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Off to Nepal
by Denis Oakley in

Packing was quite a last minute affair as I sought to get everything together. I had a few beers and meandered towards bed at midnight. The alarm was set for 0400. Whoops. Shortly after 0200 Maya came in and started kicking me in the head. Great. I loved her utterly and getting stressed about being woken up never happened.

Up at 0400 for a quick shower and a cuppa - thanks Joyce and then into the car for the drive to the airport. I think Ken thought I was still pissed froom the night before - at any rate he didn't let me drive. Along the way I realised that I hadn't actually looked at the plane tickets for a few weeks, nor did I have a copy of them easily accessible. I thought about getting stressed and looking for them but decided not to bother. I was going to be at the airport for 0530 and could sort everything out there and then - or not. Knowing now wouldn't help matters.

It turned out that I'd remembered the flight details wrong and had an extra 20 minutes more time than expected.  Sweet. I spent the time texting Senay, then talking to her, buying a notebook - as my iPhone doesn't work here and having some noodle soup. It tasted crap because of the altitude drugs I started taking just before. Great.

Onto the plane - had a joke with the x-ray security and left them with my belt accidentally. Then was upgraded to business class. Which was cool. Also a bit of a relief as the plane was full of migrant workers looking at me like a lion in the zoo. I was the only white guy.

Had a nice chat with some Malaysians who were going trekking. They were quite awed with what I was dfoing which was a bit embarassing. Maybe I inspire them. Probably not though :D

As I exited from the airport I failed to see the big sign saying Denis Oakley - Everest Marathon and caught a taxi to the hotel. The hotel was faffing so I left them with my bags and headed out to buy a mobile and sim card together with a few other bits and pieces.

It's unusual nowadays to go back to a capital city after almost a decade and say it hasn't changed. Kathmandu hasn't. Which is very depressing. Some of the shops have moved upmarket - but I saw a number of children Maya's age with dirty feet begging.

I had a few emotional moments as I orientated myself in Thamel and a whole rush of memories from my last visit surfaced. Places I stayed, girls I met, beers I'd drunk. I left them as memories and tried some new places.

In one I had lunch with a Nepali chap called Rabi - aged 19. He was trying to figure out what to do with his life and make money. I spent a few minutes telling him about competitive advantage and differentiation. In simple words. It might take - but even so he's going to have huge problems breaking free from the competitive pressures of a huge generation of young men identical to him.

After lunch I went to the hairdresser. He wasn't so good. Spent most of his time trying to persuade me that I needed a girlfriend, I spent the time happily persuading him that I had a wife who was also a girlfriend - which kind of confused him..

He was an amazing masseuse. I sat in the barber's chair and had him do really strange things to my rib and back - pinching rather than pressure. I felt very good when it was all over. Grabbed a bottle of water and headed off to find a mobile.

In most countries you can find a mobile and sim pretty easily. In Turkey the last country I visited it took about 5 minutes and a wave of a credit card. In Nepal it took passport copies, thumb prints, singantures across the phot on the application form and about 3 hours and visits to upwards of 30 shops. Jeez. Texted Senay at once to say that I was here and safe.

And then back to the hotel. They'd lost my kit, changed my room and goodness whatever else. Feet hurt so I left them to it and headed out to the pool for a beer and supper. Unfortunately got caught by the organiser who told me about the 0530 flight tomorrow and needed to fill out more forms and get more copies of my passport.  I'd apparently missed the race briefing as well. Hey ho. I guess I'll pick it up over the next 10 days or so.

I'm probably ony going to be able to blog for the next couple of days before we get out of mobile and internet coverage - indeed out of electricity coverage. I will try though


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