Nepal - Mera Peak Expedition - HT Wandelreizen - October 2006

Below you will find a long list of pictures (approximately 200), taken on the Mera Peak Expedition organized by HT Wandelreizen from October 2 to October 29 2006.
The most interesting images will have a red bullet in front of them. In a hurry? Just want to see the pictures? Check out the slide show.
The days we were walking we kept track of how much time we spent walking. This is excluding the time for breaks.

October 2: Flight to Kathmandu

Around 16.00 we met the rest of the group at Schiphol Airport (at least those who were travelling with us, some people were already in Kathmandu). We flew from Amsterdam via Paris (with KLM) and Doha to Kathmandu (with Qatar Airways).

October 3: Kathmandu

Around 16.10 we arrived in Kathmandu. We waited a while, but no sight of our luggage. We informed the guy at the "mishandled baggage" desk and then headed for Amar's Hotel where we would stay before and after the trekking. We had dinner (a vegetarian curry) and soon after that we went to bed.

October 4: Kathmandu

We didn't sleep very well. Around 8 we had breakfast. In the hotel is a little shop where it's possible to rent trekking gear. We didn't bring dawn jackets so we rented them there. After that we and some others from the group went to see Durbar Square. It looked much better than 8 years ago (see our Around Annapurna page). There's an admission fee (200 NPR) now for tourists of which many of the locals disapprove since they feel it goes directly into the wallet of the guy to which you pay it. Officially you have to pay it each time you cross the square or get a pass (for 200 NPR and a photo), but you can also explain where you're heading if you just need to cross the square to get where you want to go. We looked at the temples and of course the house of the living godess.
Then we went to Thamel, the area of Kathmandu where the restaurants and gift shops are located. After lunch we went to Swayambhunath, the monkey temple. Late in the afternoon we went back to the hotel. Fortunately our luggage had arrived!
Around 6 we left with the majority of the group to have dinner in Thamel. We had a good meal at "The Third Eye". Around midnight we went to bed.

October 5: Kathmandu and Pashupatinath

After a good night's sleep and breakfast we headed for Pashupatinath. Apparently there's an admission fee there too, but because this day was a festive day (as is almost every day in October) we didn't have to pay. Pashupatinath is one of the places where Nepali burn their dead and let the ashes float in the river - very impressive. Downstream (and that's just a few feet downstream) there are people searching for gold and other valuables that end up in the river...
From Pashupatinath we walked to the Bodnath stupa. We had lunch in "Stupa View" which indeed offers a good view of the stupa from its rooftop terrace. Afterwards we went back to the hotel with 7 people in a taxi that obviuosly was meant for 4.
We repacked because the trek would start the next day. We went for an early dinner at the "Park Roof Top Restaurant" near Durbar Square. Around 8 we were back at the hotel. We finished repacking and went to sleep.

October 6: Kathmandu and Ringmo ( 2700 m. / 9,000 ft.)

After the last night in a proper bed for the next three weeks we got up around 7. After breakfast we headed for the airport around 8. In a "Yeti Airlines" Twin Otter for 20 people we headed for Paphlu. The stewardess offers sweets and wadden against the noise. The flight and landing went very well and after only 30 minutes we arrived at the airstrip of Paphlu. Here we met some of our porters. We had lunch (Dal Bhaat) and then the trek really started. Our first camp site would be in Ringmo, next to the "Numbur Lodge".
We arrived there around 16.15 and put up the tents. It was rather moist and colder than we expected. After dinner (Dal Bhaat again) we went to bed around 9.
This day we walked approximately 2h55m.

October 7: Ringmo ( 2700 m. / 9,000 ft.) to Nuntala (2350 m. / 7,830 ft.)

We slept reasonably well. It's light quite early (around 5.40). The tent was quite wet. Unfortunately there was no time to dry it before we start walking. We had breakfast outside. It was dry, but very cloudy. Around 8.30 we started walking. First we headed up to Trakshindo La (3071 m. / 10,235 ft.). There's a gate at this pass where you have a good view of the Mera Peak when the sky is clear, but not today. We visited the Trakshindo gompa where we witnessed a ceremony and drank Yak tea. Then we descended to Nuntala where we arrived around 12.30. Fortunately the tent dried quickly. After lunch it started to rain, which it would continue to do all through the rest of the day. We went to bed early (around 8.30).
This day we walked approximately 2h25m.

