There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first is excellent, the second good, and the third useless.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Nepal - Day 14

Strike, another bloody strike. I actually thought that in such a remote area, strikes wouldn’t have that much of an effect, obviously I’m a twat. We couldn’t get the flight back to Kathmandu because they were grounded, we couldn’t get on a bus because none of the Nepalese people would drive them due to fear of what the Maoists would do if they were caught. Even Sharma refused to break the strike. We were bloody stranded and the flight home was early the next day, bloody great [I must add that this is copied across straight from my note book, and things looked more dramatic at the time] Sharma understood that we must get back and suggested that we talk to a group of German tourists who appeared to be in a similar situation to ourselves.

German tourists. Oh such fun. I get the impression that god is mocking me. After an hour or so of hair pulling , much stress and the complete exhaustion of my German vocabularily (which extends to the words bratwurst and guten tag) we managed to secure ourselves a helicopter flight back to Kathmandu at what I would consider a HUGE expense, but we didn’t have a choice. Apparently the guys were really putting their necks on the line for us because they were in effect breaking strike conditions in order to airlift us out, as a result the military had to be called in to ensure our safe passage. However, I didn’t feel any safer once I saw them. The word 'cowboys' sprung to mind. They were by no means the regular army, in fact I think they were just local villagers with big guns, which made the situation a little bit more alarming.

This was taken when they were very far off.

More of the cowboy military

Anyway I took a seat on the floor overlooking the big expanse of concrete that would serve as the landing pad and settled in for a long wait. After a few minutes the guy with a gun sat off to my left started sniffing cocaine quite openly, WTF? I began to get a little worried. After a few hours a small helicopter arrived and the gun men took their places (for a minute I thought they were going to shoot the thing down!) a few mad tourists scramble on and the little thing took off. The make shift military start laughing and joking, swinging their guns round without so much as a thought to the crowd of small children that had gathered to watch the helicopter.

Bloody strikes. After 8 hours of bum numbing waiting our helicopter finally arrived, and man, German tourists take no prisoners!! As soon as the thing landed they were on, running like a stamped of yaks, trampling over anyone who got in their way. For a minute I thought someone had shouted ‘free towels!’ Needless to say me and Jo got poked at the back with the luggage rammed up our arse. Never been in a helicopter before though, didn’t realise how loud they were inside REALLY loud, so loud in fact, they give you free cotton wool for your ears, and peanuts (to eat, not for your ears)

The landing pad
Our helicopter approaching
View from inside the helicopter
Oh this is one that Jo took
He doesn't use a digital camera so excuse the crapness of the shot. You can just see me in my hat at the corner of the picture looking very relaxed.


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