Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 77 - May 24 - Kathmandu to Phakding

May24 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

For the first time in the trip i was all packed the previous night and all i had to do in the morning was freshen up and get going. Taxied to the Airport. They dont have ATM at the domestic terminal and i have to walk to the international terminal to get some cash. That was walk i could have avoided cos i want to save every ounce of my energy to the trek ahead.

Trek? still cant believe i am actually going to do some hard trekking! My be i just planned for 2 days 1 way. But still thats 5 days of trekking. Never done that before and here i am trying it enroute Mt Everest. If at all i make it to Namche i just hoped to get a glimpse of Mt Everest.

Got into the domestic terminal and it was very very different! I mean it was like local bus stand or railway station! The reason i would understand later. Not really comfy enough to log in the laptop. After security check got into the waiting lounge and saw this small propeller planes going up and down. Well well it will not be like a regular flight. When our turn came we were made to sit in a bus which just stood there for 15 mins. Then it drove and let us out near a small plane. We were made to just stand there for 20 more mins!! The plane was small the tail fin was supported by a string attached to the fuselage roof! Was hoping for the jet planes i see near by. Again why small plane? the reason i would understand later. Lot of helicopters in the same arena. Was skeptical about taking pix which i should have cos it seemed ok. There were hardly any tourists in the group. Looked like people in thier everyday life. One guy was even had a few dozen eggs!! Man every thing is so strange. Got into the plane and it was more like a small bus inside. Minimalistic seats etc. After some more waiting we are on the move. It was nice, as i was flying after a long time like 4 years. But this flight not really smooth with the propellers really making its presence felt. Almost forced my head out of the window looking at the world go by below. In no time we crossed Bhaktapur. 10 mins into the flight some passengers seem to be worried. And they the plane takes a U turn, also landed back in Kathmandu!! The same passengers who were regular fliers here were giving out gestures of relief to each other!! There was an technical snag in one of the engines it seems and so we had to turn back. Later came to know that they observed the plane kinda tilted to one side and they thought of engine trouble!! Everything felt ok to the ignorant me though. Any way we were sent back to the lounge saying a diff plane would be arranged. Had no breakfast and there was nothing in the lounge. Chocolates and small cakes were like 200 rupees. I rather be hungry!

We get a call back and what do you know we are getting on to the same plane!! Well ok. The flight goes well and gaze at the world below. Like i said it was a flying bus with bare minimum facilities. Yes no food on the flight. After the stipulated flight time we were going to land but looking through the pilot's windshield i see big icy mountains and no sky at all. Are we going to hit the mountains? the pilots seemed to be cool. And in no time we are approaching the airstrip. We land and boy do we slow down real quick and i see we are heading for a wall ahead! Slow down really quick and the plane turns right just before the wall! Still disoriented about all this get out of the plane and then only i realize the fact. That the run way is show perched on a cliff and is at incline. Which helped the plane slow down rapidly. That sent shivers down my spine. One scary airport. Some times ignorance is a bliss. A wall at the top end and cliff drop off at the other end. The pilots have very lil scope of error. Was like landing on a aircraft carrier.

Any way, the weather looked great. Sunny and cozy. But the airport was very small and small building around it. Its so claustrophobic unlike i imagined. Was kinda frozen on my feet thinking now what? One of the co-passenger the eggs carrier said i could join them if i want to. But no way i can keep up with the locals there. Took a few photos of the runway and get to the street of Lukla. A fone call like 80 rs a minute. As it was from a satellite fone. A sign of expensiveness ahead. Got into a nice hotel for breakfast. Talk the hotel guy and get some much needed info on the trek ahead. The food costed a bomb! 500 Rs gone! Thought may be i ate at a 5* hotel??! Any way i am going to trek now. I immediately feel the weight of the back pack. In just a few mins the back starts complaining badly and i feared the whole idea was a bad one. But i got lot of time any way its a short trek for 3 hours for the day. So i started taking plenty of rests between walks. The weather was very pleasant and the i felt a whole new sense of freedom. Felt great actually. I see these porters moving things on their backs with a big basket and huge load in them. The had this thick stick which they would place under the basket and take rest. Boy do these peole carry some load. I talked to one guy an he said like he weighed 60 and is carrying 70 kilos of stuff! Who says only ants can carry more than their body weight!! See many people coming back. Thats cos of the delayed flight i started pretty late. Most of the tourists were Europeans or Americans. i was finding ways to rest the back pack and was taking it pretty easy. Never straining myself that i get to gasping. Things were just great the trek was on pretty level ground kinda going down a bit. Clicking my way slowly. Prety lil buildings all the way. very neat every where.

By 2 pm i reach a town and i was really hungry. I had burnt off the greecy chowmin i had just in three hours!! The was a nice restaurant with a great view. Was presented the menu and shocked at the prices. no item below 200. Man foods real expensive here even in small restaurants. Then i realize. every thing here comes by flight from Kathmandu and every thing here has to be transported by the porters i saw on the way. There was this guy from the UK, forgot his name who was on his way back and he showed me some great photos he had taken of Mt Everest from Kala Patthar. Wow must be something going all the way there. But i am unsure if i can even make it to Namche. Have the chowmin and a coffee for 250 bux and miniral water bottle at 100 bux!! I continue thinking should i go ahead till Manjo to reduce the tough load tomm. But thought bettor not push on the first day and let the body warmup. In an hour's time i was at Phakding. Pretty lil town and found this pretty Namaste lodge. and settled for the day. Was pretty early at 4pm. Got to updated the logs. Was seeing people pass by through the window. No wheels around here. People are at basics of walking. Made it phakding alright. By now the back was complaining a bit less. Had a cozy dinner and encouraged myself a bit for the next day and dozed off.

The small plane to lukla


Inside...


In the air...


Tire visible from the window


The kodari highway which i was riding the other day...


Back at the airport after the tech snag








Back in the air and over Bhaktapur


Cloud play





Damn! are we going to crash into the mountains


Cos he is landing on the scray runway, is the pilot wishing us luck?


Check out the incline of the run way...


Just out of the airport


The lukla airport


The lukla town...


The yak!


Pretty hotel...


The trek path...


The carrier yaks!!


Now was talking to this porter. He weighs 60 and is carrying 70 Kilos!!


Pretty houses


Me really trekking!!


A town cheplung


All stuff is carried by the people


Views


The path...


One of the many bridges...


Flowers vivid...








One of the towns...


Nice hotel with a view...


Prayer wheels on the way...


Rare domestic chicken family spotted!! :D


At Phakding staying for the night...


Simple automatic door closer!!


Watching the people go by on the trekking highway from the window...

4 comments:

manikandaanr said...

oye.... ur broke ur own rule...u treked......I DON'T BELIVE THIS.... untill i saw those pic




CARRY ON PRAVEEN

Praveen said...

Yeah man i did, went all the way till the Base camp and even i dont believe it :D

Ashish Bahadur Rana said...

Oh man....I have been reading your blog from past 10 days and I have reached here. I thought that I wud be writing you at the end, but when I discovered that you've been to Lukla, "World's most deadliest airport", I could'nt resist to tell you that Man, you rock!

Praveen said...

Thanks Anish, glad you liked it.

Trust me when i say that i came to know Lukla is one of the worlds dangerous airports only after landing :) Not that it would have made any difference though.