15 Jun Mt. Everest – without the hiking
If you’ve been following me you know I’m adventurous, but certainly not outdoorsy. Seeing Mt. Everest was on my must-see list during my world tour and I had planned to fly to Kathmandu, Nepal, then travel to Nagarkot to see the Himalayas. Well, lucky me saw an advertisement in the Kathmandu airport for an Everest express flight operated by non other than Yeti Airlines. With a name like that I was hooked! For an affordable $176 I booked the Mountain Flight which is a 60 minute fly-by of Everest.
3am wakeup call! Are you seeing a theme here…not a morning person, but I keep doing sunrise activities. At any rate, this was too early, I was being overly ambitious for Nepal. I arrived at the airport at 4:30am, two hours prior to my 6:30am takeoff and the airport was closed! Full on closed, it looked like a deserted air hanger. I didn’t want to get out and stand in front of the airport, alone, like an idiot, so I made the taxi driver stay with me. There was a massive language barrier and he didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting out but I didn’t care, no way was I getting out in the dark at a deserted airport surroundeded by stray dogs. Normally stray dogs don’t phase me, but these were special.
After about 30 minutes of awkward waiting in the taxi , I started to see other people trickle into the airport. At this point, the taxi driver motioned for me to get out. I got out and these dogs literally raced towards me and started jumping on my legs. All I could think was wtf why did I not splurge on the $400 rabies shots? Yes, those are an option at the travel clinic. They didn’t stop at the door, they followed me all the way into the airport until I sat down, they eventually left me alone when some stranger shooed them away. While I sat there bewildered at the dog behavior I started to feel like such a cheater. Almost everyone else at the airport was carrying an abundance of trekking gear, clearly there to hike the elusive Everest, or one of the other daunting Himalayas. I was cheating, I was going to fly by and call it day. No hiking for me.
Ah, Yeti Arlines, the safest of airlines, currently on the EU list of blacklisted airlines. Whatever, go big or go dead right? The EU needs to relax, everything was totally safe, including each passenger being allowed into the cockpit!
After getting my boarding pass for flight 303 (I had purchased flight 301, but who is keeping track anyway), I sat and waiting until flight 303 was waved over. Fun fact: this was actually my second handwritten boarding pass of my trip, if you can even believe that. We walked out to this:I was jazzed, I seriously didn’t care what their track record was, I was going to get in that plane and see Mt. Everest!
As the flight took off from the one-runway-airport that is Kathmandu, we cruised over the haze of the city and were brought above into the clear blue sky. Just a few minutes into the flight and the range comes into view.
As the plane approaches the mountains each passenger gets a chance to go into the cockpit and watch the beauty unfold in front of them. The captain explains what each mountain is and of course points out Mt. Everest.
The photos do no justice, my explanation does no justice, I cried seeing its’ beauty.
The Himalayas are unlike any other mountain range I have ever seen. They are breathtaking, stunning, exceptional. I’ll never forget the sight of this magnificent piece of earth just outside my airplane window. I can say without a doubt, this was the best sight of my entire trip.
At the end of the trip everyone gets a glass of champagne to celebrate the fact that we didn’t crash. Just kidding! It is to celebrate seeing the worlds tallest, most spectacular mountain.
I saw Mt. Everest, and I didn’t even have to climb it. 10/10 would recommend.