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Published: December 11th 2018
Much like our last attempt at a trek our first few days haven’t gone quite according to plan. We were supposed to fly to Lukla yesterday morning, and then hopefully walk to the next village the same day. Unfortunately after a day sitting in the airport due to poor weather at Lukla all flights were cancelled and we were put on a flight today instead. The frustrating thing was the complete lack of communication - we only discovered they’d been cancelled after going up the desk to ask for an update.
Fortunately we managed to get a room in the same hotel we had been staying in in Thamel, Kathmandu. We also had a delicious dinner of aubergine and couscous in a restaurant called Mitho. It wasn’t too expensive and made a great change from rice or noodles.
Today we had a leisurely breakfast back at the Hotel Taleju Boutique (where we had stayed before) and ensured we were adequately satiated for a long wait. There’s very little food at the airport and what is there is very expensive.
On arrival at the airport planes were once again delayed for ‘air traffic’ reasons. Initially we waited patiently and then I saw some people getting put on an earlier flight after making a fuss. I ended up reminding them that we had been waiting since yesterday and should have priority over those from today. I also tried to pull the honeymoon card but that seemed to have no effect. After being told we were next on the list I saw 4 other people going ahead. Going back I was then told there were multiple people ahead of us. At this point I got cross as they kept changing what they were saying. Turns out making a fuss works. We were allowed to check in. Another hour late we were finally on a plane and arrived in worsening mist about 3pm. Frustratingly there were 3 empty seats on the plane and some of the people on it hadn’t even realised there were people who had been waiting since yesterday!
Flying into Lukla was slightly nerve racking. With the cold descending it was hard to see the surrounding mountains and as we flew up the valley it was clear that the hills either side were incredibly close.
The landing strip itself if only about 450m long and on a steep angle - there’s a drop below it and cliff above it. There isn’t much room for error, fortunately the pilots are used to this route and made the landing feel easy (despite a terrifying take off at the nice long Kathmandu airport which involved rather a lot of swerving...)
We walked through Lukla and checked in to a reasonable looking lodge before going elsewhere for a cheaper, and very late, lunch. We then brought our walking permits for tomorrow. Hopefully we will finally be able to start our walk tomorrow, 2 days later than planned.
NB - you can no longer get the permits you need for the base camp area in Kathmandu. You can now buy the walking permit in Lukla (equivalent to the TIMMS card for other treks) and the national park permit in Monjo. If you buy it in Kathmandu they are refusing to accept it at the local check points.
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