I stumble into the terminal with twice as much luggage as I should really be carrying. Thanks to Dan, I have a giant suitcase with which to carry all me friend's orphanage donations. Thanks Dan! You'll get it back, fear not. The giant stuffed monkey I'm carrying proceeds to scare the shite out of one of the airport security officers, who mistakes it for something live, snicker. The check-in line is ridiculously long, and I end up at the gate with only an hour to twiddle my thumbs instead of two.
The boarding call is given. I make maybe five quick goodbye calls, then hand my passport and ticket over to The hottest
flight attendant I have ever laid eyes on... we're talking supermodel looks here. My hand was honestly trembling as I handed over the documents too her 'cause I was that intimidated by her beauty. Apparently flight attendant status is the Asian equivalent of winning a beauty contest.
Anyways, the plane takes off, and the start of an epic 33 hour flight across the world begins. Any nervousness/excitement I might have at this point is numbed by the fact that Juno is the first in flight movie, blech. The flight itself is, despite being ridiculously long, quite pleasant. The flight attendants were pretty bossy ("Please raise your seat so I can serve him food, please lower your window shade, please raise your window shade...") but their sheer jaw dropping beauty makes me perfectly willing to do whatever they
After a brief transfer in Tokyo and a not-so-brief 7h middle of the night layover in Singapore, I'm finally on my way to Kathmandu itself. There's surprisingly little nervousness, until that brief moment of zero-G when the plane starts landing. The descent launches my heart into my throat like a cannon as the fact that "oh my G-d
I'm in the Himalayas ...alone!" becomes frightfully real. I am not a well traveled man, having only left America for the first time a mere two years prior and to cozy clean Europe mind you. I'm notorious amongst my friends for being a clumsy street-stupid bumblemeister and one even (not seriously) suspected me of being suicidal upon booking this flight. Nepal made it into the International Misery headlines only a month ago for its beating of Tibetan activists and ranks
as one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, the entire African continent not withstanding. If the volunteer manager Sughanda wasn't there to greet me at the airport I would be alone and without help in a world I had no experience dealing with. Would he be there? The airplane doors swing open, the passengers flock out, I make my peace with the Lord Thine Shatner and set foot outside...
It's 10:30ish Tuesday morning. After leaving nearly all my errands for the last minute, I've finally finished moving out and packing for my three months abroad. Jeff shows up, him, Dan & I load the luggage and monkey into Princess (Jeff's car), and it's off to the airport for the big send-off. After one of the more panicked, emotional goodbye handshakes I've ever given (though both Jeff & I blanked on our mutual inspirational send-off speeches, and I'm not sure if Dan even had one to begin with),