises that came about in the planning was that we had to overnight in Singapore on the way to Kathmandu, I’d never been there before and had a great time doing the one-day Singapore tour. I really recommend the botanical gardens and a heads up, Singapore is a crowded and interesting big city I had a blast there and plan to go back. Of course we got caught in a horrible thunderstorm at the gardens but 3 lovely lady Brits helped the time and the storm pass with us under an overhang. Below are a couple of pics from Singapore
Finally we boarded the plane and flew into Kathmandu, God how I love the insanity of airports in the developing world. It was great to be on the ground after 22 hours of flying and we were ready to start our journey.