So I said a quick goodbye to Becca and headed early to the airport with my FlyDubai flight at 12pm to Nepal, its roughly four hours. Sadly got my first sting of excess baggage, thank goodness I had that culling before I left. Anyway, 30kg limit on FlyDubai which isn’t bad but wasn’t something the travel agent made me aware of… oh well that’s a good £8 per kg to pay up. My luggage currently stands at 45kg between two bags, sadly unavoidable when you have all that sailing kit to take with you and you are heading to a few different climates.
The airport is bustling and pretty noisy, and I notice that its predominantly men there are very few women at all there and I stand out like a sore thumb as the only blonde in the terminal. There is also a man doing what seems like a lecture or some kind of public speech drawing a crowd near one of the departure gates, with people listening intently to his every word.
I head off to the gate and jump on the bus for the flight which seems to transit across the entire airport before getting to the plane (Dubai airport is huge!), then we simply sit outside the plane for a good 15 minutes without the doors opening or any explanation. The doors open for a second, someone outside mumbles something unintelligible and then the bus turns round and we are back at the airport again.
I finally find a FlyDubai representative who advises we need to go back to the same gate we just went through, not so lucky F7. To do that we have to go through customs again. So we all troop through in single file and head back to the gate, we finally find out there is an issue with the plane and now its a waiting game. 45 minutes later a FlyDubai rep shouts Kathamndu and we all jump up as she holds her hand in the air to follow her to another gate, we stop and then we are waiting again. Another 30 minutes later the same happens, another rep shouts out Kathmandu and we head further down the terminal to another gate. 20 minutes later we are back on a bus, and on the plane….. finally underway to Kathmandu.
FlyDubai is not bad actually, I guess its the easyjet of the Emirates! I get a free goodie box for the 4 hours flight, (wonder if that is compensation for the delays!) not too bad as it goes with basil and garlic olives, breadsticks, humous, and chocolate. I would pretty much eat anything at the moment… and its free which is always good when you are on a budget (sort of!).
Arrival in Nepal is an interesting experience, I spend ages searching for a pen at customs (the one thing I forgot to bring!) to fill out the visa form only to find out there is a machine you can type it all into. Then I go and pay for my visa $40 USD as I am just one day over the 15 days so have to pay for 30, multi entry, as I will be in and out of here over the course of the trip.
Next step passport control, well basically there is 1 man out of a bank of 10 desks and he’s taking his time, having a chat and taking a few calls whilst checking me through, next to collect my bags thankfully they arrive pretty quickly. Everyone gets their bags & tags checked to make sure you are leaving with your own bags and not someone else’, very secure!
Finally, now to find the man picking me up!! I end up walking out into what you would call the exit lobby its basically empty but on the other side of the glass there are hoards of people watching… it all seems very strange, as they sit or stand watching as you come out (it looks very much like a group photo image when you were at school). I’m not sure if he’s in that crowd, or outside near the taxi’s or even there at all, after all I am a few hours late. So I start to walk around with everyone asking me if I want a taxi which I politely decline. I see across the road outside from the exit a couple of people holding up a white bit of paper…. its impossible to see whats written on them they are about 20-30m away so I start to negotiate the traffic with my trolley and luggage being watched by the crowds outside as my bags fall off or I get stuck with dodgy wheels! Finally I find the man holding up my name, I can barely see it close up let alone from the distance he was away from the exit.
A further bit of negotiation is required with the exiting parking and getting the luggage in the boot, a quick namaste and a flower garland thrown around my neck (traditional welcome!) and we are en route to the hotel. A quick chat with Achut who is the tour organiser and I am all set, next stop the Hotel Vaishali in Thamel. The journey there is interesting, lots of traffic, and dusty streets, mopeds, tuk-tuk’s, diggers, lorries, and people walking out in the street, its certainly a hectic and bustling place. I am trying to think of anywhere I have been that is similar and can only really think of Bali for now.
I get to the hotel and checked in, and up to my room with an apologetic note that the TV isn’t working. Not to worry anyway as I have wifi (sort of!) am pretty shattered, it’s late by the time I am settled (about 10pm) and so am pretty happy just to call it a day for now, but I am looking forward to exploring tomorrow.