Brian Dickinson – Reader Blog 3
4/2/2011 – Yesterday I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal. As we approached our final destination the Himalayan range came into view. I was on the opposite side of the airplane but when Everest became visible it was obvious. It was interesting to see how just the sight of a mountain could impact so many people regardless of their nationality. I’m surprised the plane didn’t tip to the right as everyone got up to get a glimpse of an eye-level view of the highest mountain in the world. I was certainly inspired and for the first time the reality of what I was about to do set in.
We got settled in the Yak and Yeti Hotel and saw the list of whom our Sherpa outfit would be handling. Dave Hahn and Melissa Arnot (RMI / First Ascent) will be amongst the climbers sharing our cooking, camping and porter services. Dennis and I’ll be doing things a bit different in acclimatizing on Island Peak first and then heading up, but we’ll be spending plenty of time with the others.
Later that night we walked through Kathmandu to get some pizza at the Fire and Ice. The streets are crazy with cars and motorcycles laying on their horns and looking for any gap to get by. We played our most strategic game of Frogger in crossing the streets. I would hate to end my Everest expedition getting mowed down by a Nepalese driver, but I could see how easy it could happen. I then went back to the hotel to do a dry-run for the morning orphanage event. All worked out well with the Cisco gear I brought.
In the morning Chris and I headed over to the other part of town for the event. I was told the night prior that they didn’t have electricity until 8am. Our event started before that. Well what could I do at this point…plug and pray. We showed up and met Pushpa, who runs the Early Childhood Development Center. In Nepal when parents go to jail they bring their children with them. ECDC is an organization that houses and educates the children, rather than have them grow up behind prison walls for crimes they didn’t commit. I configured all of my technology (Cisco 819 router with 3G, 3502e wireless access point, CVO (Cisco Virtual Office) encrypted tunnel and the new Cisco Cius tablet). All worked except due to the electrical outages we couldn’t connect the 3G, which was a major component. I was able to dial into the Webex and answer some questions for the kids in Singapore, Hong Kong and the US. It wasn’t ideal since we wanted the Nepalese children to see the kids in the other countries, but we still had a good time. Chris and I went and distributed toys next. The children were so sweet and well-behaved. I wanted to stash a couple in my expedition bag to bring home. As we were leaving Pushpa mentioned that one of the girls was flying to Seattle this summer as a part of an exchange program. Chris and I exchanged information with her to ensure that we will be able to meet up and show her around.
The rest of the day was filled with temple tours of the city. We went to the monkey temple where they warned us not to make eye contact as it is a challenge to the monkeys. I wore sunglasses but still had to test the theory as I took a picture of a monkey train (multiple monkeys sitting on a ledge). The next thing I know one of the monkeys charged me! Luckily it stopped before I had to defend myself….theory confirmed.
Tomorrow we take the first flight into Lukla….the expedition officially begins!