The most cost effective way to get to the start of trekking to Everest Base Camp is to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla on a Twin Otter, a small two engine plan designed to land on 1000 ft. long runways. However, it requires flying through a pass, and that pass has been socked in with clouds. In the last two days, only about four flights have made it in or out. Tomorrow's forecast is not good. In Nepal the main form of navigation is visual flight rules, not GPS. To be quite honest, considering how many aviation accidents happen and how close some of these flight paths are to mountains, a 50 meter location error or three second delay at the wrong time could be deadly. Even if an accurate enough system was available, what if it was struck by lightning? So when the pilot doesn't want to fly, I certainly agree with him.
Our leader presented us with several options, and we took his suggestion to drive seven hours and take a "big helicopter" to Namche Bazaar (or rather a landing 200-300 meters uphill from Namche). I'm quite excited to do this because we will get to see a part of Nepal by bus, then another part by helicopter, and I have never ridden in a helicopter! It also means we are getting out of the city tomorrow morning, and while there is a lot to see and do in Kathmandu, I came here to climb a mountain.
I spent some time in Thamel, a district of Kathmandu, eating at Gaia and more or less walking around. I really enjoy the outdoor eating with plants all around. It's relaxing and quiet, and in my opinion, the plants probably take away from the dust and pollution of the street.
|Eating at Gaia. (Don't judge me for staying on the tourist path, I don't want to get sick.)|
|Why buy gear at home when you can buy it all here from legitimate company stores?|
That's all for today! As will often happen, I'm not sure when I will be able to update again. This is all part of the two weeks it takes just to get to base camp.