Well today has been pretty good.
I didn't get much sleep last night as I have caught the bug that has been going around the bus. Sore throat, stuffed up nose and not being able to breathe properly doesn't exactly aid good sleep and there's a few of us on the trip who have had it so far.
Anyway after an early rise (0530) again 14 of us met down in the hotel reception and boarded a little minibus and left for Kathmandu airport. On arrival we were given our tickets and after a couple of security checks we were air side and waiting to board our flight. Today was no ordinary flight however as the destination was the same as the departure airport - However the flight itself is extra special, as we were going to fly over the Himalayas and see Mount Everest - weather permitting.
We were all pretty excited as we boarded the small plane. It has one seat on one side on the isle and 2 on the other, but only the window seats are sold, so everyone can get a good view.
We took off just after 7am and climbed up into the sky as the Himalayas rose up on our left hand side. It began to get cloudy and we worried that we wouldn't see anything, but the pilot assured us over the intercom that we would climb above the clouds.
We kept going higher and then the clouds cleared and we could see the tips of the Himalaya mountain range to our side. It was amazing to see and everyone shut up for a while to take in the views and take some photos.
One by one we were invited up to the cockpit to see out of the front of the plane. Chris and Donna were before me. When it was my turn I went up and looked out of the left hand window and there it was - Mount Everest. It was unbelievably beautiful, with clean white snow on the peak and a bit of mist rolling down one side. It does literally take your breath away. Th pilot explained a little about it and the rest of the flight and then after just a minute or so my cockpit tour was over.
On return to my seat the rest of the Ozbussers went up one by one - Bev was after me followed by Becky, Frankie, Isabelle, Debbie, Kenneth and Liv. As we turned for home the mountain appeared on my side and I just stared at it for a while. I don't mind admitting that it was quite emotional for me seeing the highest peak on earth and I didn't want to leave it behind. I took a few more pictures and then it was gone out of the window and all I could see were the smaller peaks at around 7500m - 8000m above sea level.
After the flight we were all on a high and agreed that it was a great experience. My personal feeling is that it was the best thing we have seen on the whole trip and even eclipses the Golden Temple and Taj Mahal.
Back to the hotel and a good breakfast before the whole group met after half 9. We were due to go to the Indian embassy to get our second visas for the return trip to Calcutta - but first we had a bit of a laugh as there appeared to be only one small minibus for us all - so a few of us climbed onto the roof of the bus, like the locals do to travel the country and sat there until told to come down by Lana and Yadu, quoting some bullshit health and safety rule! Bloody spoilsports. A second minibus was parked around the corner so we piled onto it and drove to the embassy.
We had to fill out some forms and then handed in our passports and fees, before waiting for our turn in the numbered queuing system. It took ages, but Barry, who is leaving us soon and had to sort out his visa separately, got called before us and so Lana squeezed our 24 applications in with his!! It saved a lot of time even though we had to fill out another form and pay and extra fee that was forgotten about. We finally left the embassy After about 3 hours sitting around and walked back to the Hotel for some rest, Lana will be returning later in the day to collect our passports when the visas have been done.
I ended up going down with Lana to get the passports as I am full of a cold and if I had gone to bed I would be out of it till tomorrow.
On the way we saw a load of massive bats hanging upside down from a tree right next to a busy road and also a crow caught up in some cables, which was quite sad.
The passports and visas were all sorted and after a wait we got them back and went back to the hotel
. Lana had ordered herself a new vest top with the Ozbus logo and went to collect it. But when she tried it on the logo was far too low - on her belly, so the owner of BaBA embroidery next to Hotel Tradition got his mate to put it onto a tank top instead, which took less than an hour and cost nothing.
We then met up with half of the bus in the Celtic bar where we had a few drinks and chatted.
I'm now off to bed - the combination of the cold relief tablets I got locally and the 2 beers I have drunk have sent my eyes massive and my head all over the place. I hope I get to sleep tonight!!