April 3, 2008
We just arrived at the Yak & Yeti hotel in Kathmandu. This appears to be a very nice hotel. More on that in a later post. So far, our trip has been fantastic.
The flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok, Thailand was easy and uneventful. Thai Air upgraded us to business class, which helped a lot. We arrived on April 1 at 9:30 am and were in the Arnoma Hotel by 11 am. After getting settled, we went shopping–surprise, surprise. Actually Lori & Amy went shopping, and I tagged along. They had a great time and picked up a lot of good stuff (so they say). We first shopped at a large mall near the hotel and then ventured out of town to a popular indoor and outdoor shopping mall. I decided to help Lori and Amy by making a financial contribution to their shopping spree. Lori refused to accept the donation, saying I had already done enough. Amy took the money out of my hand almost before I had a chance to open my mouth. The next day, as Lori’s finances dwindled, she was more accepting of my offer.
We slept well and started the day on April 2 around 11 am. That’s when I had my first panic attack. We agreed to meet at the Starbucks café next to the hotel at 11:15 am as Lori & Amy needed to pick up a “couple of things” at the mall near the hotel. I was there on time. No Lori or Amy. At 11:30 am, they were still not there, so I went back to the hotel. No Lori or Amy. I went back to Starbucks and waited until 11:45. Still no Lori or Amy. I repeat the process–back to the hotel–back to Starbucks–and no sign of the girls. Now it’s noon, and I am starting to get really concerned. I hurry 4 blocks to another Starbucks, thinking we had a mix-up in signals as to where to meet. They are not there. Now it’s 12:15, I am in full scale panic mode, imagining all sorts of things. I decide to search for them in the shopping mall. Sure enough, there they are, walking up and down the aisles trying things on. Arrgggh. That’s when it dawned on me that, when they are safely home, climbing Mt. Everest will probably seem like a leisurely, stress-free stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon.
We spent the afternoon sightseeing, and it was so fun and interesting. We visited the Grand Palace which houses the royal residence and throne halls and is the site of several government office buildings. It is also the location of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. We then visited another temple which houses the famous Reclining Buddha. In the evening, we went on a dinner cruise on the Chaophraya River. The buffet dinner was great, and the music and entertainment were really enjoyable. We saw many famous temples that are located along the banks of the river. All the while, we were serenaded by karaoke singers. Lori, Amy and I danced to “You Aint’ Nothin But a Hound Dog”–Thai style of course. After we finished the cruise, we went to the Suam Lum Night Bazaar. When we arrived, Amy said “we hit the jackpot.” Lori & Amy shopped from 9:00 pm until midnight, when the bazaar closed. I slept in a chair on the street.
Bangkok is a busy metropolitan city. The air is pretty polluted from all the cars, and the traffic in the downtown area hardly moves. In fact, on the way back from our sightseeing trip, we sat in traffic that did not move one inch for over 15 minutes. Since we were on a tight schedule to get to our river cruise, we finally hopped out of the car and walked the remaining kilomteter to the hotel.
This morning, we were up at 6:30 am to pack for our trip to the airport so we could catch our 10:30 am flight to Kathmandu. We had to catch two cabs because of all our gear. Lori and Amy’s cab ride was a wild one, and we had an incident at the airport while checking in at Thai Air. I will let Amy describe these events in her post, which is coming soon.
Tonight, we are going in to Thamel to have dinner. I can’t wait to show my daughters around. It seems like just yesterday that I was here.