Up until one week ago the streets of Kathmandu were mainly filled with taxis, street sellers, expats and stray dogs, however, Thamel is now teeming with tourists in the shape of trekkers, mountaineers and cultural visitors. It is good to see that despite the global economic crisis and the constant power cuts in Nepal, people are still coming here to enjoy the beautiful Himalayas, the climbing and the rich culture of the country.
For me this is the busiest time of year, as most expeditions to Mount Everest arrive between late March and early April, and only stay in the capital for a couple of days before they head for the mountain. This means that I have about 48 hours to locate them, pin them down for an interview and actually do the interview (which is actually the quickest of all three). However, even though the spring and autumn seasons are usually filled with lots of work for me, I absolutely love these times of year, as it is nice to see the “usual suspects” coming back every season. And this year is slightly different for me. This year I won’t be saying: “See you after your expedition”. This year I will be saying: “See you at base camp’, and this feels great. Even though I normally get to go out into the hills a couple of times per year myself, it has always been difficult for me to see the expeditions leave as I had to stay back in Kathmandu to get ready to meet teams for other mountains, such as Ama Dablam, Baruntse, Makalu etc. etc.
This does not mean, however, that I won’t be meeting teams with a different objective. My diary is also full of expeditions to other Himalayan giants, such as Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri I, Baruntse etc. etc. and I have around 40 teams to interview before I head to the mountains. Of course, it will not be easy for Miss Hawley and Jeevan when I am gone, but a friend of mine will step in and help if the workload is getting too big.
…and this reminds me – I had better rush off to meet yet another team heading for Mount Everest!