Monday, April 7, 2014

The Drive to Jiri

I am now in Jiri, Monday night. We had a more or less pleasant drive over the mountains today from about 8 AM until about 5 PM on narrow, pot-holed and dusty roads. Just another day in the office right? Honestly, in my opinion things have been going really well. All but one of us are healthy. The food has been good. The scenery reminds me of Rwanda in terms of terraced hills, but these are maybe 2-3 times taller. It's worth noting I've been here three days so far and have not seen the mountains aside from the flight into Kathmandu.
Map with Monday's Travel Locations and Everest
Some history, the first successful expedition to Everest in 1953, with Edmund Hillary, passed through Jiri. Walking in from here would take 7-8 days to get to Lukla, so that is why everyone flies into somewhere before beginning their trek to base camp. It's so far from a road, that airstrips and helipads are just more convenient. Put in context, this trip is costing me in the neighborhood of $600 per day. So spending an additional week walking, when it might not help with acclimation, is a hard sell. (Of course, not all days are equal, summit day might well be worth more to me than the price I paid.)
Crossing a River (Probably the Indrawati) looking North in Nepal
I have some videos of the roads, but that is far more complicated to upload, suffice to say if you had a bicycle in this country and wanted to get some serious Strava King of the Mountain wins, you could. We were as low as 1900 feet today and as high as 8300 feet. And we basically drove over two "hills"and thus did it twice.
Main Street Jiri
Wow, pictures just don't do this place justice. I hope the video will be better. From my end, things are going well. I'm not really don't anything yet. I haven't even had to trek anywhere yet. My biggest concern is that my electronics will punch a hole in my dry bag. My toe that I stubbed a few days ago is getting better. It still hurts but the bruise has gone away. It doesn't feel the greatest to walk around in barefoot, but in shoes it's better and in a pair of boots, it is almost imperceptible.

A note on some subtle cues that my parents will particularly enjoy. There are quite a few motorcycles here and the average is probably just under 200 cc size. There are a lot of 125s and 150s, but also 200s and even some larger 250s. There is a lot of dust in the air, and some pollution to go along with it. Yes, we saw numerous women and children working. In a couple spots the women were wielding shovels. I'm not entirely sure where all the men were.

I am super excited for tomorrow to ride on the helicopter! I've never ridden in one, despite a stint of work at Sikorsky. Otherwise, I want to figure out how to bathe a little and walk around before we eat supper. Good night!

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