Monday, October 14, 2013

Off to Nepal

To celebrate my 30th birthday I wanted to do something special. I was originally thinking a girls night in Bahrain but my wonderful husband had a better idea....why don't I take a trip somewhere by myself. I have always wanted to go to Nepal and trek and would have gone to do that by myself since I found a all female trekking company and felt safe doing that but John's holiday in October didn't give me enough time. So back to square one since I didn't feel comfortable just traveling around myself. Then I realized that my sister probably had the same holiday time off and called and asked if she was interested in a trip to Nepal. She said yes and so we planned a trip and off we went!

I left Saudi early in the morning (4 AM) to catch a flight to Abu Dhabi to meet up with my sister and then fly together to Kathmandu. It didn't hit me that I was traveling sans kiddos until I sat in my seat on the plane and realized I could sleep, watch a movie and had no one to entertain. It was weird! I got to Abu Dhabi, got some breakfast and waited for my sister. Turns out she got bumped up to business class...lucky.....but to me, traveling alone was just as nice as business! We boarded our four hour flight to Kathmandu and off we went. 

We then started making our approach to Kathmandu and that is when things got a little interesting. We went in for landing and were almost to the ground and all of the sudden the pilot pulled up and we were back in the air. We circled, circled, circled and then tried again for a landing and same thing, pulled up and in the air. We were then informed that the conditions on the ground didn't meet the minimum safety requirements for Etihad to land their plans. It was really foggy and rainy and so we couldn't land. I have read that the runway is short, has cracks in the runway and so I appreciated that they were taking a cautious approach so we could have good visibility to land!

So, they were looking for a nearby airport to land, refuel and wait it out. After a couple of minutes they announced that we would be landing in Lucknow, India and refueling there. We landed, safely and the airport was really interesting looking to say the least. They parked the plane and we were not allowed off since there was no ground crew to support them so we waited on the plane while they refueled and got word that Kathmandu was better for landing. About two hours later we took off and headed back towards Nepal. Thankfully, although still foggy but not as bad, we landed to incredible cheers and clapping by everyone on board! 

It was so exciting for me to land in Nepal! It has been a dream to travel there and it was so surreal to walk through the airport seeing signs saying, "Welcome to Nepal," and know I was there, with my sister and no kids and experiencing this! We made it through the visa line, picked up my sisters bag, realized our hotel car gave up on us and wasn't there to pick us up but figured out the prepaid taxi system and got a ride to our hotel. 

We found our hotel which was so cute and had a beautiful courtyard in the middle of it, checked in and dropped off our bags and went down for dinner. It was a long day but easy-peasy without kids! We then got a good night sleep since the next day we would be busy exploring Kathmandu!

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