More than one year ago, the idea of getting to Nepal emerged through the crazy experience of this eternal dutch optimist named Martin. He was off to Bangkok with me to catch a flight to this country that did not blink any interest to my brain at all. He was going on a trek to the Annapurna circuit, that never sounded familiar to my small ears. Days after completing the trek, he showed us pictures and shared his journey to this amazing country of the Himalayas.
So there, the little beating heart fell in love with the idea of experiencing the beauty of the Himalayas. But how, when? Very soon.Now.
Months of surveying flights and accommodations, finally, Nepal was about to happen. Booked the flight, made some friends and then packed a small bag from the diving course in Anilao with all the beach outfit. Off to a cold country, with 24hour stopover to Malaysia. Perfect plan,almost 100% execution then there it went.
Minutes before leaving my host’s place in KL, the unlikely message from the airline came in. Fight has been cancelled and moved two days later. There was an accident in the Kathmandu airport and it was closed for some time. Saurav, my Nepali brother confirmed this and there, where now? Still in KL as my host agreed to take me in with so much kindness and offered me to visit Batu Cave, finally. Luck was just inside my pink backpack. But the anxiety was just building up. Can’t even go out and enjoy the night life of KL, thus ended watching previous episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Yeah, if there’s one man, my little heart would fall, that would be Dr. Sheldon Cooper, and just the right distraction to this unwanted surprise. All those two nights stranded in KL were just Dr Cooper nights. Sigh, temporary relief, better than getting stuck at the KLIA 2.
The big day came, time to fly to Kathmandu. Can’t wait to see the Himalayas and my Nepali family. The airport scene was astounding. No way. In denial. Closed counters but the flight was still at 9:30pm and it was just 7pm. What?There was no way the plane left nor was it cancelled again (called the customer service hotline and confirmed my flight and online check-in). Right into my face, the associate confirmed this confusion, flight has been moved indefinitely as they are accommodating earlier flights than mine. BS with furious voice. There were more people waiting. But I needed to go, I had to. Fear came rushing, backup plan, zero. What now? It was an assurance that I was not alone. There were at least eight people with mad voices and faces. One was asking for the manager. The other one a confirmed seat in the next day’s flight. ME: I need to fly to Nepal.
Maybe walking away was the best thing to do and just come back the following day, with no assurance though. Or stay at the airport and sleep in my yoga mat with free wifi and food. Getting a hostel was not an option, with 35RM left in my pocket. Called up my host but he declined, he was hosting a family. Too bad. Messaged my friend Kla all the way from Penang to ask for help, he has friends in KL, for sure lol. After hours of talking to some passengers and friends in facebook while secretly praying for miracle, the guy from Malindo Airline asked for passports. Too bad my hands were fast and there in a matter of seconds, he was holding my maroon book. Still confused, along with some passengers we followed him. After 10 minutes of running, walking to and from the check-in counter to the departure gates, I finally had the nerve to ask him, “ what are you going to do with my passport?” And he replied with an irate voice while looking at me (I noticed he was cute, lol), “you wanna go to Nepal, right?” Okay, accepted the fact that we are at the mercy of this man. Whatever, this must be the miracle I asked earlier. Then I found myself, some passengers with empty boarding passes and crew of the airline running towards the departure gate, through the immigration and the final checks. No time to check in my luggage which included toiletries for two months (bottles with more than 100ml). Darn, these stuff will be confiscated at the final checks. The Malaysian guy who was scheduled to do a trek to Mount Everest base camp had more issues, he got a bigger bag, even heavier than me and my luggage combined. At the final scan, I was ready to let go with my J&J baby milk bath and lotion, conditioner and toothpaste. But lo and behold, the scanner was silent, though the guy had to give up two bottles of something out of possible 5 or 6. Not bad and he was smiling while giving it to the airport staff.
Still confused and blank but smiling, I was running towards the boarding gate. I can’t believe we are flying to Nepal with empty boarding passes. Maybe we will be sitting at the aisle for five hours, no idea. Then there, at the boarding gate, they filled out our boarding passes, guess what, Business Class seat! Whew, found myself smiling like a monkey with my seatmate Louie. This was my first business class experience and my first flight longer than three hours. God, I almost cried. All I wanted was a normal flight, but this was too much. So after fixing our seats, we enjoyed the posh way of traveling to Kathmandu. Free movies,games, series and songs. Delicious food and unlimited drinks with Haagen-dazs ice cream and assorted nuts, just feeling every breath of the moment. And yes, another Dr Cooper night for me. Now I wonder, “is Sheldon following me?” Bazinga!
More than five hours later, we were passing by the Turkish airline plane that crashed the runway few days ago, the culprit (but in a good way for me). Lining up to the immigration with other passengers from five airlines. Yes, there were more and more plane landing, which means more people. It was not too bad, so I thought until the baggage area emerged. OH MY GOD. It was like a small pond with overcrowded fishes trying to find luggage. Some people had been waiting for 12 hours, some two.Total chaos. Honestly, I felt bad for everyone. It was mere coincidence that my baggage was with me. But my seatmate Louie had to look for his along with the hundreds of passengers. There out of chaos I met this girl who flew from Oman but her accent showed she was from the UK (just guessing). We shared our experience and opinion about what was happening. But the best that we can do was just wait and help our respective seatmates who became our friends. We became like a team, us the girls, guarding all the found luggage and the others looking for theirs. Buying water for each other. Showed support and assurance that those stuff were not lost. From midnight to early morning, then it was time to give up. It was in that chaos that foreigners and locals were helping each other. It was such a misery but a good one. A beautiful nightmare.
Then it was broad day light, still nothing. So we decided to give up and just come back later. Take some decent rest and maybe another miracle might just happen. As we walked out of the airport, the cold breeze reminded me, Nepal. And in that sleepy chinky eyes emerged the beautiful portion of the Himalayas that awakened my being. Time to get up from a beautiful disaster, coffee time and then the welcoming smiles of my brother Saurav and his friend Chili. And so Nepal was happening, then the song came in “And if I didn’t see that the joke was on me.” I could hear his voice shouting with his funny face : BAZINGAAAAA!