Day 20 Lukla to Kathmandu, Saturday May 18, 2013

I awaken before my alarm before the sun has risen.  Before putting on my glasses I look towards the window and my heart sinks………… it looks like fog to the ground.  I put on my glasses and look again and realize it is steam on the window and when I clean the window, there is glorious clear sky still indigo blue or pre-dawn.  Hallelujah!  Flights will be operating today and ours is the first flight!
I bound out of bed with limitless energy and get ready and pack my bag for the last time.  Bikesh knocks on the tour and we just grin at each other – we are getting our flight today!  Thank you to my Mom in heaven who is always looking out for me!!
The mood is very jovial as we meet in the dining room for breakfast and watch the sun hit the peaks with fresh caps of snow.  What a beautiful sight.  Amazing what the sun does for the spirit, especially after so many days of gloom and drizzle.  It is close to the monsoon season so it is to be expected though!
A precisely 10 minutes to 6 Bikesh declares it is time to head to the airport.  Tshiri & Ishower have rejoined us for this short walk.  They are all smiles; Ishower as he is returning to Kathmandu with us and Tshiri as he is starting his 2 day journey back down to his village.
When we arrive at the airport, it is once again organized chaos and I notice two long lines of people and then a short one with Bikesh & our luggage at the front – how does he do that?  Once we are checked in, we find out how he does it – he knows who to form allegiances with and to tip them well.  Charles just smiled and said – he’s the man!  The young lady that owns the teahouse we stayed in was helping us get our bags on and checked in first.  Bikesh let out a whoop when we received our boarding passes and very proudly pointed to the number 1 on the pass.  That means first flight out no matter what time it arrives.  In most airports this wouldn’t be a big deal, but here in Lukla when you could be stranded for days by the weather this is momentous!
After saying our goodbyes to Tshiri – gosh we will miss him, his laugh, his dancing and his music – we head into the boarding area and wait.  Around 6:15am a siren sounds and Bikesh’s eyes and grin are huge – the plane is enroute.  About 1/2 hour later not only 1 but 4 aircraft land and in a matter of minutes they are unloaded, reboarded and we take off 10 minutes before schedule.  We are on our way.
The flight was quite smooth and the day was glorious.  Behind us clouds were forming so I pray that many others got out before the end of the day.  We landed and were at the Kathmandu Guest House before 9am.  It was like coming home.  The hotel is so welcoming and friendly and a great place to stay.
We relaxed for a few hours and then Bikesh came to take us to a monastery that was only open on Saturdays.  He has never been there so the adventure would carry on.  We took taxi part of the way and it in itself was an adventure – it was ok for Bikesh and I as we are so short but a bit torturous for tall guys like Spencer & Charles.  Thankfully it was only for a short period of time.
We hiked over an hour up to the top of the hill that the monastery was situated on.  Both Charles & I are feeling pretty good, however it is now Spencer’s turn.  The monastery was gorgeous however it was too hazy for a good view of the city.  We took our time coming down and then realized that Spencer was not well we quickly got a taxi and back to the hotel.  Spencer stayed in bed the balance of the evening, Charles rested still nursing his stomach and I went over to the New Orleans cafe and had an early dinner.

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