Would the airport be open?
06.04.2012 - 06.04.2012 28 °C
I woke this morning at 6 am to the sound of an aeroplane in the distance. The rain had stopped and as I peeked out of the window I could see it make its final approach and land safely on the sloping runway of Lukla. We had three hours until our scheduled departure, but at least the first flights of the day were being completed successfully. Over the next half an hour a steady stream of light aircraft landed, reloaded and departed again in rapid speed. Slightly worrying however where the clouds that were appearing over the tops of the mountains and moving down into the valley. This had been a pattern over recent days making it impossible to land by sight. Two hours to go and the clouds were getting thicker, as we were eating our breakfast everyone kept glancing over their shoulder to imagining that the visibility was getting that little bit less. Comfortingly the planes kept coming in and out and eventually when we got the call to go it looked like we were going to be OK.
In ten minutes we were at the airport through security and waiting in the departure lounge (small room). A plane came in and we were ushered onto the tarmac even before the inbound passengers had stared disembarking. A quick sweet for take-off and we were on our way hurtling down the sloping runway and off to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. We had forgotten what heat was like as we were still wearing our mountain gear with fleeces and down jackets, which were quickly discarded. Transfer was nearly as quick as Lukla and in no time at all we were on our mini bus to the Royal Singhi Hotel.
After the compulsory form filling everyone rushed to their rooms for the first real hot shower in three weeks. A change into clean clothes and a chicken salad sandwich later and we were ready to brave a bit more of what Kathmandu had to offer. The afternoon destination was Durbar Square, a complex of temples and shrines in the centre of the city. Until the early 20th Century the palace in the centre of the square was the King’s residence and we visited a museum displaying aspects and artefacts of the royal household.
In the evening we descended on ‘Rumdoodles’ a famous restaurant noted for the Yeti feet festooned around the walls and ceiling. Each table is provided with a cardboard Yeti foot to decorate and once completed they are displayed (if a space can be found) for future diners. Smaller individual Yeti feet are provided to each diner at the end of the meal. We designed our own High Passes of Everest foot which now hangs proudly near the entrance door. The artwork is possibly as good as one or two of the others but at least we have made our mark and one or two may take an interest.