November 12 Kathmandu

We have had great weather, clear weather, almost all the trip.  Other than the day of snow and the day of fog following it, the sky has been clear.  This includes yesterday, where we observed airplane and helicopter traffic at the airport adjacent to our lodge. 

 Well, today it is cloudy -- no flights until the weather clears.  I know Lukla is famous for this, but I thought that was because of the monsoon that started shortly after the spring climbing season.  The fall and winter is supposed to be clear.  Not today.  The forecast is for more of the same weather for another few days. 

I am not too worried because we have a couple extra days in Kathmandu before we have to leave.  I just want to get back so that I can take a shower and change to clean clothes (no point in one without the other).  But what do I know?  While I am out making another email trip to Starbucks, Tendy is on the phone checking the weather forecast, plane schedules, etc.  By the time I come back, I find out they have chartered three helicopters to get us all out pronto.  Some of the party is wavering, hoping that they can get out without having to pay extra, but I am all for it.  I want out, and when else am I going to get to fly on a helicopter? 


As we are waiting for the helicopters to arrive, the sky clears briefly and several planes roar in, as though they had been waiting just over the ridge for a break in the clouds.  Each one disgorges passengers, loads up, and is off in five minutes.  Four or five planes comes and goes, then the airport shuts down again. 


Our Helicopter

A little while later our helicopters arrive, we pile in, and off we go. 

Squeezing In

It was a really fun ride to Kathmandu, a memorable experience.  The helicopters were the last thing out of the airport that day, for several days in fact.  


One Of Our Other Helicopters

Later, back home, there were news reports of thousands of people stranded in Lukla for a week or more.  Executives were paying a small fortune to get airlifted out so they could get back to work. 

Terraced Fields
We were fortunate that our staff was quick-thinking enough to get us out when they did.
Approaching Kathmandu

Back in Kathmandu, we all go on a trip to the rug factory run by Tshering, whose family runs the Hotel Tibet.  It is in the Tibetan section of town, near the Boudanath Temple.  We spend some time looking at rugs, then head over to the temple.  I spent most of time buying a gong, so I don't get to see the temple for very long.  But I do get the gong.

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