Practice Run No.3: Returning to Kathmandu

In Practice Run No.3by Steve

Kathmandu – Almost Two Decades On and Still Just as I Remember

Arrived in Kathmandu last night. Today was a rest day, meet and greet with other team members, checking and double checking gear, and a touch of sight seeing.

The last time I was in Kathmandu I was only 16 years old. It was my first big trip overseas. When I say first, I had previously lived in Fiji for three years when I was an infant, but I have no memory of those early years, only the stories my parents have told me, so I am not sure if that counts. Anyway, it is fascinating to see what Kathmandu looks like now, some 18 years on.

When I was last here, it was a real eye opener for me. The city was a chaotic grid of dirty, dusty streets clogged with the continuous buzz of scooters and rusted out old mini-vans pumping out copious amounts of black soot and pollution. It was in stark contrast to the quiet, privileged suburbs of Sydney’s North Shore, with its’ green tree lined streets filled with mothers driving around in luxury Range Rovers, dropping their little darlings off at private school before heading out for their morning yoga session, followed by a latte at the local coffee shop with their girlfriends. Ok, I am stereotyping now, but you get the picture.  That trip opened my eyes to the real world and made me realise just how lucky we are in Australia. It put my first world problems as an Australian teenager into perspective, and made me appreciate my fortunate upbringing (even if I was never chauffeured around in a Range Rover).

Nearly two decades on and things haven’t changed that much. People are wondering around with smart phones in hand and restaurants advertise Wi-Fi but apart from that, Kathmandu is still pretty much as I remember. And I’m still complaining about my first world problems.

Anyway, tomorrow we fly to Lukla and begin the trek to Ama Dablam base camp. If you have ever seen “Worlds Most Dangerous Airports” on discovery channel, then chances are you would have seen Lukla airport. Last time I was here we got a chopper in so didn’t experience the trill of landing on the precarious airstrip. This time we are getting a small fixed wing plane in. Should be fun.

“Go with the decision that will make for a great story…..”