Friday, March 30, 2012
Arrival in Kathmandu
The entry line to process the visa application was one hour and 45 minutes! Then it took 15 minutes to locate my two bags in the huge heap of luggage. Once outside its the attack of the taxi men. "Need a taxi?", "Taxi, Sir?", "Best taxi, can I take your bags?',...
Some random guy comes me. "Mr. Kurt?" Immediately I'm not sure if this is the guide service's man in Nepal or another hustler that might have read my name off my bag. He looks a little young. My suspicions are mostly gone when he mentions the actual name of the man in Nepal, Jiban. He grabs one of my bags then pulls me off the side of the flow of people traffic where he stacks my two bag and says "wait here." I'm thinking that he is going to bring the van around, but instead he comes back with a cell phone and hands it to me - Jiban.
I can't understand much of what Jiban says but I gather that the guy and what now looks like three of his buddies are either going to drive me to the hotel or take me to a hotel shuttle van. They grab my two bags and after talking to some the taxi men for a bit, head off across the small parking lot. I follow them over to a van marked Yak and Yeti Hotel. The driver tells me that he is going to take me to the hotel after we wait for another passenger. The two guys that carried my bags over are now asking me for money. The smallest bill I have is a ten and that was no way $10 worth of portering. I say, "I don't have any small bills, sorry." And they say "Give us twenties!" So I'm like no way, here's a ten, split it, now beat it.
With my gear loaded in the van, I wait. After a while, the driver wanders off. About a half hour later, he comes back closes all the doors, starts it up and we take off for the hotel. ? I'm wondering what happened to this other person we were waiting for. After a little bit, his cell phone rings, he pulls over, talks for a bit, and then makes a U turn and heads back to airport. And we pick up the other person. Okay. And then finally we are actually on the way to the hotel.
The city streets are insane. Lot's of garbage, rubble, people everywhere, cars, trucks, motorcycles all over the road. Chaos in motion (mostly). I saw a cow going down the road and cars were beeping at him.
At the hotel Yak and Yeti I was met by Joe from Alpine Ascents. I got checked in, bags to my room (another $10!), and now on the Interwebs.
Planning to head down to the lobby in about 20 minutes to say hello to Garrett and the guides as they will be having a guide meeting.
My roommate and great friend, Steve Richards, who I first met and shared accommodations with on my Aconcagua climb in January 2010. will be arriving a bit later this evening then I think we are all going to dinner.
More on the hotel itself later.