October 8: Nuntala (2350 m. / 7,830 ft.) to Kharikhola (2050 m. / 6,830 ft.)

Every time we were awake during the night we heard rain, but by the time we had to get up it was dry. During breakfast a group of 5 children performed a song and dance. Around 8.30 we started walking and descended to the Dudh Kosi river (1550 m. / 5,165 ft.). This river is fed by the glaciers of the Everest and Cho Oyu. From there the path went up to Kharikola through corn fields. We had a bit of sun and when the sun was there, it was immediately quite warm. We had tea at the "Quiet View lodge" on the way up. After that there's a pass. Here the weather changed and just as we arrived in Kharikola, it started to rain. Our tent arrived late, but fortunately the weather improved again so it could be put up dry. A few leeches were spotted. The campsite was next to the "Tashi Delek" lodge. In the lodge we had lunch and dinner. In the evening the staff was introduced: 5 guides, the cook and 4 guys helping him and 43 porters.
This day we walked approximately 3h.

October 9: Kharikhola (2050 m. / 6,830 ft.) to Pangkongma (2850 m. / 9,500 ft.)

The sun was shining so everybody was up early. Before 8 we started walking. It was warm, but we rather had sun than rain. At first we were walking through fields of corn and later through woods. At the Namdoling gompa we had Yak tea. Around noon we arrived at Pangkongma. Again we had a very nice camp site (next to the Himalayan Trekkers Lodge). It was decided that we would stay the next day too. Some people decided to wash their laundry. This day we left the Everest Trail. That is supposed to be a touristic route, but we hardly saw any tourists. Probably that is caused by the Maoist actions earlier this year. Sometime during the day Patricia was bitten by 2 leeches.
This day we walked approximately 2h45m.

October 10: Around Pangkongma

Arjen wasn't feeling well (diarrhea), so he decided not to join Patricia and the group for the walk up to the Pangkongma La pass which would also be on the route the next day. Two others also stayed behind. On the way back the group would stop at the Gompa (20 minutes from Pangkongma) and Arjen and Peter and René decided to join them there. They arrived exactly when the group arrived there too. Back at the campsite we washed our hair. After lunch the staff had bought a live goat which they were going to prepare for dinner. They asked if we would want to watch - no thanks... Two other groups arrived today. With the next campsite being very small that was not a very nice idea.
This day we walked approximately 1h35m.

October 11: Pangkongma (2850 m. / 9,500 ft.) to Zattara Danda ridge (3750 m. / 12,500 ft.)

At 8 we started walking. It was very cloudy already. Not very promissing as the weather each day seems to get worse during the day. We arrived at the pass around 9.10. From there we walked on the ridge. Because of the clouds and fog we couldn't see much of the supposedly very nice views. The woods were moist, but very nice to see. 12.30 we arrived at the campsite. The best spot was already taken so we (with much help from the porters) had to create a flat area to put the tents on. When the fog was away for a few seconds we had good views of the vally below. In the afternoon it started to rain again.
Since we are above 4000 m (13,330 ft.) we have decided to take Diamox as a preventive measure against altitude sickness.
This day we walked approximately 3h10m.


Some nice books about trekking/hiking in Nepal:

Insight Guide Nepal by Zoe Ross and Tom Le Bas
Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya, Eighth Edition by Stan Armington


October 12: Zattara Danda ridge (3750 m. / 12,500 ft.) to Tuli Kharka (4300 m. / 14,330 ft.)

This day started with fog and after an hour or so we had lots of rain. At lunch time we had hail and after that more rain. It was a long way with a lot of Nepali flat and a very steep climb near Tuli Kharka. We were very tired and unfortunately we had to wait again for our porter to bring the tent. Luckily there was a lodge (Rocky Himalayan) next to the campsite. To make up for us having to wait, the porters put up the tent. The fire place supposedly cost 50 NPR per person, but our tour guide arranged that we would pay 500 NPR for wood and fire the entire evening. We went to bed late after having dried our wet clothes near the fireplace. Back in the tent Arjen wanted to listen to some music, but discovered his MP3 player had died.
This day we walked approximately 5h.

