Our bags were packed, and we were still unsure whether we should have long or short sleeved shirts for trekking! We have done our training up and down the 'Severn Escarpment'. David says walking the Annapurna Circuit will be a cinch without a guide dog puppy attached to his left arm! The boots were dubbined and David will cooked the ceremonial last roast before we succumb to daal-bhat!
Àbu Dhabi airport is being developed. It is an enormous building site and will not be ready until 2017. That gives a clue as to the extent of the work. If you have ever been through Terminal 3 of the Airport you will know that you can walk clockwise and then anti-clockwise round the main thoroughfare and then twiddle your fingers. Eating is a favourite pastime if you have the money - £6 for an orange juice and pastry! Eventually everyone succumbed to the only useful way to kill time - sleep! There were nine of us travelling with three more to catch up later in the week.
Guess who was bumped up to Business Class! Sandra and David. We tried very hard not to look too smug as we waved to the others struggling to cattle ... sorry..... Economy Class. We tried even harder to look like this was our usual travelling style! We were greeted with a lemon mint drink and a very personal attention to every small detail. Madam and Ssir declined a newspaper.
This was followed by a warm perfumed flannel, socks and eye shades. However, we had already identified a problem. The magazine rack on the back of the seat was too far away! We had to call our personal hostess to pass the books when we needed them! We flew over Dubai Palm Island and that big hotel! We were served nuts and lethal gins and tonic. Forget not drinking during the trek, this particular gin certainly gave us a kick start. Eating business class is not “whack it to them”, it is sedate, considered and “are you ready to eat sir/madam?” We ate a three course meal accompanied by wine, a little warm perhaps, but hey who cares!
Our final descent into Kathmandu was smooth and Nirajan was waiting to greet us all withthe traditional Nepalesewelcome.
The trekkers are coming!
Dubai Palm Island
Nirajan greets the arrivals
Torrential Rain in Kathmandu
We arrived at the same time as Cyclone Hudhud. A deluge of rain in Katmandu became snow higher up in the mountains. Sadly, reports that people had died or were missing in the area of the Annapurna trail were confirmed, but numbers were uncertain. Newspaper reports indicated that the snow had started to melt, and that the weather that had caused the deluge was a freak event. The weather was now hot and stable.
We spent our time in Kathmandu acclimatising in readiness for the trek. Temple steps were used as training runs as was dodging monkeys. Jackie wasn't fast enough to move and was robbed! We weren't fast enough with the catapult!
Food glued us together as a group. We all loved it, especially the lads. We ate Nepalese, hippie style sat on cushions without our shoes on, veggie/vegan, burgers and chilli chips.
We met up with our trek organiser and one of the guides. That night we met the other guide and the porters. We were fit and ready to go, confident the guides and porters would look after us.
Training on the temple steps
Team bonding enjoying Nepali cuisine
Trekkers, guides and porters all fit and ready to go