I just made it home, concluding the trip with the much awaited and twice purchased flight from Chicago to SEA and a two-hour drive from there. Other than the rain and fog in the dark, the drive was fine. My head has no idea what time it is, but it apparently wasn’t time to sleep. I arrived home to one very needy cat and another that won’t come out of hiding.
We left our hotel for the Kathmandu airport at 630 am on Monday, which was just before the Oscars started. I arrived home a little after 2 am Wednesday PST, 4 am in Chicago where I left Emily and Tim, noon in Turkey where we had our last hotel rooms or 345 pm in Kathmandu. Work follows PST, so I need to get some sleep now before tomorrow’s attempt to catch up from the weeks missed.
I’ll post pictures later in the week and a link to them here. Otherwise, that’s the trip. Thanks again for reading.
Damn, this place looks inhospitable — that’s one frozen Great Lake. We landed on time, though, so I should easily make my flight to Seattle after customs and immigration.
Right now, I should have been on the American flight that is beginning its decent to Seattle. The flight from Istanbul to Chicago was on time yesterday, and I would have had plenty of time to catch that final, domestic leg.
Instead, I’m sitting in our Turkish Airlines-provided room at the Istanbul airport Radisson, awaiting the shuttle back to the airport in two hours. Emily and Tim took an early-morning “taksi” to the old city, but I’m done exploring. I’m now $479 lighter due to having to buy a one-way ticket to Seattle tonight. Hopefully the travel insurance we purchased will cover some or all of that, but I’ll have to file a claim later. It won’t cover the extra day of work I’ll miss, and that’s if everything goes right today.
The flight to Chicago is currently scheduled to depart on time but to arrive two hours late. I’m not sure why a fifteen-hour flight will need an extra two hours today, but Turkish Airlines demonstrates their unapologetic propensity toward inexplicable delays nearly daily with the Kathmandu-to-Istanbul route, so I suppose anything is possible. If it really does arrive that late, it’s probable I’ll again miss the last flight to Seattle tonight — the one I’ve already now purchased twice.
Next time, they can keep the free night in an airport hotel, and I will fly another airline.
Edit: I forgot to mention that it appears we’ve been assigned seats in first or business class for the fifteen-hour flight. That would make up for some of it, if it stands, but not the complete lack of care for international itineraries shown in their inability to get the Kathmandu flight to operate on time.
Edit again: Nope. Just the first rows in economy.
We’re through security at KTM and waiting for the arriving passengers to deplane so we can board for Istanbul. We should arrive there this (Monday) late afternoon and will not leave until early tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. Hoping for a hotel stay on Turkish, but rumor is the help desk in Istanbul has been less than sympathetic to passengers dealing with this situation, which has happened with half or more flights on this new route.
Regardless, they will get us to Chicago on Tuesday. We’ve already been rebooked on that flight rather than today’s as previously planned. My problem from that point is my separate itinerary to take me home to Seattle. To change that flight or to book another one-way flight for Tuesday night will cost almost as much as this round trip from Chicago to Kathmandu, though I can try to claim it through our travel insurance policy. First, though, I’ll try to get Turkish to book me through to Seattle, but the desk here at KTM isn’t set up to do that. Should be plenty of time in Istanbul to plead my case.
We’re all packed, waiting for breakfast and a taxi that should be here in 20 minutes. We are reversing our outbound journey: Kathmandu to Istanbul to Chicago (where Tim and, temporarily, Emily will stop) to Seattle. It’s Monday morning now and will be Monday night when I get to Seattle after around 25 hours in the air.
That’s the plan, and hopefully Turkish has their act together on this end to turn the inbound morning flight around and get us out on time. We only have an hour layover in Istabul, so a late departure here means missing the daily flight to Chicago and spending a day there. The last such flights have made it, though, so we are hopeful.
After this, we shall have no more NCELL access, so this will probably be the last post until we arrive in Chicago.
And we are. Got ourselves moved into a couple of much improved rooms here late this morning. The window is open, and instead of metal grinding, tile cutting and who-knows-what pounding I hear only the normal sounds of Kathmandu: birds, dogs, the quiet hum of generators and some light hammering. It’s an incredible improvement. Thamel is too crazy noisy not to sleep well at night (and occasionally during the day, as the desire for naps after evenings spent at Ohm occasionally dictates).
Emily and Tim are off exploring a few more things they wanted to see. I have to shop a bit instead and want to relax the rest of the time on the roof here, reading and enjoying the peace.
There’s always a time when it becomes very clear and foremost in my mind that the rest of the trip’s days have been spoken for. When I couldn’t head back to a trekking trail or even just to see the mountains at sunrise if I wanted to. When there just isn’t enough time remaining to make any plans beyond finishing what’s already known. When, really, we’re looking at hours rather than days.
This realization can come well after the time for such plans is gone. I pushed it aside as time dwindled in Pokhara and for our first couple of days here in Kathmandu. But last night it hit, and here is what we have left: today, tomorrow.
So the Himalaya will wait until next time I get away to visit here. Today we are moving hotels (to the quiet but more expensive Hotel Norbu Linka), finishing shopping and visiting Raj. Tomorrow is free but will occupied even if in what appears to be a lack of occupation.
Last night, though, we snuck in a fun visit to Ohm to watch Nepali musicians play and sing their heart out on American cover songs, from Marley and the Stones to that “Wasn’t Me” song from back in high school. You never hear these songs played or sung with such combination of skill and wild abandon back home — not to mention the accents. It was awesome, of course.