October 13: Tuli Kharka (4300 m. / 14,330 ft.) to Khote (3950 m. / 13,165 ft.)

The day started promissing with sunshine. Not long after we started walking the sun disappeared, but at least it stayed dry... At first it was Nepali flat again towards two passes. After that it was downhill all the way to the Hinku Drangka river. There we took the path left, upstream next to the river. Around 3.30 p.m. we arrived in Khote. In Khote there are quite a few shops and some lodges. It is also a Maoist town (at the entrance of the village there's a sign that says "The teacher is the key to the reform (C. Mao)". We put up our tents. In the evening we learned that a Maoist had come to our guides to collect our "voluntary" donation. They had negotiated a price of 1600 NPR per tourist. A good price we were told. Last couple of years the price had been much higher and had to be paid for the porters and cooking staff too.
This day we walked approximately 4h20m.

October 14: Khote (3950 m. / 13,165 ft.) to Tangnak (4350 m. / 14,500 ft.)

Around 6.20 we had bed tea. We could here people discussing which of the mountains that were visible would be Mera Peak so we quickly got up. Against a clear blue sky there were some beautiful peaks (Mera Peak, Peak 43 and some unnamed peaks). Finally we had some nice views! We shot a lot of pictures - way to many, but then again, this was our first opportunity to see what we came to see. The Maoist showed up to collect his money. In exchange we got a receipt. The receipt was for 2500 NPR, so 1600 was indeed a nice price.
Shortly after 8 we hit the road. It was a very nice path up with constantly beautiful mountains ahead of us. Around lunchtime the wind changed direction (at first it came blowing down the valley, but then it came blowing up, bringing some clouds and fog). Before we reached Tangnak we stopped at the gompa for a blessing by the lama.
In Tangnak we realised that there were even more groups heading up than we expected. It was a busy campsite with at least 7 or 8 groups (coming down and heading up). Again we had to wait a long time before our tent arrived. Fortunately the weather was fine. Lots of clouds and fog was coming up from the valley, but the sun vaporised most of them. Late in the afternoon the mountains around us became visible. A beautiful sight... At night we had a clear sky, so it was quite cold.
This day we walked approximately 3h55m.

October 15: Around Tangnak

At dawn the temparture inside the tent was -4 degrees Celcius. We stayed at this campsite for a full day to get acclimatised to the altitude. In the morning we walked up Kusum Kang Guru up to the lake at the bottom of the Glacier. It was a very nice climb, especially since we were walking in the sunlight for most of the climb. From the ridge near the glacier we had a great view of Mera La across the valley. Around noon we arrived back at the campsite. After lunch Arjen shaved and Patricia washed her hair (as it turned out, that was the last time before we arrived back in Kathmandu). Later we practiced putting on our crampons and harnesses. After dinner the sky became clear again and by the time we went to bed the temperature was already below 0.
This day we walked approximately 2h05m.

October 16: Tangnak (4350 m. / 14,500 ft.) to Khare (4920 m. / 16,400 ft.)

At breakfast the cooking staff gave us a big cake. Unfortunately they presented it after we had eaten... We asked them to keep it until lunchtime. After about 15 minutes of walking we reached the point in the valley that was exposed to the sun. It quickly warmed up. On our way up to Khare (also known as base camp) we met a lot of people coming down after a succesful ascent of the peak and some who hadn't reached the top. We walked across some sort of plateau (Dig Kharka) after which there was a steep climb. After that we could see the campsite, which again was quite big.
After we had put up our tent we were sitting in the opening in the sun while at the same time some snow and hail was gently falling down... The temperature was noticeably lower than the days before.
The "lodge" (a shed) was filled with smoke from the stove the owner used to cook dinner for some other guests. Not a very pleasant place to be, but at least the wind was kept out.
This day we walked approximately 2h40m.

October 17: Around Khare

This day was again a day to get acclimatised and also to practise walking with crampons. When we woke up it was -9 degrees Celcius inside the tent! Fortunately the sun quickly rose from behind the mountains and it was warm enough to eat outside the lodge to avoid the smoke.
After breakfast we walked up in the direction of Mera La. At 5120 meters (17,060 ft.) Not far from the start there was a very steep climb across a very slippery path. After that the path became much easier. We arrived at a steep slope that we would use as practice ground for walking with crampons. Amazing how easy it is to walk up a steep, icy slope with those things under your shoes!
We arrived back at the campsite around two and had lunch. Because this was later than usual we skipped the afternoon tea. We wouldn't have to worry about our tent (being a 3 persons tent used by us 2) the next day since only the two person tents (normally used by single individuals) would be used for the nights before the top.
This day we walked approximately 2h10m.

