Up at 8:41am. I really wasn't that tipsy last night. Except when I tipped over into the puddle.
I met the old faction at Gaia down the street for brunch. Janie asked if I got my wakeup call at 11am. Aw, thanks. But no thanks for underestimating my recuperative ability. Shailey was there. Hi, Shailey. I had Thai red curry with chicken, which was hot but yellow, like Pam Anderson when her hep C flares up. I stayed there with Janie after the rest had left, because I had nothing else to do on my originally-unplanned day in Kathmandu, but then she went on Skype so I bailed at 1pm.
Internet at the hotel 1pm-3:15pm. It's free and I had a lot of catching up to do, and free time. Jordan Lyles, whom I acquired for Merkle's Boners in the chaotic first-ever reserve auction before the season, was called up to the Astros, so now I could replace De La Rosa with him and not have to line up bids. So I got through the whole trip without having to bid on free agents. Updated my cities visited on one of those "cities visited" sites, except Bhairawa wasn't listed. Phillies had the best record in baseball. I remembered being on my Costa Rica tour in 2009 and the Phillies fell to second place behind the Mets. The Mets! Seems like decades ago. Read a Yahoo! article that said men who smile are considered sexually unattractive. Now who commented on my Facebook post about Match.com and said I should smile more? I'm relieved, because stretching my mouth from its default position all the way into a fake smile is exhausting. I don't have that gummy-smile birth defect, so it requires a lot more work for me. And I rarely smile naturally, because my brain almost always has its CPU fan whirring at full speed as it struggles to process never-ending sensory overload and spontaneously-generating complex thoughts, unless someone distracts me with something that makes me smile, and I'd like more of those distractions. Just an insight here into how a hyperintelligent brain works. The operating system is just massive.
At 2pm Varun assembled his next tour group for their initial meeting. I'd never seen a tour leader cheat on us like that before. That group was doing Kathmandu to Delhi Adventure. Identical to our tour, but in the opposite direction. I thought our itinerary made more sense because it's better to front-load the chaos and have more relaxing days in the latter part. That new group was nowhere near as cool as ours, but that Asian girl from Canada was showing off a well-formed rack.
At 2:10pm Elana came down to leave for the airport, so we did the goodbye hug.
After the Internet I went out walking in the general direction of KGH to see if anyone was around. Got lost right away, and passed KGH only by accident. Then I turned in the general direction of Durbar Square and again kept getting lost. Maps don't work there. Ultimately I started recognizing things from yesterday's walking tour and figured out where I was with the help of Lonely Planet, which by the way was the MVP of this tour. People kept borrowing it. Megan had an e-version of the same, but it was less conspicuous to the rest of the group. I accidentally passed KGH a second time, and by coincidence some of the group members had just arrived in a taxi from Durbar Square. So I tagged along with them for lunch.
The last remnants of our group at the Bamboo Cafe.
We were here 4:45pm-6:20pm. I had chicken fajitas, but the chicken and tortillas came with just sour cream and salsa. No peppers, no onions. There were rice and refried beans to accompany. I caught another photo being sneaked of me! Stalker.
Abdulla and I walked back to Fuji (he was still staying there, whereas I'd checked out prior to the Gaia brunch, but my bag was still there) as the others went to KGH.
Gabi heard that an American girl was abducted outside KGH last night! That's terrifying. But here's the real story.
The remnants of the group were meeting at Fuji to go out for dinner. My taxi was scheduled to arrive at 8pm, so I figured I've have time for one final drink with them. But Janie's meeting for her next tour ran long, and the group didn't head out till 7:50pm, which was precisely when my taxi arrived. So I did the hug thing. Sometimes there's one person, usually a guy, who's opposed to hugging, which I can respect, nut no one here was. Wait, except Gabi, who gave me a pat on the back. WTF? I complained and then got a proper hug, but she said I should instead be paying her for walking me back to my room.
Got to the airport, which I'm guessing is what airports looked like in the 1930s. Wow. Primitive. Through immigration 9pm, well in advance of my 11:15pm flight.
