We spent our first night in Lukla wandering around town - actually that would be late afternoon, as none of us can stay awake past 8:00 pm.
We had a happy hour drink at the Irish pub, which was formerly a Starbucks - their coffee mugs still have the Starbucks logo on it. Copyright laws don’t seem to mean much here, although I understand the Venti Yak milk Latte is excellent at the Lukla location.
This morning we set off on a five hour hike and made it to 3,500 metres or 11,400 feet. This will be the elevation the helicopters will drop us to on Saturday, so we have a good head start on the rest of the team, who are scheduled to arrive tomorrow.
Speaking of helicopters, our lodge is adjacent to the helipad (our room is less than 100 feet from the landing area) so we are bombarded with periodic noise when the helicopters come and go.
We also got to see an aborted take off from the runway this morning. Apparently the co-pilot, who was inexperienced, panicked and started steering the plane into the mountain. The pilot managed to stop the plane short of the end of the runway. When we returned from our hike, the plane and its passengers had left, so alls well that ends well. Except for the co-pilot, who has been grounded for a month.
Tomorrow we meet our team and lead guide, Kevin. So far our local guide, Pinjo, has been great.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain