We were up at 5:00 am this morning for our flight to Lukla. After spending an hour in the waiting area watching Bollywood dance movies (I think Dante needs to add these movies as another circle of hell), we were driven in a bus to the tarmac.
Along the way, our luggage was hitched to the bus in what looked like a large shopping cart (an interesting but effective way to make sure your luggage doesn’t go on another flight) and after driving around the whole airport twice, we reached our airplane, a Dornier 220.
We waited another 40 minutes in the plane before taking off - a scant 25 minutes later we were on approach to Lukla. Please google Lukla airport to see what the runway actually looks like (or see below) - it is on the side of a cliff in a small valley. The airplane can’t descend quickly enough to land directly in such a tight valley, so the pilot has to make a tight turn to lose enough altitude to make the landing.
Anyway, we hit the ground running and made a rather quick stop (the runway is steeply uphill).
We were met by one of our guides and checked into our accommodation (aptly named Paradise Lodge) and shortly thereafter went on a three hour acclimatization hike - maximum height 10,500 feet.
We will be in Lukla for another 2 days, acclimatizing and waiting for the rest of the team to arrive on Friday.
“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