Local Time: 9:30pm
Weather: 23C, fine
Hi its Paul here,
Our first full day in Kathmandu has been spent buying gear and repacking our bags. Some of our bags are going to be taken straight into base camp and others will accompany us on the trek. All our high altitude climbing gear; down suits, boots, gloves etc will go straight to base camp, so this needed to be packed into separate bags.
Great bargains in Thamel
After a breakfast of croissants, toast, fried eggs, juice, cereal, and coffee (we are not going hungry) we set off to the Thamel district to buy gear. Chris and Bridget needed to get a good sleeping bag and down jacket each, and we needed some more duffel bags. There are so many shops selling gear here, it’s just mind boggling. Everything you can buy at home is available here, at about 20% of the price. We found some great down jackets for AUD$60 and the sleeping bags were AUD$100 and are rated to -25C, although they felt more like -15C to me. Obviously the quality is not as good and its not suitable for climbers, but for trekking and staying at base camp it’s fine. We got good duffel bags for AUD$16 each. We also bought a face mask, which will be used if we get sore throats from the dry air in the mountains.
Our hotel is great
IMG have put us up in a really good hotel called Hotel Tibet – in fact we are a little worried that we might get too used to this luxury. It has a lovely foyer, decorated with Tibetan carvings and furniture, a rooftop garden with deck chairs and a good view, and another garden with an intricate mural that is at least 25m long and 5m high.
At 5pm we had a team meeting and met Eric Simonson, the owner of IMG. Afterwards we went to a team dinner at the Shangri La Hotel – great food, serene gardens – a real oasis. I think its the stuff we will be dreaming about when we have been in the mountains for a month.
There was a message posted about the political situation. From what we can tell there doesn’t seem to be anything to be concerned about in Kathmandu. There are no armed personnel on the streets, other than security guards for some hotels and businesses. There are very few tourists, but otherwise everyone seems to be going about their normal daily business.
Off to the mountains tomorrow
Tomorrow we are having breakfast at 4:30am and leaving the hotel at 5:00am to catch the plane into Lukla for the start of our trek into base camp. Hopefully the weather is good and the plane is not delayed. The last time we were here, we waited for three days for good weather. After our second day of going to the airport, waiting all day and then having to go back into Kathmandu and find a hotel, I remember asking an airport staff member why they don’t fly when it’s cloudy, and the answer I got back explained it very clearly. “We don’t fly when its cloudy, because the clouds in Nepal have rocks in them.” I got the message.
Till next time,