Left in the dark
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Where I stayed
Family Home Hotel
The hotel we had booked collected us from the airport the 100m from the centre announced that the hotel was fully booked and he would put us in another hotel for the same price, this initially seemed like a problem but when we checked in the 'new' alternative we were happy so decided to stay there for the duration. We ditched our bags and went for a walk through the streets of Kathmandu, I was in total shock, there were cars, bikes, dogs everywhere, horns tooting and with no pavement to walk on and people everywhere it was so much to take in. My eyes were working double time, every corner there is men trying to sell you mini chess sets, tiger baslm and wooden violins......Mhh just what I need! With all that to contend with there was no power so the streets were dark and only some shops had generators. ‘Load shedding’ is what they call it as electricity is currently rationed across the city, shifting from district to district every eight hour or so. Most hotels put a schedule plan for the guests to see, but not ours! It crazy you forget if you have left the lights on so half way through the night whilst asleep the electricity will come back on again and all the lights turn on and wake you up. I got used to it after a couple of days and the new head torch came in useful.
We spend most of the three days planning and researching our Everest trek, we spent days bartering in the local shops for knock off North Face warmer clothes, walking poles, water bottles and spare socks most of which we did have but posted home from Australia. We refilled a carrier bag with antibiotics, ibuprofen and energy powders to take with us. Dave and Karen donated us some syringes and needles when we left Bangkok......not quite sure what I would do with them but never the less they were all part of our new and improved first aid kit.
We decided to book a flight to Lukla to save a further 5 day trekking there and the day before we were due to leave we decided to do a sport of sightseeing at Durbar Square (Durbar meaning Palace). This is where the kings were once crowned and from where they ruled. We wandered around for hours taking in the spectacular architecture, most of the square dates from the 17th century and quite a lot of damage was caused by the great earthquake in 1934, so many had to be rebuilt. There was a royal family in Nepal but on 1st June 2001 Nepal suffered one of its work tragedies, on that night ten members of the royal family including Kingbirenda and Queen Aishwarya were gunned down by a deranged drunken Crown Prince Dipendra during a gathering. He eventually turned the gun on himself; the real motives behind the massacre are still unknown. With the UK royal wedding coming up it makes one realise how important ones monarchy really is and how lucky one is that have one.
With all our kit bought we had a pre trek beer at the famous Rum Doodle bar, popular with climbers the world over and if you make it to the summit of Everest you get free drinks in here for the rest of your life, not bad considering a bottle of beer is three fifty! Although we didn’t bump into any great expeditionists we did meet a couple of guys from the Uk how had just returned from Everest Base Camp, they were very helpful and gave a lot of information; one of which was that Lukla airport is the most dangerous in the world as it has the shortest runway, he then told us to check the crashes out on utube "Shhhhhh" I screatched “don’t say another work, I hate flying” “Uhhh” he said “but there are fifty flights a day so you will be ok”. Funny I didn’t sleep well that night!
We started packing our bags that evening and about 10pm realised we couldn’t fit everything in our day bags “Ahhhhhh Noooo” what now? Well after an hour of trying Justin decided to take his big rucksack and I took the daypack and he carried my sleeping bag, sorted. I lay in bed that night with total fear, anticipation and a touch of excitement as to what we were about to do.