Stuck in a cloud

For the first time in the couple of weeks we have been in the mountains, the weather is not glorious. It is, in fact, far from glorious. It is, in fact, tipping down with rain, and Lukla is inside a big cloud.

This is not good for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t have a chance to top up my tan. Secondly, it means no flights to Kathmandu. This is a problem, as if there are no flights to Kathmandu, we can’t be in Kathmandu to catch our flights home tomorrow.

Consequently we are

  1. Praying to whatever gods we can think of to get rid of the clouds
  2. Checking out how much replacement flights will be
  3. Crying into our lattes at the fake Starbucks

Last year there was a period of a week where there were no flights out of Lukla. Please not again..

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Last minute snagging list…

Apologies for a little delay in recent posts, I assumed that this would be building up to a frenzy in anticipation of our departure. The reality is there is a frenzy of activity, but it is pretty much dealing with all the crap that needs to be dealt with so there isn’t a tsunami of crap when getting back, together with a good old fashioned snagging list

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a snagging list, then you’ve never done any larger scale home improvements or dealt with any kind of builder. It’s basically a “yes, we know it’s not right, we’ll get around to fixing it… eventually… possibly…”  list of faults.

As with any remotely complex enterprise, even though this is not construction, there will always be a snagging list that needs to be worked through. So far they have been relatively painless;

  • Problem – a flight schedule change which meant the return flight from Kathmandu to Delhi arrived 2 hours after the flight to London left
  • Solution – sit gibbering for an hour or so at the thought of another 24 hour delay in Delhi airport. Check other flight options and think about whether to book an alternate return (i.e. spend more money), then find out when calling the travel agent they’ve changed it back again so it’s all ok.
  • Problem – only having 2 hours of ‘government office open’ time to get trekking permits, in the wonderfully labyrinthine bureaucracies of either the Nepal Tourist Board or the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal offices
  • Solution – arrange with a trekking agent to do it for you by email, thereby opening yourself up to all sorts of identity fraud due to the need to email your passport detail page. Spend money to achieve this
  • Problem – realise insurance doesn’t cover trekking over 2000m. We’re going to 5600m
  • Solution – try and read the small print on lots of policies from comparison websites late at night, give up and call a broker in the morning. Spend money.
  • Problem – realise between the departure time of wife & child’s flight to Cyprus and mine to Nepal from Heathrow there is a 13 hour gap.
  • Solution – decide to go separately. Book extra parking. Spend money.
  • Problem – trekking partner Beccy’s hip is sore, worry she won’t be able to trek
  • Solution – hopefully this will calm down. If not, hire donkey / yak / porter,

SPEND MONEY

OK, relatively painless in a kind of spending more money way.

I shall be sending around begging emails shortly, as I still have a distinct lack of people who’ve said they’ll sponsor me who actually have done. It’s NOT THAT DIFFICULT

Apologies in advance if you have.

Training in Paris

Despite it all seeming like a bit of a jolly, I would argue that this weekend’s trip to Paris did actually involve some useful training & toughening up for the trip to Nepal, and thanks to the wonders of technology I’m able to update this blog whilst whizzing through the English countryside courtesy of Virgin’s in train wifi service.

So how did a weekend away to Paris help training, I hear you ask incredulously. Well, for a start there was the yomping.

When packing, we had forgotten to properly check the weather forecast, so having assumed it would be the same cool grey we’d left behind in Blighty we were carrying only warm clothing. It was a bit of a shock arriving to 30+ degrees and blazing sunshine. This was further accentuated by

  • A heavy bag
  • A complete misreading of the metro map
  • A near messianic mission on the part of Chrissie to get to a particular children’s clothes shop, which was only open on the Saturday we arrived (having arrived in the afternoon)

So putting all that into account, I think we can tick off trekking with heavy loads in heat as part of the training plan.

Oh and the hotel room was on the fifth floor, with the kind of caged lift you’d rather not frequent. Particularly as this one had the size and ambience inside of a velvet lined coffin – I think I’ll take the stairs, thank you. Tick off lots of ascent / descent from the training plan.

That out of the way, we had a lovely meal in the evening at a Au Tournebievre, a place I can thoroughly recommend, followed by a lovely lunch at Les Ombres the next day, with a great view of the Eiffel Tower

By this time though the weather had turned a touch – complete deluge and the temperature dropping 15 degrees. Tick off dealing with large changes in climate from preparation list.

Unfortunately, later that afternoon it appeared I’d caught something nasty, which as the day wore on turned into something very nasty. Let’s just say it was the gastric equivalent of hurricane Katrina rather than Katia, and rated a 7 on the disarmingly blunt Bristol Stool Scale.

This pretty much put the kibosh on plans to go to Chair de Poule, a cafe / bar of a cousin of the legendary Paperjam, whom I spent a pleasant (drunken) evening with a couple of years back during a banger race around Europe. Probably a good thing really, as it is in the achingly hip Oberkampf part of Paris, so my middle aged paunch is probably not welcome.

So, interesting intestinal diseases also ticked off the list of possible challenges to cope with.

I’m still feeling ropey now, and not sure where it came from. Possibly a steak tartare too far?