Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lobuche & Cholatse Oct 12: Kathmandu Again!

Saddhus at Pashupatinath
Packing has become my least favorite thing in the world to do. I seem to leave it until the last minute every trip these days. Too many things to choose from probably making it way too difficult!

Departing Denver, when you have 4 pairs of Scarpa shoes, a variety of Marmot down, 3 Pairs of CASSIN tools and and a new Reactor stove, it takes this many bags to get here. 
In the Kathmandu airport yesterday a man was wandering around through the visa line, not Nepali but Belgium. He was looking for the girl standing in front of me in the two hour long line. He had arrived a few days before and just walked into the airport, past security, past baggage claim and past the desk where you get your visa. He wandered around calling out her name in the hall filled with over two full flights that arrived at the same time. They reunited, hugged - I thought sex was not out of the question right then and there they way they gyrated with excitement - and then he headed past the visa desk and down the stairs. That is how you know you are back in Kathmandu, anything goes really. She waited patiently with the rest of us, got her visa and bags and everybody flooded out onto the streets to go their own way. A sea of confusion all with a purpose.
A view from the visa line, on a much much quieter day.

I have done the same thing to pick up clients before, rules in Kathmandu are for personal interpretation it seems.

I went out to run errands, saw the barbers I have been using for over 15 years, saw staff at my favorite coffee shop, saw the same shop keepers that have known me for so long and then stood at the "four corners of the world" - close to the general market a few meters form the Kathmandu Guest House. I have a theory that if you stand there for a short time you will bump into people you know. Sure enough, less then ten minutes passed and Ivan Vallejo walked up to say "hi". From Ecuador he finished off all 14 a few years ago, and we climbed together around the turn of the century, we were the "rabbits" on K2 in 2000, trying for a speed ascent. We bump into each other in seemingly the most random places, Kahiltna Glacier this spring, Kathmandu, etc. But there is rhyme and reason to the transmigration of alpinists globally. Sept/Oct is to Nepal for everyone.

Thamel, just a few steps from the "four corners of the universe"
Thamel is busy, very busy, reminds me of the late 1990s busy. Ivan told me he and some Peruvians had been to a new dance club that I had to see, I would not believe it was Kathmandu any more. Gone are the days of Tom and Jerry's and Maya Cocktail bar. Change is good, this town could use a shake up. The streets are still getting widened - the government decided 40 years ago to make the streets wider to accommodate the increase in cars, and then last summer finally got around to demolishing anything that crossed the demarcation set at that time. It is causing heartache, and a bunch of traffic jams. A "5 year project" probably more like a 20 year project.

Some of my favorite people, Matt and Dee - I was his best man at their wedding a few years ago, are in town, they just returned from a Chora of Kailash, so much for all the rumors of Tibet being closed. Roger arrives this afternoon and hopefully the adventure to Lukla starts early tomorrow morning. We are off to climb Lobuche East and then Cholatse. More fun in the Khumbu!!! Time to run around Kathmandu finishing off all the food shopping!

Statue in the garden of the hotel