Up 5:15am. Left hotel 5:45am for the old run-down domestic airport and the flight over the Himalaya. They did have X-ray machines, but we didn't have to empty our pockets for the metal detector. If it beeped, we just got felt up. Later I realized I accidentally had my Swiss Army knife in my bag, but they didn't catch it.
An Agni Air flight crashed on 8-24-10. It wasn't an Everest flight, but it was still kind of weird seeing that plane and then taking off in our plane in the rain. Dedicating our flight to Irina Shekhets, whom I never knew.
Cabin of our plane.
At the start of the flight we were in clouds for 20 minutes, and people were complaining, but I knew what was coming. We rose above the cloud layer and saw some stuff.
We got a panoramic photo to help us identify the individual peaks, and I'll adhere to it where I can, but this is just a general shot out the window.
This appears to be Cho Oyu, the 6th-highest mountain in the world. Keep in mind that in these photos there's more than 4 miles of mountain below the cloud layer.
Wide shot. Cho Oyu in the distance on the right.
Mount Fucking Everest in the center. The peak to its right is Lhotse, #4 in the world.
More of Everest and Lhotse.
Makalu, #5. I was in the cockpit for this pic.
Everest from the cockpit.
The plane was doing a 180 here, but mid-turn I think one of the pilots pointed off in the distance and said this was Kangchenjunga, #3. It resembles a photo I found online.
Everest. OK, and Lhotse.
Himalaya, and an engine and wing.
Can't identify anything here.
There are nearer mountains with no names in the panorama, and these appear to be them.
The near mountains look a lot cooler.
I thought I was taking a final zoom shot of Everest, but there's no plateau to the left, so I don't know what this is.
Final wide shot before someone tapped me on the shoulder so the girl whose seat I was occupying and who was taking photos over my shoulder could return.
We landed. It's Gabi's birthday, so now among people I'm connected to who have taken local Nepal flights on their birthday, the survival rate is up to 50%!
We paid a local departure tax of Rs 170 at the airport pre-flight, but after landing we exited the airport and no one asked us for the actual flight price of US$171 that we'd agreed to. Too good to be true. Our minibus driver eventually stopped at some airline or travel agency office where we had to pay. It's done this way because the flight doesn't take off unless the weather is good, so you have to pay after. The office was odd though. We went up to the 3rd floor, and the guy processing our payments was the only guy other than us in the building. I paid in cash and got a $10 bill back. I always look at US currency carefully when I get it overseas, but this one was legit.
This might have been the first 1-hour ride involving a mountain that wasn't Space Mountain.
Back to the hotel. I napped 8:30am to 10:30am.
We assembled in the lobby between 11am and 11:30am for goodbyes to Karen, Kristal and Ryan, who were leaving for the airport. The tour is now over, but the trip isn't.
I spent some time on the Internet. Activated Blake and Morgan, and one of them replaced Fontenot who went to the DL. Still have to line up bids to replace De La Rosa by tomorrow.
The 4 of us Americans went out to do a walking tour recommended by Lonely Planet.
Kathesimbhu Stupa. I think this is where my camera batteries ran out for an unprecedented second time.
Ganesh. I wanted to link to a video of him disrupting Apu's wedding ("this wedding angers me") but I can only find the German version.
A hunk of wood (not to be confused with my own) with coins hammered into it, as offerings to the toothache god.
Haku Bahal. Lonely Planet touts the "finely carved wooden window overlooking the courtyard".
Asan Tole, old Kathmandu's busiest junction.
Seto Machhebdranath Temple.
Seto Machhebdranath Temple.
Outside Seto Machhebdranath Temple. I didn't realize until afterward that I was implicitly unwelcome.
Erotic carving. The second penis here seems unnecessary.
Erotic carving. HOT.
Nara Devi Temple, dedicated to Kali, which I took a photo of only because Kali Lane is such a doll.
Elana bailed on us somewhere during that walk. Also, I saw two morons wearing John Cena shirts.
We went to HD2 for lunch. I had "chicken spicy", which was the best meal of the trip. Very hot.
We continued to Durbar Square and paid to get in.
