Everything had gone to plan. I darted away from school at 12:40, repacked the bags, checked we had everything and began our journey Edinburgh Airport. Our first flight would take us to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport, where we had a 2 hour stop before our next flight to Muscat, Oman. At Oman we waited about for 6 hours, mostly snoozing on the cold metal benches listening to the faint sound of Arabic conversations around us. We were on schedule, and we’d packed everything we could possibly need for the upcoming hike in our hand luggage just in case there were any issues with collecting our luggage at Kathmandu. There are often delays, setbacks, miscommunications which prevent you from doing things as planned and after experiencing this before in Nepal we wanted to be organised.
The sun was setting for the second time since our journey had begun in Edinburgh. We’d boarded three planes, watched two movies, slept on a metal bench in Muscat airport whilst waiting for a connection and this was our final stretch before Kathmandu, Nepal. Below the thick clouds tiny, clusters of light appeared like fibre optics faintly twinkling. To the northwest pink and orange flashes lit the cloudy carpet below. I’d never seen a storm from above before, it was fantastical and deserved an audience. Fork lightning and sheet lightning and clouds exploding with colours. This was a storm to remember, however, it soon dawned on me how close we were to it and that it was directly in the route of our flight plan. Naturally our pilot made an announcement explaining that we would be flying around it to find a safer descent into the Kathmandu Valley.
We circled the storm twice, flying high over the sacred Ganges river below. We couldn’t see anything though, just the flashes of lightning on one side of the plane and the lights of the living world flickering. We began to circle storm again, feeling quite confused my this notion, most people were now analysing the digital flight plan to guess the pilots plan. The captain announced that the storm wasn’t shifting just now and we didn’t have enough fuel to fly around it again so would need to land in Lucknow, India to refuel before taking off again for Kathmandu.
We eventually arrived at midnight, only 4 hours later than planned haha. It was a good job we had cancelled the taxi booking at the hotel. We couldn’t find our bags either, getting through the visa section of the airport was a slow process and there were people who hadn’t came prepared with dollars to pay at the desk. Nevertheless, we arrived safely at Hotel Silverhome. We were tired and hungry with numerous jobs to do before we can set off to Besi Sahar to begin the Annapurna Circuit. But now it’s time to get some sleep, through the bustling nighttime sounds of central Thamel.