Tuesday, April 29, 2008

1st Day's Trek

Tuesday, April 29
The trek to Mt. Everest has begun! We took a small prop plane from Kathmandu to Lukla on Yeti Airlines. It was a short forty minute flight with a very interesting landing at the Lukla Airport as the runway was built into a mountain - a cliff on one side and a rock wall on the other of the short landing strip.
Our hike to Phakding was not difficult at all, as we ended at a lower elevation than what we started. Lukla is at 9315 feet and Phakding, at 8600 feet. It took us four hours, including a lunch stop. The view is outstanding. The Himalayas are beautiful and much more majestic than the Swiss Alps.
We will spend the night at Phakding in the front of a tea house in tents preparing for our ascent to Namche in the morning.

Adam and Sabrina's wedding

On 4-28-08, Adam and Sabrina got married in a traditional Sikh wedding in Kathmandu. They wore traditional dress. That evening, there was a reception in a 5-star hotel by the pool. In all, it was a beautiful event and we wish them the best together!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Sunday-Monday, April 27-28
I've had the Bob Seger song in my head ever since we left for India, and it just intensified once we arrived in Delhi.

"That's why I'm going to Katmandu. Up to the mountain's where I'm going to. .... If I ever get out of here, I'm going to Katmandu."

Well, we are here! We arrived around noon yesterday and were greeted by Sabrina's parents, our trekking guides, and the hotel representative at the airport with flower leis. A short bus trip through part of the city brought us to the Hotel Manaslu, a very nice and unique hotel with many charming Nepal qualities. Adam and Sabrina have been here for a few days now making wedding preparations (they get married today) so we hung out in the back couryard drinking Chai and getting caught up with their recent activities.

After lunch at the Hotel we wandered out into the streets of Kathmandu and walked a few miles to a local Bazaar. It was unique in that this was not a Bazaar used to attract tourists, but a local trading spot for daily goods. The people here are very welcoming to tourists and it is fun to engage in conversations. The little school boys and girls are very excited to practice their English with us, and I am surprised with their knowledge of the States including past Presidents and State capitals.

For dinner the group went to a nearby restaurant for outstanding Indian cuisine. It was fantastic.

You could tell that many of us were getting pretty tired and were still recovering from the long trip in the past few days, so it wasn't long before it was lights out to recover some more.

Which brings me to this morning. The big event today will be participating in Adam and Sabrina's wedding. We are all looking forward to it.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

From New York to New Delhi

It has been a long day but the group has arrived in New Delhi, India.

Thirteen of us converged on New York City from various locations including Houston, Minneapolis, Denver, and Chicago. The Houston contingent had an eight hour layover which allowed us to go into New York City for the day. We ate pizza at Times Square, went to Ground Zero to see the progress in construction of Freedom Tower, walked to Wall Street to make a few day trades (ok, we didn't actually day trade), and walked to Battery Park along the cherry blossoms to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. The weather was perfect and it was a beautiful day to spend in New York. Back to the airport.

Thankfully no one in our group had significant delays getting into New York and we pressed on to New Delhi. It was a long flight; 13.5 hours. After several naps, movies, books/magazines, meals, and chatting in the isle we arrived in New Delhi excited to be in India! The taxi ride to the hotel was very interesting. Makes driving in Houston (or New York for that matter) look easy. I was surprised our luggage stayed on top of the car!

It is already past 11:00pm (we are 10.5 hours ahead of central time in the United States) so we are all heading to bed and looking forward to going to Kathmandu in the morning.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

DJ's first segment

I've departed Houston! A few people have already left for Nepal.  I'm in Chicago and will be meeting up with the rest of the group tomorrow when most of us will be converging in New York for our flight out of the country. 

Being a Chicago native I had to leave some stuff here since my little sister gets married two days after I get back to the states... Or if flights gets messed up she'll get married while I'm gone and will hear about it for the rest of my life...

Bags are packed, NY tomorrow, India the day after, and Nepal the day after that. Yee ha!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Six Days and Counting

I can tell you after being with many members of the group that we are all very excited to begin our trip. It seemed so long ago we were starting our preparation with the thought of traveling to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest so far in the future. Time has passed quickly and it is surreal that in less in a week our trip truly begins.

To give you a glimpse of the main activity we have done in the past four months preparing for the trip, I’ll give a top level summary. The first items to take care of were making sure our passports were current, confirming our flight reservations, and getting the appropriate VISA's (India and Nepal) for the travel. Some of the other preparation included making sure we had the necessary equipment for the hike and camps (some of the camping will be in sub-zero temperature), getting updated immunizations, and exercising.

Out of all these preparations the equipment and exercise are crucial to keeping us happy and healthy on the trip and have been a large part of our planning activity. Our hike will span a wide variety of temperatures – morning and evenings will be cold but the day time can be warm at high altitude. Layering is the best approach to keep comfortable, warm, and dry. Whether there is sun or rain, all of this is taken into consideration when putting together the list of clothing articles and gear to bring.

Many of us have been exercising on our own but several members of the group have also been hiking stairs with full packs and hiking boots. This is a great relevant exercise that quickly gets the heart beating! We have also hiked outside on trails, but since many of us live in Houston, it is hard to find any elevation to challenge us.

Well, I’ll close this blog for now but hope we will have the opportunity to update it during our trip for those interesting in following our adventure.