Peeking at the Peaks - A Flight Over Everest
Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
165Trip End Ongoing
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Being an avid photographer, and also a very lazy man at times, I had decided not to do the Everest base camp trek and to take an Everest flight instead. In small planes, you were guaranteed a window seat while the plane flew along the range of mountains, culminating in getting with five miles of Everest. Despite the cost, I had pinched my pennies to take what I felt might be an amazing, once in a life time photographic experience.
Well, it was an experience all right. Usually morals of stories come at the end. For a change, I though I would put mine at the front: 1. Old French women with sloppy make up are bad news. 2. As a man, you will forever be second place in the eyes of other men to hot Asian women.
Despite the haze, there had been the occasional clear day in Kathmandu, usually on the days after it rained throughout the night. Crossing my fingers, I went to a travel agent and booked my ticket for the next morning. Four thirty the next morning, I woke, dressed, and walked out to catch a taxi to the airport. After the typical wait and chaos of a domestic terminal in a developing country, we were herded onto a bus and taken to our plane. As light had dawned, it had become clear - this was the haziest, worst day I had experienced in Kathmandu. While it was normal to not be able to see the mountains through the haze of the Kathmandu Valley, never had I been unable to see even the hills that make up the walls of the valley. It was not an auspicious beginning to the trip.
Soon we were up, up, and away. After about 10 minutes of flying, finally the mountains began to appear, giant behemoths of rock rising up from the ground below them. When I bought the ticket for the plane, I had made another error. I had not requested a seat on the right hand side of the place. The plane flew out to Everest, quite far back from the range to the point where it turned and returned to Kathmandu. The return leg approached very close to the range, while the left side gave a less inspiring view on the way out. Nonetheless, I gamely raised my camera, cranked my zoom, and started taking photos.
After about twenty minutes flying the word went out - Everest was approaching. Suddenly from nowhere, this old woman appeared. She pushed herself have onto my lap and fully into the window. Her weight pushed me back into my seat, and pinned my camera against the wall, making it extremely difficult to take photos. Every few seconds she turned her caked lipsticked, chin haired, rotten meat smelling breath face towards me and said "This is Everest, this is Everest!". Oh really? Well, maybe if you fucking got off me, I could see for myself. But of course, she was an old woman, and I am a youngish man. I couldn't say such a thing or do anything. My mild requests to see met with a sudden inability on her part to understand English. My switching to French had no results either. To my shame, an evil wistful thought crept into my brain about the desire to be an old woman myself so I throw an elbow into her chest.
Finally the plane turned, and we were suddenly much closer to the mountains. Everest stood, as solid and intimidating looking as only the highest mountain in the world could be. At least I think it was, for once again, an error in my plan became evident. The plane had one seat on the left side of the isle, and two on the right, with everyone in a window seat. I thought I could slide into the second seat and at least take a few good shots over a shoulder. However, everyone on the plane was part of a group or couple, and quickly boxed me out. I ran up and down the isles, whining like a Chihuahua with a urinary tract infection, trying to lean in and snap some photos.
Frustrated, I consoled myself that at least I would be allowed up into the cockpit where I would have unimpeded 180 degree views of the mountains and finally get my prized shots. As the flight proceeded, the stewardess had come along, and one by one, invited individuals up to the cockpit for a few minutes and a view. I was one of the last to be given the invitation, but when my time came, I was wallowing under 130 pounds of old woman flesh, and so seeing me encumbered, she invited the cute Asian woman in the tight little dress, heels, and cute designer sunglasses in front of me to go forward instead.
She walked up to the cockpit (never more deserving of its name) and that was it for the rest of the flight. The pilots knew a winning situation when they saw one, and she stayed up front for the rest of the flight. My attempts to poke my head were met with indifference. Apparently the average male pilot prefers hot little Asian women to hairy, 34 year old Canadian men. Go figure. The pilots reached back and closed the door after this, and the young woman stayed up front the entire time, even remaining for the landing.
After the flight, I decided to walk to Pashupatinath temple for another visit, being only a twenty minute stroll away. Just as I was leaving, a taxi pulled up and lo and behold, it was the cute Asian girl offering me a ride in her cab. I thanked her and said no.
That's right, I turned down a ride from a beautiful Asian woman. And I like beautiful Asian woman - a lot.
I was a bitter man. A bitter, bitter man.
(Despite the difficulties, I still managed to snap quite a few photos, but few of real quality or good angles. Still, I present them to you.)