I threatened to blog about my trip to Australia and then I completely wimped out. There’s something about blogging that I found weird and completely intimidating, so I simply didn’t do it. However, the number of times something happened that I wanted to tell someone back home about and then forgot, combined with the fact that I’m a big proponent for getting out of your comfort zone as much as possible, lead me to (yet again) tell a bunch of people I’d blog about my trip to Nepal and my year in New Zealand. This time I’m making good on that promise. So Ramon I hope you’re reading this – you may be the only one 😉
When I first said that I’d blog about Nepal there was a part of me that thought “I’m going on a trek… so basically I’m just walking for 14 days. What could possibly happen that’d be worth talking about?” In hindsight, that was one of the dumbest thoughts I’ve ever had, second only to the time that I thought it was a good idea to split an entire bottle of tequila with a friend in one night.
Most of you know I was there for the earthquake and got stranded a few extra days. I’ll eventually get to that part; it’s important to me, and for me, to tell you how amazing everything was up until that point though. Nepal is gorgeous and the trek to basecamp ended up being, to date, my favorite thing I’ve ever done. In fact it was all so overwhelmingly awesome that I won’t be covering the trip in one blog post. Brace yourselves for a novel about my trip to Nepal, delivered in multiple short installments.
Installment 1: Getting There.
I flew out of Boston and was headed to a 12 hr layover in Ireland. I was under the impression that if my bags were checked all the way through to Nepal, I couldn’t just leave the airport in Ireland. I figured in order to do that they’d want me to collect all of my bags and go through customs with them, and then I’d have the task of finding a place to store them before heading in to Dublin, so I had resigned myself to just chillin in the airport for those 12 hours. That I was sure would feel like an eternity. I’m about to have my ticket scanned and head towards my gate and the woman pulls the ticket away before it scans through and this conversation transpires:
Woman with my ticket: You have like, 12 hours until your flight, are you sure you want to check in now? Why not take the bus into the city for a bit? There’s nothing to do at the airport…
Me: Wait… what? I CAN DO THAT?! My bags are already checked through, does that matter?
Woman with my ticket: Nah, doesn’t matter. People do it all the time – the bus runs just outside, you’ll be in the city in 15 or so minutes. Go ahead, have fun.
Me: You’re my favorite person in the world right now. Thank you.
And then I got a little turned around in the airport and couldn’t figure out how to get out. Thankfully this really kind soul took pity on me and came over and said “You look lost… are you American?” I tried not to take offense to the correlation he clearly made between the two, because he was 100% correct on both accounts. He pointed me in the right direction and I was finally out of the airport and on my way in to the city.
This would be the first of three times that someone approached me in Ireland to ask if I wanted help. I never asked for directions, people just kept asking me if I needed them. Which made me wonder if everyone in Ireland really is that kind, or if it was just that I looked so incredibly lost and confused that everyone was legitimately concerned about me. I like to think they’re all just really kind. 🙂
At any rate, I was able to jump on the free wifi before I left the airport and get in touch with my friend Aishling who lives in Dublin. I hadn’t seen her in quite some time and was ecstatic that we were able to meet up at a Starbucks for some coffee. Which then turned into lunch and a few beers! The pub we went to was already playing live music; proper Irish pub songs, and ironically at one point they were singing about Boston!
It was awesome to see my friend, and even though it was just a few hours that I was there, I really REALLY loved Ireland.
Then it was on to my layover in Abu Dhabi. I wasn’t a big fan of this airport, and I definitely had my grumpy pants on while I was there. I’d been in transit for a while by this point, my carry on bags were feeling heavy, it was hot, and I was hungry. Wah.
Before I came across food, I came across a bar… and decided that was good enough. A few Stella’s later and after some good conversation with fellow travelers, I almost missed my flight to Kathmandu. I was the last person on the shuttle bus from our gate to the plane – whoops.
I made it though, and was finally flying in to Kathmandu. I was looking out my window at the most breathtaking snow capped mountain ranges I had ever seen, and realized that I’d fallen in love with Nepal and my plane hadn’t even landed yet.
Eventually it did land though, and I was picked up at the airport by one of the guides from the trekking company we had used. I was joking around with him and chatting while we waited for them to pull the car around, and he says “It was your friends I picked up yesterday and the day before… yeah?” “From Australia and New Zealand? Yeah I’m with them!” was my reply. He started laughing and informs me that they’re waiting for me at the hotel, and already drinking.
The ride to the hotel was long. Not just because I was anxious to join everyone, but also because I had ALL of my luggage that I would be moving to New Zealand with, and my snowboard; which was pushed through the trunk, over the back seat, and also over and then into the front seat of the car. And was falling all over the place at every turn. I gave them a really good tip for that ride because I felt like such a douche about it. Turns out this will not be the last time that having my snowboard with me proved to be a ginormous pain in the ass. More on that later.
I finally arrived at the hotel, and our enthusiastic and excited reunion caused a bit of a scene. It was SO great to finally see Mike, Ang, and PJ again and give them each massive hugs. I got my luggage up to my room and then went to join them and have some beer and catch up.
I texted my mom to let her know I landed. Then a little while later we texted her this picture just to be assholes. 🙂
Parents will always worry about their children no matter how old they get. In the same way that their children will always give them a reason to worry 😉
Side note: the picture was staged. I did not actually get fall down drunk.
We decided we’d get dinner soon, however we kept getting so caught up in conversation that it was a solid hour or two (and a few beers) later before we finally left the hotel in search of food.
I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to that night, but it was my first introduction to mo mo’s. They’re like steamed dumplings, but better, and I proceeded to order them with every meal I got after that first night.
They also gave us free shots of this rice wine stuff. Don’t let the name fool you. It is NOT wine. It’s basically their version of saki. In their language, when they said the name of it, it sounded like they were saying “rocket fuel” which was completely appropriate as far as I was concerned. Never again.
Then we went back to the hotel and I had the best shower and sleep that I had had in a long time.
Check back here in a few days for Installment 2: Getting sick in Kathmandu!