Recon Trip for Jordan in Himalaya

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Recon Trip for Jordan in Himalaya

Team Sole makes it to the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. All our bags, well
fed, ‘rested’ and ready for some adventure.

5am wakeup in Big Bear. Beto takes us to LAX, just in time. 5 bags,
50lbs each, plus all the carry one we are allowed (or not allowed).

American Airlines from LAX is one of the things in life we dread. By
far, the rudest and most unprofessional people I know of in any, ANY
field. A micro snag in our itinerary and we are given an unbelievable
runaround. Long story short, emails and faxes fly, we get on board with
out a minute to spare.
Overcrowded flight to Chicago with old tired flight attendants, and all
is good.
We get our last burrito and phone calls during a 3 hour layover, and
it’s onto Delhi.
Nonstop, 14 hours on the button. K and I had a whole row to ourselves,
nice (did I say nice on American Airlines?) service. Any other time I
would have said wasted, but I ‘spent’ 3 hours ‘watching’ Benjamin
Button. Don’t run out and get it, wait for a 10hr plus int’l flight to
see it.

12 hours overnight stay in Delhi airport was going to be rough. Until,
we bought our way into a business lounge (of which we had no business in
with our ultra cheap wholesale ticket), and got food, cocktails, tv,
couches, wifi, and ‘some’ sleep before our 1.5 hour to Kathmandu.

Sat next to an awesome guy, in his 60′s, Nepalese service man had just
spent 1.5 years in Afghanistan working security for US and British
forces. He was going home to see his family, and stay home for good. He
invited us to his home, in western Nepal. Super cool guy.

We’re met in KTM (further here more abbreviation for Kathmandu) by a
Team SOLE sign and a young guy named Basu. Some chat with a local
service on email arranged this ride and a hotel for us. Very nice start
to it all.

90 seconds from leaving the airport….we are neck deep in gridlock, 4m
wide streets with more horns, sheep, noise, color, smiles and exhaust,
than I can possibly put in words.

20 minutes it takes us for the 2 mile drive to our hotel, a dusty (at
one point in time ‘nice’) hotel, dark wood-cheap marble and low light.
Guys haul our bags up the 4 levels to our spacious room, I snap on the
11″ tv in time to catch CNN and see Obama mad visit to Baghdad. Read a
few int’l newspapers on the flights. He’s more liked and popular than
Brad Pitt, and those are not in my words. Thank heaven.

We’re changed, washed up and heading out into the streets.

It’s 1pm, it’s 28c/80f, sun is blazing…and we are in sensory overload.
You have to watch in front, behind and each side to keep from getting
hammered by fast moving motorcycle/scooter/rickshaw/taxi/car/cow/sheep
and who knows what else. There I no sidewalks, everyone and everything
is in the street. Pictures to come.

Man, we just left our chalet, in the forest, sitting by the evening
fire, not a sound to be had but the wood crackling, sitting in our
slippers and fleece…and now we are in the heart of central Asia
overpopulated metropolis.

We meet with a guide service to chat up some options. You see, we JUST
learned Tibet JUST reopened…and we not have more options to look at
for our recon, for Jordan’s big trip here next year. So, we have chat,
cold beer, and we sit down to a garden lunch with some authentic
food…and chat Nepalese politics and learn about stuff. Strolling the
streets now, priced some rope and fuel…and then we head to the clinic.

Things get interesting. Of all things, I’ve postponed getting care for a
nagging knee injury, still resulting from the Abu Dhabi race were I
pulled my quad on hour 3 of the 25 hour run we did. I have some issues
in the lateral part of my knee that has me near scream when getting up
from a squat, and such. I’m not too worried, I’m planning on trekking
and climbing regardless. Heck, I just did a mtn bike race last week, and
did a 6000′ ascent straight up Whitney with 50+lbs 2 weeks ago. I’m good
to go. Well, this 2 day travel…wrecked some havoc, and the soreness is
at a new level.

LONG story short, I am so glad (thus far) that I came to a third world
country to get healthcare. I just spent about 10% of what I would have
at home, we just walked in, and met a ‘top’ orthopedic surgeon, who
spent more than 2 hours with assessment, Xrays then steroid
injection….and I’m feeling better and very optimistic. This place is
called, CIWEC Clinic, and just happens to be on of the worlds most
respected travel medicine centers. Warm friendly people that took care
of me in flash, and did not try to burn me for hundreds of dollars. We
have something to learn from this.

Back to the hotel. We are beat, and starved. Got some room service, and
enjoyed it by candlelight. Oh yeah, 16 hours of rolling blackout here in
KTM. Generally, no electricity. All of what you’ve just read,
essentially happened in one day, at least one w/out quality sleep.

Just awoken by Ravens and a few horns just prior to sunset.
BIG day ahead of us, with big decisions and actions to happen. Stay
tuned.

Going fast, taking chances.

P and K

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