I don’t know about you, but our heart-throbbing experience began as soon as the pilot dropped the plane abruptly to navigate the mountainous territory of Kathmandu International Airport. While we queued up for our visa-on-arrival stamp, we were greeted by a (now when I look back) prelude to an everyday ritual, the transformation of flickering lights to absolute darkness. How long? Depends on your luck. Nonetheless, believed to be an inaccessible Shangri-la once upon a time, you would expect luck to be on your side in Kathmandu.
At the baggage claim area we were surrounded by ardent mountain climbers pulling their equipments off the one and only conveyer belt, garrulous locals greeting friends and family, and nylon duffel bags towering over backpackers, as hundreds of caged chickens “buck bucked” in the background, of what is also the gateway to Mount Everest before heading to Lukla Airport.
Back in 2008, we weren’t exactly spoilt for choice when it came to hotels. We checked in the Hyatt Regency, adapted our disoriented selves to the 1,400m elevation and firmly adhered to strict warnings about boiling tap water before brushing our teeth. At least on day 1. Uh-oh!