Various temples in Durbar Square.
Kumari Ghar, where the "living goddess" is sequestered. A guy here was offering tours and showing a photo of her. I should have asked "how much for the little girl?"
Various structures. Right around here I became infuriated at yet another pesky guy offering to be our guide. I sez to him I sez: "Leave us alone. We're trying to enjoy our vacation." Pick some retarded old couple from among the tourists. Maybe they'll want a guide. Smart independent-looking travellers carrying maps want to follow their maps, not you.
Hanuman statue and Hanuman Dhoka Palace entry. It was Rs 300 to get into Durbat Square and an extra RS 250 to get into the Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
Kal Bhairab (Shiva).
Back at the hotel I got on the Internet again, then went out to the ATM (in the money sense, not the Angela sense), returned, showered, then at 6pm I left with the other Americans, Janie and Shailey (Janie's new friend from the Tibet tour she's starting after this) for dinner at Or2k, a vegetarian Israeli-owned place. I had falafel and a Long Island. Plus Shailey gave me most of her beer. And then Megan totally tried to cockblock me by asking to switch places with me because she was cold. I mean, I was sort of talking to Shailey. Elana switched with her instead. Shailey left anyway.
Megan, Izaak, Elana and Janie.
The 4 Americans.
Someone here said that Varun said that this was his most fractured group ever. I guess there was an older faction and a younger faction, but I hung out with both.
We walked to the Kathmandu Guest House, where a couple of the girls were staying for their post-tour nights. Hung out there 7:45pm-9pm and enjoyed Gabi's birthday cake, which had been well-concealed. Varun was there and I counted 9 of us, so most of the group was still intact. On Gabi's card I wished a happy birthday to the 2nd-fussiest teen diva in the group. Zing! Elana mentioned my shirt from last night and how good the fitted look is compared to the baggy look, which she nonetheless conceded is popular. On a fashion scale of 0 to 100 I feel like I peaked at around 17 last night and will never approach double digits again. I would have loved to peak around 19 tonight, and substitute a dozen other prepositions for "around", if you smell what The Rock is cooking. The fact that I wore the shirt to an Arcade Fire concert seemed to impress people. That did almost as much to raise my status among other people as the head-to-head photo of me and Gabi (in her Facebook album, not shown here).
Most of us then moved to 4 Ever Cafe & Bar. I didn't eat because I'd just had falafel at the other place. Jamie ordered beef stir fry and asked for it rare. The waiter didn't comprehend. Then Jane ordered something and the waiter asked if she wanted it well done, medium or rare. Classic. Gabi was examining Lucy's mosquito bites and said they're getting smaller. Lucy said they're getting bigger. I said that's what they said. Yep, it was the first-ever "they" opportunity. Also, it was determined that Jamie's love-love relationship with momos is a win-win situation.
Next was the Tom & Jerry Pub.
Again with the Harry Potter thing.
Jamie, Lucy, Gabi, Jane, Emma and Abdulla.
I forget what I had to drink here, other than a big bottle of beer that I'd carried from the last place.
Bars officially close at 11pm, and this one stayed open till about midnight, but then we had to leave. The guy shooing us out said the only bars that stay open later are at casinos. Instead of trying that adventure, we returned to Kathmandu Guest House for a nightcap. Jamie was feeding me more vodka, which is probably what sent me into no-man's land. I remember getting very emotional when the demands for me to do standup got intense.
We had to whisper near the end here because a guy from the hotel threatened to call the police because guests were allegedly complaining about the noise. The party broke up not much long after.
I of course had to go back to the Fuji Guest House, and on account of my condition, Gabi and a Scottish couple we were talking to walked me home. Along the way, I fell into a big puddle and cut up my elbow. I must have seen a reflection of a bush in the puddle. At the hotel Janie was still loitering, so she and Gabi came up to my room to make sure I got cleaned up properly and in bed safely. Yep, I get two dames in my room on the last night of the trip (one of them a teen!) and nothing happens, because I'm too drunk and bloody. See, that's where the rhino pee would have been useful. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.
With the walking tour and birthday shenanigans, this was the most productive post-tour day of any of my 11 tours.