Phase One Complete, at LAX, Friday, 10/10/15
9pm. Jimmy and I signed up for this "journey of a lifetime" to the Best of the Mountain Kingdoms way back in February, while the ground was cold and the days were short. Jimmy was anticipating his knee replacement surgery in March. If you follow our blog, you know that surgery was postponed twice and finally done on June 11th, four months tomorrow. Thank goodness he has recovered well and is in no pain, even when hiking.
We started planning right away, gathering information and getting organized even though the trip was eight months away. We bought travel insurance. New passports were issued in January, but we needed extra photos and color copies of our passports. We applied for visas at the proper time.
In April, Nepal was struck by the devastating 8.0 earthquake. We hesitated. Road Scholar assured us that the "show would go on." My words, not theirs. A few of the sacred temples we would visit were destroyed, but we would still visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And we would still see incredible views of the Himalayas.
Those eight months whittled down to four months, then two, and then one week, and now we are on our way. Packing for temperatures varying from mid-80's to mid-20's was a challenge, especially without taking too much. Who knows what we forgot? (who cares?)
Our easy flight from Sacramento (Phase one) is over and we are relaxing between flights at the United Club Lounge in Los Angeles. Our next flight to Beijing doesn't board for several more hours and we will be in the air for 13 hours straight, all in darkness, I think. We'll cross the International Dateline (into "tomorrow!") and land in Beijing at 5:30 am, their time. With any luck at all, I'll be able to get some shut-eye en route. Neither of us is exactly looking forward to this long haul, but it'll be okay. I'll let you know!
Perhaps the next time you hear from me, I'll be watching colorful prayer flags flutter in the breeze in Tibet, the "Rooftop of the World."