After waiting for two hours as the fog is low in Kathmandu and no flights have arrived yet, we enter the departure area of Lukla airport and the first thing that springs to mind is KAOS. There are piles upon piles of baggage everywhere, some in orderly lines, others dumped in the middle of anywhere and there is barely room for people to stand. Mix that witha whole bunch of waiting tourists waiting to get home and very disorganised flight desks and you have the picture. Lucky for us the lodge owner (a practicing monk and certified business man) takes care of everything for is while we wait. I call him Buddha man. He is the fattest Nepali we have seen to date, very tall and wears gold rimmed sun glasses, new boots and a top of the range down jacket. He looks the mafia king of Lukla. He’s is fabulous!
He has arranged everything by jumping the queue behind the desk because he knows the guy, gets us our tickets, we all say a very fast goodbye after receiving our farewell scarves and we are in the exit lounge. It is all very fast and after about 45mins we are on an aeroplane heading down the runway of death! The runway is short and on the exit flight we shoot off the end over the valley before anyone can say ‘ we are out of runway’, and surprisingly it is smooth.
In Nepal at the airports men and women are separated at security to be searched, men by men and women by women. It is all very proper. Although I don’t recall opening my bag once and after a frisk search (mainly of your pockets) as long as you say no to carrying a lighter, tape or matches, you are free to go. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to take down a plane here, they are all too polite. And I think they feel the same way, it is anything but formal. Brett has a different experience though and he must unpack his bag every time and pull everything out for examination. I guess women are the trustworthy ones?
We wait at Kathmandu airport for an hour before Dolpa arrives to take us to Thamel. I use a nice young strangers phone to call Pasang to check before though to make sure she has not forgotten us as they are usually punctual. He assures me she is on her way and that the traffic is very bad. Nonetheless it is nice to sit and wait and people watch – one of my favourite past-times. Back to the same hotel we head out for a lunch straight away as we are on the 3pm flight to Pokhara – the second biggest town in Nepal and one with topical weather – can’t wait! We eat lunch at Rum Doodle and have the most amazing pizza – wood fired oven baked and mixed with a tonne of cheese – so good. Pizza in the mountains is weird as no one has an oven. Don’t order the pizza until you are in Kathmandu.