October 18: Khare (4920 m. / 16,400 ft.) to Mera La camp (5340 m. / 17,800 ft.)

Yesterday Lineke sprained her ancle so she had to stay behind. Just after 8 a.m. we started walking. The steep climb we already had done the day before seemed even longer and more difficult than the day before. Arjen walked in front of Patricia to keep her from walking to fast. Strange because usually it's the other way around. The higher we got, the nicer the views. Around 5300 meters (17,650 ft.) there was a wall of icicles: very nice!
Around 10.30 we put on the crampons for a steep climb. After that we arrived at a semi-flat area: Mera La. It was unclear where exactly the pass was since it was such a huge area. Around 12.30 we arrived at the campsite, on the other side of the pass.
Our porters had already put up the tents. All of them were placed on the snow - this might come as no surprise, but we have seen pictures of this area being completely free of snow! We used a rescue blanket to cover the floor to keep some warmth inside the tent. The influence of the altitude became increasingly noticable, especially because breathing was more difficult.
This day we walked approximately 3h15m.

October 19: Mera La camp (5340 m. / 17,800 ft.) to High Camp (5800 m. / 19,330 ft.)

The day started with lots of sun. Ellen decided not to go for the top, but return to Khare instead. Our guide already had gone down because he wasn't feeling well (he would send another guide up in his place). The rocks behind which High Camp is located was visible almost from the start. It was over 2.5 miles in distance, but including breaks it would take us well over 4 hours to reach it. On the way up we had spectacular views of many mountains above 7000 meters (23,300 ft.): Kanchenjunga, Chamlang, Makalu, Baruntse, Lothse, Cho Oyu and the Everest! Unfortunately the clouds came in and by the time we arrived at High Camp around 1, it started to snow. Again our tents already had been put up, so we could lay inside straight away. Arjen was feverish and had a bit of a headache. Around 5 we had dinner. There was at least a few inches of snow on the tent. But by then the sky had become quite clear again - a promise of a cold night. Before 7 p.m. we went to bed.
This day we walked approximately 2h50m.


Some nice books about trekking/hiking in Nepal:

Trekking and Climbing in Nepal (Trekking & Climbing Guides) by Steve Razzetti
Footprint Nepal Handbook : The Travel Guide by Tom Woodhatch


October 20: High Camp (5800 m. / 19,330 ft.) to Mera Peak (6476 m. / 21,587 ft.) to Khare (4920 m. / 16,400 ft.)

We woke up at 0.30 a.m.. Arjen had a bad headache and was still feverish so he decided to stay at High Camp :( Patricia had breakfast and when everybody was preparing to leave the campsite Arjen decided to wave them goodbye. Freek also stayed behind. It was very cold - someone measured -20 degrees Celcius inside the tent... It was 2.45 a.m. before the two groups (one "fast" and one "slow" group) finally took off. Patricia was in the slow group, which left first. Arjen went back to the tent to get some sleep. The plan was to head down to Khare together with the porters that would come up to get the tents and the rest of our stuff.
Around 6 Arjen was woken up by the voice of George saying he had to watch over Patricia. The two of them had came down from 6075 meters (20,250 ft.) - still a record altitude for Patricia - after Patricia had too much difficulty breathing to be able to continue. The tempo had been too high, so she had had to go to fast for her own good. The guide wanted her to head back on her own, but fortunately George offered to join her because he felt (like Patricia) it was unsafe for her to go back on her own.
Arjen packed the stuff and around 7.30 we headed back together with Freek and George. The descent didn't go fast because Patricia was already exhausted. The views were very nice again, though the weather changed earlier than the day before. We arrived at Khare around 11.30 and joined Ellen and Lineke. Patricia was coughing up yellow/gray sputum and was obviously not well. The rest of the group arrived only an hour later. None of them had reached the top, but they did get very close: 2 turned back at 6422 meter (21,400 ft.) and the others reached 6440 meter (21,465 ft.).
We decided that this was the first and last attempt for a peak above 6000 meters (20,000 ft.) and that our next trip would be to a warm place (Jordan?).
This day Arjen walked approximately 3h10m and Patricia walked approximately 6h05m.

