Sunday 14 October 2018.
Highlights: Exploring Kathmandu streets, meeting Tour Group
Today at 5.30 pm the G Adventure Tour High Road to Tibet began but before that I got a chance to explore a little in unfamiliar surroundings. First I visited the roof of the hotel to get a sense of the location which only helped a little.
Once on the ground what I quickly learned is the roads and how they are used are similar to Vietnam, maybe not as chaotic but still cars, motorcycles, bikes and people going in all different directions. Something to watch out for but as long as you make predictable movements you won’t be hit.
There were quite a few hawkers around pushing there products but once you made it politely clear you had no interest there mostly left you. It was easier since at first I had no local currency but an ATM fixed that problem. Still it is very hard to determine how much you need, my back up US dollars should cover it if I don’t have enough.
With money it was time for a late breakfast which was nice (toast, scrambled eggs, beans and watermelon juice) which actually felt like lunch as I was still on Hong Kong time (2 hours 15 minutes ahead), if not Melbourne time (5 hours 15 minutes ahead). The time zone here is very unusual been 15 minutes difference, most time zones are either different in hours or 30 minute blocks.
I found several Hindu and Buddhist temples and displays along the streets. Incense was strong in the air.
Having found my way back to the hotel it was time to book my hotel for when returning to Hong Kong. The Regal Hotel Airport that I stay in previously actually has 24 hours room basically you can check in early (but not before 9 am) and you have the room for 24 hours (but not later than 6 pm the next day). Seeing as I’m arriving at 5.55 am I think I need early check in (I’ll use the Cathay Arrivals Lounge until I can check in).
The group meeting started at 5.30 pm and went really long, partially due to the need for everyone to feel out China Visa Application form and partially as our Chief Experience Officer (CEO) / guide Gelu Sherpa had a lot of warnings to give us about the trip ahead. First is was about conditions and altitude sickness which is almost a given that 50%+ will experience when we first get in Tibet. We were promised that when at Roebuck Monastery (5,000 m elevation) we would struggle to get any sleep. Air lips and dehydration altitude can also happen easily. Second was all the restrictions while in Tibet, no Dali Lama discussions or pictures of him for example.
There are 14 people in this group; Tully, Kalyan, Donna, Nadia, Ellen, Helen, Per Sverre, Harmeet, Sam, Hannah, Kyle, James, Kalman and myself. We cover Germany, Norway, USA, Canada, England, Scotland and Australia. First group I’ve ever been on with more men than women. Wide range of ages from early 20s to retirees. At group dinner and while walking the streets their and back I got to know a little about about half the group. Everyone is in positive mind frame and ready for the adventure ahead.