Our arrival into Kathmandu was exciting before we even touched down - our plane had to do an emergency go around when we were only 100 feet off of the ground. Upon leaving the plane I was immediately hit by the heat - it was impressive - 30 degrees and very humid. The airport was an exercise in controlled confusion - visitors to Nepal require a visa that one gets at the airport but we were unsure of the process. Eventually, for 40 US dollars we were allowed in.
Outside the airport we were met by our guide, Nima Sherpa. The interesting part of our trip to the van was fighting off the scores of people who were trying to carry our bags for us for money. The drive in was chaotic - our van was brushed twice by other cars and the traffic was incredible. We arrived at our accommodation, the Kathmandu guest house where Sir Edmund Hillary stayed before his successful summit bid in 1953. The hotel is a UNESCO world heritage site and quite beautiful. Our team assembled for a beer and dinner and the food was delicious. Everyone was thankful given that some of us had been in transit for close to 40 hours
Our team meeting had a buzz of excitement. Trevor Day, our team leader know Nepal well and he is organized and prepared. Our lead Sherpa, Nima, has expertise than cannot be questioned - he summited Everest in 2009. Everyone is ready to start heading up be are here in Kathmandu for a few days to collect baseline data and recover from the journey.
We end the evening discussing some of the quirks of Kathmandu that we have already experienced - for example, the power in the hotel is only on 10 hours a day on average - a consequence of last years earthquake. The wifi is fades in and out on a regular basis. And signs of the physical devastation brought about by the earthquake are everywhere.
We head to bed exhausted but looking forward to tomorrow so we can begin to explore the city.