The Travelling Trooper Takes Flight

I spent New Year’s Day mostly in bed, eating snacks, reading the new Douglas Coupland book I bought in Abu Dhabi, and watching movies on HBO. It was glorious. The only times I got out of bed were to go drop off my laundry and get a leg massage to hopefully help my legs.

That was a mistake.

It was like I was in a UFC match with a tiny Nepalese woman and she was kicking my ass. I can’t be certain because my head was facing downwards, but I’m pretty sure she was literally walking all over me at one point. Everything she did made my legs reverberate with pain. I struggled to keep from making any weird noises of discomfort, but I was in a world of pain the whole time. I don’t know what I was thinking. I paid the woman for bringing me to tbe brink of tears and went back to my hotel.

Bring on the Pringles and the Deathly Hollows. That’s what I’m talking about.

The following morning, I got up early to go for my Ultralight appointment. Ultralights are basically hang gliders with an engine. They fit the pilot and one passenger.

I had initially only booked a half hour flight even though the agent suggested I go for the hour-long flight. The hour flight takes you close to the Annapurna mountains, whereas the half hour flight only flies around the city. I opted for the half hour because just 30 minutes was already $200 US.

However, when I arrived at the airport where the Ultralight flights take off from, the beautiful Nepalese woman behind the counter somehow convinced me to go for the full hour. Why are beautiful women so damn convincing?

Unfortunately, that meant I had to wait until they had an hour-long window available, becuase they were already pretty packed for the morning. I was initially supposed to fly at 8:30, but I didn’t end up flying until just past 10:30.

It was okay, though. The beautiful Nepalese woman (her name was something like Samita) kept me company. She even offered to share her noodles with me because both of us had missed breakfast.

Eventually, it was my turn to fly. My pilot was an English fella from Dorset who works building Ultralights and teaching pilots how to fly them. I felt like I was in pretty good hands with him. He’s been flying these things for almost as long as I’ve been alive.

They made me put on thick Winter pants, as well as a jacket over my own jacket. The hat they gave me could barely fit over my huge melon + fro. We all had a good laugh over how goofy I looked. I figured they were being a bit excessive with these extra layers. After all, I’m Canadian!

But man, am I glad they made me wear that stuff. It was bitter cold up there! Sadly, Mother Nature decided Pokhara needed a lot of clouds today–particularly around the mountain range; and so, we weren’t able to get very close to the mountains. Thankfully, the views still looked spectacular, my pilot and I got along really well, and I loved every frigid cold second of my flight.

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Afterwards, I was driven to the International Mountain Museum. It’s a pretty unique museum. It offers information about Nepal’s mountains–from the 20 different ethnic groups that call the mountains home, to geological and environmental information, and inforation about the historical expeditions to climb the various mountains in the Himalayas.

I lost all of the pictures and cool information from the museum when my phone was stolen (more on that in the next post), but whe I do remember was that there was an entire section dedicated to Korean mountain climbers. Apparently Koreans are among the world’s best mountain climbers. I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Korea is covered with mountains, and on any given weekend, one can find men and women twice my age going for a leisurely “walk” up one of them.

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