Welcome to Nepal

Welcome to Nepal

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Kathmandu to Bahrain [Day 21]

No more tests

Waking early, we have the final physical tests before handing in our research diaries. This morning my results were:
Resting - O2 95; HR 70; BR 9.  BP 146/88; 128/84; 127/83.  After exercise - O2 94; HR 123; BR 13.

I return my diary to the XE staff and question them over how my data would be utilised, particularly as my trek had differed somewhat from those of my colleagues on Trek D. I was told in no uncertain terms, that my data would be equally valid, if not of more interest to the research team, due to the problems I had encountered on the way up. This data would be analysed to see if there were any indicators for mild AMS.

A contribution to medical research was a major driver for me when deciding to come on this expedition, especially that relating to intensive care, so I feel quite comforted in the knowledge that my data won't just be discarded.

Leaving the Summit Hotel for the last time, the heavens open and the rain pours down. Perhaps Kathmandu is shedding tears for our departure?

We get on the minibus, but as it navigates the narrow streets outside the hotel, we manage to get stuck in a 'traffic jam'. The road is barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass, except in driveways, and the stubborn nature of Nepali drivers mean that often an impasse is reached, neither party moving forwards or backwards.

Last day... and rain

We are there for about 25 minutes, honking horns and moving backwards and forwards a couple of feet to let traffic through... but no real attempt at reaching a resolution. Everybody is tense, not wishing to miss the flight. I feel like jumping out to direct the traffic... as the solution seems so obvious.

The humidity levels are rising in the bus and so are tempers... but the experienced Nepal travellers had seen it all before and are quite chilled about it. Finally, the main instigator, a tanker driver sees the obvious and pulls out of the way down a side road, freeing up the situation.

We arrive at Kathmandu Airport and there is the usual scrummage to check holdalls in for weighing. Deborah decides to do this as a group, so as to offset any potential baggage excess - but chaos reigns after someone loses their boarding ticket. I believe it is far easier to check in your own luggage, so there is individual responsibility. If there is excess baggage to pay, then that individual settles up.

My rucksack is given a cursory examination at security and I am released through for boarding. The flight is delayed slightly due to a missing passenger (perhaps the one with the missing boarding ticket), but within half an hour we are on our way, turbulence included.

The plane for this part of the flight is a Boeing 767-300 Gulf Traveller seating 257 in Economy Class. The flight is nothing spectacular and I sleep most of the way, apart from being wakened for lunch - a spicy rice and chicken dish, with a lychee and a carrot/cucumber mix - yuk. I don't find it appetising at all and leave most of it. Hopefully the next flight will be better.

We arrive at Bahrain pretty much on time, but now have a six hour wait for our next flight at 0130hrs tomorrow morning. After the experience of sitting around in departures for an extensive period on our way out, we decide to pay the extra and go into the Executive Lounge. For 27US$ this is good value. Reclining leather chairs, free food and drink, newspapers to read etc. We take full advantage of the facilities and the time passes quickly. I try to send a text message to the family, but my Sony Ericsson K700i battery is dead. I tried to source a charger, to no avail.

Executive Lounge, Bahrain (photo courtesy of Ralf)

Impetuously, I decide to go down to Duty Free to see if I can buy a replacement charger, but none are compatible. I end up looking around at new mobiles... and being tempted by all the glitz, buy a new Sony Ericsson Z710i for about £125 using my credit card.

I settle down to charge it up in the Executive Lounge and attempt to send a message... but damn it all, it won't send.  By the time I source the problem... time had run out and I was due to board. My SIM card has retained all my old mobile numbers... and what I should have done is get the new ones off the phone memory.

So much for my 'great idea' and an very expensive solution to attempting to send a text message.

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