© 2012 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_nepal_kathmandu_03

Nepal – Kathmandu – 27th/29th Feb

There was some misunderstanding between us and Pilgrim’s Guesthouse in Kathmandu; we’d tried to book a room but didn’t have any response and so when we arrived at the airport we decided we would head there first of all to see if they had any rooms. When we arrived they said they had a taxi waiting for us at the airport with our names written on a sign! We were none the wiser, it would have been a free pick up but their forms are way out of date, and we didn’t get an email to confirm this.

Anyway it all worked out okay, we were excited when we first arrived. The streets were busy, full of bikes, pedestrians, cars and buses, and we were back in the land of horn honking! In this part of the world it’s okay to beep your horn at a person, a car, a truck whomever it may be to let them know you’re there. Makes sense in some ways. It’s really polluted in Kathmandu and we noticed this straight away, a soft haze is around all the time with only a 4km point of visibility.

So we checked into Pilgrims and agreed a price for 3 nights with the owner, a frank Nepalese man. We were happy with our room although failed to notice the schedule for electricity and hot water. Every place has a schedule we later learned. It was much cooler than where we had come from and so had our winter clothes at the ready.

For our first 3 days in Nepal we did little but focus on the trek. We were hoping to fit in some sight-seeing but we couldn’t quite fit this into our days of planning. Our plan was to start the Everest region trek from Jiri, the original route from which all Everest treks began before the days of the Lukla airstrip. We were aiming for a 20 day-ish trek taking in the heights of Gokyo-Ri and flying back out of Lukla.

First on our agenda though was to organise our Indian visas for the next month. We were ready for the queuing and thought we would need about a week to arrange this, but as we looked into it and with our time-frame we opted to pay for someone to organise our visas for us. This was obviously the more costly option but it did mean we would be able to start our trek by the end of the week, safe in the knowledge that our visas were being dealt with. It also meant we had to leave our passports behind in Kathmandu with our agent Deepak at Mount Fuji Adventure and Laxmi from the Indian embassy. We were very reassured though that we could put our trust in them and we felt that the steep $90 fee each was enough to confirm this.

So with the visa in hand we had to organise our TIMS trekking permits and find ourselves some gear as well as try to arrange for a one way open flight ticket from Lukla to Kathmandu. Although we were happy to do the Jiri walk in, we most certainly didn’t want to have to walk it out too!

TIMS is straight forward enough, just make sure you know the opening times of their office at the Tourism Board building, 10-4pm we think. It’s (1200rs) for the TIMS permit which is what you need if you’re not trekking with a group or guided tour. There is the 1000 rupee fee for entering the Everest Solukhumbu National Park and we were also told we would need to pay 1500 rupee each for a permit to trek in parts of the Jiri region. We didn’t have any knowledge otherwise and so paid for all 3, perhaps the Jiri one can be avoided, but hopefully it all goes to preservation and conservation of the local areas so for a small fee its worth it.

We rented some down jackets from Guide Himalaya Trekking Shop in Thamel and were happy with the standard of the jackets. We also bought some thicker gloves, a snood each and splashed out on a steri-pen, something we’d been advised to buy if budget could stretch to it. Little did we know how good the steri-pen was until we started using it and so it was well worth the $45 splurge.

Lastly our bus tickets to Jiri and the open flight ticket was bought through another agent who was working at Pilgrims. They don’t work for the hotels’ they’re just agents who pop in to see who they can sell their services to. Most of them are ex-guides and so have extensive knowledge of the system. We thought we would get our tickets through one of these men, he had a fairly decent deal on the table and it was easier for us to organise the tickets in one go. We were booked onto the 6am Super Express Bus from Kathmandu leaving on the 1st to Jiri, and we were told it would only take 6 hours! Hmmm we had our reservations about that one. We also paid $135 each for the open flight ticket from Lukla to Kathmandu, if you arrange a fixed ticket the price should be around $116 if bought in Kathmandu.

Our photographs from our first time in Kathmandu are a handful of street photography images, as we were gathering information, ideas and equipment for the trek. This was for either of us the biggest trek we had done in one go and we decided sight-seeing in Kathmandu would come at the end. We mainly enjoyed food at Pilgrim’s and during the day at other restaurants around Thamel. Very soon we would be venturing out into the mid-hills to start the trek of a lifetime.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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  2. Nepal – Lukla to Kathmandu – 22nd March Day 21: Flight out of Lukla to Kathmandu Up early and ready for our exhilarating flight leaving the Himalayas behind and arriving back in Kathmandu...
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