Sunday, March 29, 2009
Last email from Kathmandu
I’ve spent the last couple of days wandering around Kathmandu just relaxing and taking in the sights of the city. It really is an amazing place. It is very much third world with trash and falling-apart buildings everywhere. The city has a definite odor and with all the sights, noise and smell you almost suffer from sensory overload. The traffic is amazing with apparently no traffic laws either in place or being enforced. As I mentioned to Janet when I was here last fall, the most important piece of equipment in all the cars is the horn. I’m sure it must be the first thing to wear out. The roads are narrow with hundreds of pedestrians walking on either side with cars traveling along just barely missing them. You would swear there isn’t room for everything to pass but somehow it just works.
The team is finally all here and ready to be on the way. We leave Kathmandu tomorrow to begin our trek up the Khumbu Valley so today has been spent getting gear organized for the trip. Most of the gear will go all the way to base camp carried by yaks so that had to go into one bag which we won’t see for nine days. The rest of the gear will be carried by porters and will travel along with us so that had to go into another bag. We’ll have access to that bag each night. The trick is to make sure you get the right items into the right bag. Don’t want to end up without a sleeping bag each night because it mistakenly got sent all the way to base camp in the wrong bag!
The walk will take about nine days and begins with a flight to Lukla at 9000 feet elevation on what they say is one of the scariest landing strips in the world. Should be pretty exciting. From there we slowly make our way up the Khumbu Valley, acclimatizing along the way and staying in lodges each night.
This will be the last email in a while. Supposedly we’ll have email access at base camp but nothing is certain. In the meantime I’ll try to communicate by way of satellite phone.