At Kathmandu airport, the size of the plane that is supposed to get us across into Lukla is enough to send my stomach churning. We’re getting into that? I wondered. And of course we were, all 19 poor souls, getting our collective brave fronts together.The air hostess did not even bother to smile when she handed out the toffees ( she, I think, has the world’s least demanding job – hand out toffees and cotton balls, that’s the job description). She knew what was coming up.
The view was enough to distract us, for a while.
After that, we either pretended to sleep or pretended to be brave, while the pilot tried out many moves with his flimsy aircraft. I hate vehicles where I can actually feel the machinery working – the engine trying hard to give more power to climb over that snow-capped peak, the brakes trying hard to work on the small landing strip. You get the idea.
Mercifully, the flight landed successfully on the tiny runaway ( after circling endlessly over the clouds, looking for an opening, as it were) at the Tenzing Hillary airport at Lukla.
We gathered at the cozy Buddha lodge ( whose ceilings are adorned with various clothings with scribblings of successfully completed treks, by people from pretty much every country around the world it seemed. And people of all tastes, including some girly group who thought it was cute to have a bra with their names scribbled on it). Anyway, we had what was to be the first of cup of the gallons of black tea we were to drink, repacked our bags so the porters ( poor guys) would carry most of it while we whistled our way up with a few kilos on our backs.
I was glad to be walking, glad I had great walking shoes, glad I had packed well, and glad I had a great guy back home who was taking care of the home front while I was traipsing up and down mountains. Life was good.
Lunch was good too. Daal, bhaat, aloo curry ( again, first of many similar meals). A long rest where most of us stretched out and lazed in the sun, and off again for a couple of hours until we reached our first nights stay at Phadking.
The lodge was nice, and I slept fairly well. My knee acted up ( miraculously, the one and only time I had a problem with it the entire trip).