It’s been a hectic few days for me to say the least. After the six hour drive home from Ouray in a full-on blizzard on Sunday night, I had only one day to pack before leaving for Nepal on Tuesday. I had a blast at Ouray, and many of my closest friends and family made the trip to be there, which made it a really special weekend and an event I will never forget. My recap of my comp performance is here on the petzl blog.
However, the stress of competing as well as my imminent travel was taking its toll on my emotions. I tend to get anxious and worry too much before and during big trips. It’s like I become homesick before I’ve even left, and I need a few days to adjust before feeling psyched to be in a new place . I know that I am so fortunate to be able to travel and see the world, but sometimes I have a hard time saying goodbye to my home and the people I am close too. I returned home from Ouray feeling rushed and apprehensive to leave. When all was said and done, however, I snapped out of this funk, packed my bags, and set off with Matt Segal and Cedar Wright on a trip that would promise to be nothing less than an exciting journey full of beauty and adventure. We were dropped off at the airport in Denver at 11 am on Tuesday.
I know from experience that traveling is exhausting and that the farther you go, the more likely it is that something will go wrong. We struck out immediately in Denver when our first flight to Newark was cancelled. We stayed firm when we were told we wouldn’t be able to leave that day, and finally convinced the airlines to send us on the most idiotic route possible to get to Kathmandu. Our first hurdle was to get on the standby flight to Frankfurt that night. Miraculously, we were successful and found ourselves en route to Nepal via flights to Germany, Jordan, and India; a 48 hour epic that left us wrecked, jet-lagged beyond reason, and with no luggage. Somewhere along the line, our 7 checked bags, containing all our clothing and climbing equipment; had been lost. We are still waiting to see if they turn up today, but our sport climbing adventure has been postponed for the time being.
Kathmandu is a large city surrounded by the giant Himalayan Mountains; they loom in the foggy distance like sleeping giants. Like other large cities I’ve visited in developing countries, the dichotomy of beauty and ugliness here is intensely apparent. There is pollution and poverty on every street corner, but also joy and genuine kindness in the faces of the people. It is a spiritual place, home to many of the most important and oldest Buddhist and Hindu religious sites in the world. Yesterday we ventured to “Swayambhunath” also known as “Monkey Temple”. It is one of the oldest complexes in Kathmandu, and home to several holy monkeys, who are supposedly remnants of head lice that fell out of the hair of Manjushree, the Buddhist God of Transcendent Wisdom.
Today is a day to decompress from traveling, see some new sights, and hopefully get our luggage back. There is also a government holiday today reserved to promote tourism in Nepal. We have been told that there will be alot of music and festivities in the city. Looking forward to experiencing it. ~Namaste~