Text Box: Xpedition 8000

Dispatch Thirty-eight: May 1st, 2010

Annapurna Expedition 2010

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Day Thirty-eight: Sonam and Dawa Safe; Helicopter to Pokhara

Today, we woke up at 5:30am, packed up our things, had a quick breakfast and waited anxiously for the helicopter to arrive to base camp. While we were waiting we were told, to our collective relief, that Sonam and Dawa had come down to base camp during the night and were exhausted but fine. We said our goodbyes and hurried back to our base camp to resume nervously waiting for the arrival of the helicopters. First to land was a huge Russian helicopter capable of carrying 3.5 tons of weight (a 9N-ADK) for the Korean expedition (believe it or not, it had to make a number of trips for them; I donít even want to think about how much money that added up to). Next, to our relief, came ours. Kinga, Evgheny, Serguey, and I took the first helicopter down to Tatopani, then waited around for the rest of the expedition and our equipment to arrive. Next, we took the same helicopter the rest of the way down to Pokhara. Our equipment and our cook will go by road down to Pokhara and by bus to Kathmandu, arriving tomorrow. Horia, Martin, and Jorge will go trekking to the south side of Annapurna before returning to Kathmandu. After arriving in Pokhara, we had a quick lunch at the airport, then boarded a Jetstream for the 25 minute flight to Kathmandu (the drive takes six hours!). We arrived just in time for a labor strike and Maoist demonstration, which brought out riot police and halted ground transportation. We boarded a bus clearly labeled for tourists and headed to the Mala Hotel. We checked in, caught up with Beni and Nima, then headed up to our rooms for much needed showers and naps. I must admit, I am pretty disappointed with the Mala hotel so far. It definitely isnít living up to itís reputation, and compared with the Annapurna hotel and the Yak and Yeti, the service, food, and rooms leave a lot to be desired. It does, however, to itís credit, have a very nice pool and garden. Nothing to complain about considering where I slept last night (in icy base camp). Later in the afternoon, I received the standard call from Elizabeth Hawley scheduling the post-expedition interview. After this, I unpacked my things, then got an early night.

Photos: Left: Kinga playing with local children in Tatopani while waiting for our helicopter to Pokhara; Right: Kinga and I in the B3 Helicopter enroute to Tatopani