I'd been getting checked out a lot while walking today, and then a blonde in line at the Dragonair counter in an Everest Base Camp shirt was checking me out. Maybe it's because of my 2-day stubble (good in the passport photo, remember) and 6-week hair. I prefer the tidier look of short hair, but I seem to get more glances from skirts when it's shaggier.
When I arrived at the gate (more like a big holding cell) I realized I hadn't seen an exchange desk. Nepali rupees can't be exchanged outisde the country, but now I was stuck with like Rs 1,800.
The flight I was originally booked on for the 28th had a stop in Dhaka, which would have been a nice coincidence because my next-door neighbor for 22 years, Bryan Schafer, went to Bangladesh in 1991 as a Marine to assist after the cyclone. I know this because his dad mentions it in the video of my graduation party. Bryan was cool with me at the 2003 IHM reunion, but he's been keeping my friend request in pending status for a couple years now. Asshole. I remember when he stole the magnetic Cubs log from my standings board, and my dad called him back over to "find" it.
Anyway, this flight was nonstop back to Hong Kong. I sat next to Taya from Toronto. Good conversation for a couple hours. In fact were were delayed on the tarmac 2 hours and I didn't even notice. She had just finished the Tibet tour that Janie and Shailey were about to start. She knew about Varun losing his bag. Also, she'd done a Contiki tour 10 years ago and her driver was Shervo! She said he wrapped himself in Saran wrap in the Bombshelter. I think he was wearing a bra there on our tour. I impressed her with knowledge of important dates in Rogers Centre history: first Blue Jays game 6-1-89 (I was wrong...it was actually 6-5-89) and WrestleMania VI 4-1-90. I think I slept briefly on this 4-hour flight, but believe you me, I was "up" all night. As we were about to land I decided to be a dick to the crew and tie my blanket to the seat in front of us, and then I draped it over us as a fort. "It's getting hot." Uh, yeah. I mean it didn't get any hotter than that, but Best Flight Ever. Seems like it took place in another dimension. [But then speaking of pending friend requests, what the hell? After all that flirty conversation and her wanting to exchange info and keep in touch, she's banished me to permanent Friend Request Sent land? She's changed her Facebook photo twice in the 6 days since that flight so she's been active on Facebook. See, it's not worth it to smile. Also, as of this writing, Karen and Elana have banished me as well. Accepted other friend requests from the group, but not mine. The friction in the group continues to reveal itself, though it's mysterious in these cases.]
Arrived in Hong Kong at 7:30am, 1.5 hr late, which was good because I had a 7-hour layover, and didn't want to go back into the city to pass the time, and now it was a 5.5-hr layover.
It was morning now (though 2:15 ahead of Nepal) and I didn't feel like I was up all night, but I think I was running on adrenaline from the conversation. Once Taya and I split to go to our separate gates, the sleep deprivation hit me like a bullet in the back. Struck from a great height by someone who should know better than that.
I killed 15 minutes on one of those Internet terminals, walked around a bit (stopped at the electronics store to peruse tablets, since I need to get one now), tried to nap in a chair, and ate at a different Popeyes from the one two weeks ago.
The HKG-LAX flight left at 1:05pm on the 30th, and arrived at 10:45am earlier the same day. I assume I linked to Marvin Barnes in a previous travelogue. I had two glasses of wine and a PM pill. I didn't check my watch between 12:30am and 7:30am (LA time) so I must have been knocked out then. The woman next to me said I was in a coma.
Post-tour weight was 165 lb. I lost 3 lb, but I'm still fatter than normal. What gives?
[This was by far the most difficult travelogue for me to write. Not emotionally difficult. It was just a lot of writing. I made the mistake of going back to work on the 31st and it really messed me up. I haven't slept much and have no sense of what day of the week today is. Bit if I get just one "you're awesome" e-mail like I did from Rachèle from my Egypt tour in response to my last travelogue, it'll have been worth it.]