April 2, 2014

April 2, 2014

I arrived in Kathmandu on March 31st after two days of traveling. Long and tiring but not as bad as I though as I was able to sleep well on the long 12.5 hour flight from LA to Seoul, Korea. We flew on a new jet called the A380 which I guess it’s also called the super jumbo jet. It has two  complete levels of seats. Economy is all in the lower level. The seats were more comfortable than older planes and since the whole flight was in the dark I got some good sleep!

The 25+ hours of travel helped me begin the transition from the really stressful state I was in the last two weeks in Colorado trying to do a million things to get ready for Everest and leave both my businesses in order (music and mountain guiding) to minimize loss of income as much as possible! It was a rough two weeks with too much to do. I wasn’t able to start earlier because I traveled to Argentina to guide the Andes Survivors trip and then to Mexico to guide a third volcanoes expedition this season. A trip to Sweden and a quick trip to San Diego with my band to play a very fun and special wedding! All this traveling had left just 12 days to get ready for Everest and do way too many things that needed to be done before the expedition began, including figuring out how to fundraise enough to pay for the $42,500 cost of the logistics which could not be paid by credit card! I had really intense days where it looked like I would have no way to make the payments but as if this was “meant to be” all the donors came through with incredible donations and my brother Horacio bailed me out with a huge loan that I needed, to have enough money in the bank so that my rent and utilities would be paid while I was gone for two months!

Now, 5 days after I left, I am finally relaxed and feeling great, healthy, and focused on enjoying and performing at my best on this Everest expedition!

My 6.5 hour flight from Seoul to Kathmandu was uneventful except for an unusual little friendly interaction. I was sitting on the window and the two seats next to me were open. Finally at the end of the boarding process a young, attractive Nepali girl sat next to the aisle. As I moved a few things around to make room for her to use the middle seat for her stuff she asked me in broken English if she could sit next to me…sure! I said…a bit confused! “That’s a bit odd” I thought. “Maybe it’s just for the take off because she wants to see Seoul from the air” but no! She sat there the whole 6.5 hour flight!

Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with a young pretty girl wanting to sit next to me, but she had almost lost her voice and had a rough dry cough going and all I could think of was: “the last thing I need just before Everest is a nasty virus!”

That was awkward! The worse thing was that she was really sweet and friendly. We couldn’t really talk much because she spoke just a bit of English and I speak zero Nepali! But she was really friendly the whole flight giving me her peanuts, her ice cream dessert from her dinner and I swear, almost treating me as if she was the host and I was her guest! Helping me with the food tray, moving things around so I would be more comfortable, and all sorts of nice gestures!

She was so sweet and nice that I couldn’t do anything! What could I do? Say, “hmm, can you move over?” Or change my seat? But there really weren’t that many options! She was very sweet but it was quite strange.

I was very polite to her and I felt very grateful with all the little details she did including at the end telling me If I needed anything in Nepal she and her family would be glad to help me and giving me a few Nepali bills as a gift: a $500 and a $100 rupee note which is about 7 dollars. She wished me good luck on Everest. I helped her with her heavy carry on and in immigration we went our separate ways.

Kind of a strange odd little story isn’t it? She was 23 years old flying to Nepal to see her family and friends for a few weeks after 3 years of working in Korea without a chance to visit. She gave me her email in case I needed anything while in Nepal!

 It was an awfully friendly welcome to Nepal and I still don’t quite get it…did she think I was rich? Maybe! Who can afford Everest?! But I did explain to her that I was a musician and guide and that I was lucky to receive most of the cost of Everest in donations!!

So far I have found people here very friendly (not as much as her but very nice everywhere).



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