Day 1: Arriving at Kathmandu

After few weeks of pre-expedition stress, packing stuff up to the last minute before my taxi arrived home (literally) I took a Flydubai flight to Kathmandu where my Everest 2013 Expedition from North Side is set to begin.

I had an awesome time with my friends on Tuesday night, thanks to my beautiful girlfriend, who organized a surprise farewell party at The Six Senses in the Palm Island. She did an amazingly good job contacting most of my best friends in Dubai, although she didn’t know most of them yet. I finished my last hipoxic training session (5800m) on Tuesday around 8pm and I just wanted to go for dinner with her and relaxing for few hours before resuming all preparation work. I parked my car at her place and first thing she did was opening a bottle of beer for me. Then she drove us in my car to that beautiful place and… surprise! Many of my friends were there. Some others joined us as I was getting more and more surprised. The following day I did my packing and she took me for a 90min full body massage at one of the best places in Dubai. What an amazing pre-expedition retreat. She helped me out the following day with my packing up to the last minute before we left to the airport. She has been extremely helpful, running some important errands that saved me a lot of time and stress.

Now that all stress is over, these are the lessons I learned these days:

– Get the ones you love to help you with logistics, you’ll save lots of time and energy and they’ll feel part of the Everest Dream

– Do not leave packing up to the last day. Even if you have everything ready and ticked in your packing list, it’s better to have the duffle bags loaded few days before. This will give you psychological relief and distress.

– Get 3 or 4 days off work before the expedition to run last minute errands calmly, and especially to share time with the ones you love the most…

Today I have arrived at Kathmandu Airport with no surprises. The flight was busy with so many young nepalis coming back home, but I went through immigration smoothly and all my luggage was delivered with not loses or defects. I had to pay around 700AED for 14kg over my 40kg allowance. Very disappointed that I was not allowed to pre-purchase more 😦

One driver from the hotel was waiting with an old Mercedes to pick me up, and I am extremely pleased with the quality of this small boutique style hotel in the middle of the Thamel district in Kathmandu. The lovely american couple who owns and runs the Cortyard Hotel greeted me with an Everest beer, and I was so happy that I did no even checked my room right away. I’ve just enjoyed the company, nice conversation and delicious stake that one of them personally cooked for me. Amazing service… now I understand why our Expedition Leader, Phil Crampton talks wonders about this place. After couple of hours chatting and drinking with them, I moved my tired butt to my room and I have to say that it looks superb, a traditionally decorated suite with plenty of space to even live there for weeks.

I have met few trekkers and climbers over few beers in the garden, but I’m still unsure which one is in my team. I will find that out tomorrow, and we’ll also hold our first Team meeting were I’ll see all of them. I’ve heard there are some issues with the Chinese group visa, so lets see what Phil has to tell us tomorrow…

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