The Most Dangerous Airport in the World – Adventures in Nepal (Part Ten)

“On a Mish” #130 The Most Dangerous Airport in the World – Adventures in Nepal (Part Ten). Lukla to Kathmandu. Sulokhumbu. 4.11.2015. Many people around the world would have heard of Sir Edmund Hillary and his victory over the steep slopes of Sagarmatha / Mt Everest. However when it comes to Sir Ed and the people of Nepal, he is remembered for the incredible amount of love and effort he put into the country after his famous climb. In the years following his mish he would regularly return to Nepal to work on building schools, medical centres and hospitals. There is a good reason why the man’s mana is so strong and he is revered in this amazing country to the point of being almost god-like. It is very humbling to be a Kiwi in Nepal, and also very heart warming to be continuing the mahi (work) Sir Ed started way back in the 1950’s…

As we neared Lukla we saw our first foreigner in over a week. A rather large American man was struggling his way along the trail with four porters aiding his adventure in Nepal. Hey, if you can afford it why not employ a bunch of some of the hardest and friendly people on earth? With that said please do remember that your porters are people just like you, and they should be treated with respect and honour, not like a herd of donkeys carrying your gear. It was unfortunate hearing some of the boys’ stories about being mistreated while working hard carrying some ungrateful tourists gear.

Now that we were at Lukla it was time for us to repay our guides/ porters/ absolute legends for their outstanding work getting us through the foothills of the Himalaya. We partied as long as we could at the lodge in Lukla.

It was funny to see a fairly standard trekking party beginning their mission to Everest base camp sitting quietly enjoying their first meal together. And then there was us, a family forged out of footsteps on ground not seen by many people like us. It was here that we had to say goodbye to Bibek and many of the other brothers who had been so vital to the success of the mish. We might have been tired but we still found the energy for one last boogie with the bros!

Early-ish the next morning we were down at the ‘Most Dangerous Airport in the World’ waiting for our chance to fly back to Kathmandu. The airport was alive with people but the runway was void of any real action. Our diligent leader Arjun was sorting all of the stuff needed to get us home and after a wait of about an hour the tiny airport roared into life as the first planes began to arrive.

Next came the semi- chaos that is Lukla. We were quickly ferried out onto the runway and into a small aircraft. Next came the most ‘interesting’ takeoff I have ever experienced. With only just over 500 metres of runway there isn’t any margin of error. If you don’t get it right the first time, goodbye! With fists gripping seats we began to rocket forward and with a big drop we were in the air and over the valley, but not without incident. One of the team’s seats broke off its mounts, which didn’t build confidence in the machine’s ability to stay intact while in the air. A quick mid takeoff switch with the Stewardess and we went back to staring out the window at the conveniently distracting Himalaya mountains. Soon we would be back in reality and back at Tribhuvan International going back to our home countries.

Overall the charity trek was a success and it definitely immortalised Nepal as my second favourite country, only a fraction behind Aotearoa on the list of the best places on the planet.

The seeds of love for the country had been sowed and it wouldn’t be long before Dan Dai would be organising another charity trek in Nepal, and there would be no way that the trip would go ahead without Mr Funky being part of it!!

The Himalaya

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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