October 21: Khare (4920 m. / 16,400 ft.) to Khote (3950 m. / 13,165 ft.)

During the night about an inch of snow had fallen. The weather seemed to be nice, but the sky was not as clear as the days before. This day would be a long day. Patricia decided to start with antibiotics that evening. At the start we had a little bit of snow, but closer to Tangnak it was dry. Even walking down the mountains was hard labour for Patricia. Soon we decided it would be best for her to start at lunchtime with the antibiotics as she had trouble breathing and was producing a lot of green/grey sputum. John (the tourguide) came up to us and had one of the guides carry her bag and also said she should start with the antibiotics as he suspected she had pneumonia. At Tangnak we had lunch. During lunch it started to snow. When we were walking down the valley, it started to snow harder and the snow was quite wet. Because Patricia wasn't able to walk as fast as she normally would, it took us a very long time before we reached Khote. The tents had been put up and were already covered with an inch or two of snow. We spent the evening in the same lodge as we did on the way up - pleasantly warm. Some French people were there as well (heading up). Some of their luggage had been stolen from their tents. The rumour was that they hadn't paid the Maoists and this had been their revenge.
It was decided that we'd stay in Khote the next day to get some rest as it had been a couple of tough days.
This day we walked approximately 5h40m.

October 22: Around Khote

The day started of very sunny - even nice enough to have breakfast outside. Peter didn't join us as he was feeling cold. After breakfast we walked through the village to shoot some pictures of the locals and their way of life. They didn't bother at all and the kids loved to see themselves on the LCDs of the digital cameras. Later that morning the clouds came in and by lunchtime it was snowing again. At dinnertime the tents that had been cleared of snow by the sun, were covered in snow again. It turned out that a few people had more or less problems with frostbite. Peter's toes looked the worst, but still not too bad.
In the afternoon we were joined by 5 Englishmen. They were heading up. It was nice to have a chat with them and hear the stories of their journey so far. Back home we got an email with the news that one of them had reached the top.
We went to bed early because we were tired, but as it was another festive day, the locals were singing and playing music until quite late - unfortunately they were right besides our tent...

October 23: Khote (3950 m. / 13,165 ft.) to Tuli Kharka (4300 m. / 14,330 ft.)

We got up early to enjoy walking in the sunshine as long as possible. The sky was completely blue and it seemed as if today would be the first completely dry and sunny day. We walked long the river. The rocks were red and they were covered with green moss - a very nice combination. When we reached the end of the valley we had to turn right. From that point on it would be some Nepali flat at first and only climbing later on. We were overtaken by another group of Dutch people (you'll find us in whatever exotic location you can think of, even though there's only 16 million of us...). By then the first clouds and the fog was coming in.
At lunchtime (around 11.30) it started to snow and the rest of the (quite steep) way up, it was snowing and becoming increasingly slippery. At a few points our guides had to give us a hand and in one location they had to prepare the path so it wouldn't be dangerous to walk.
It was after 4 before we arrived at the campsite. The site was covered in at least a feet of snow. We decided to see if it was possible to spend the night in one of the rooms, rather than our tent. It wasn't possible for all of us, but fortunately we got a decent room - cold, but at least it was dry. The owner - the same guy that replaced our guide on the way to the top - told us we didn't have to fear that we would not be able to cross the pass on our way to Lukla the next day. Arjen admitted he had been afraid of being stuck in Tuli Kharka.
This day we walked approximately 5h55m.

October 24: Tuli Kharka (4300 m. / 14,330 ft.) to Lukla (2850 m. / 9,500 ft.)

Arjen slept very well and Patricia not to bad either. The antibiotics were doing their job as she was feeling a bit better.
We started with the plan to walk to Chutanga. From the start the path went straight up to Zatrwa La. It was sunny again and pleasant to walk in the snow, almost warm... As we passed Zatrwa La (4680 m. / 15,600 ft.) we entered another valley. That one had snow only on our side, but was completely green on the other side. Soon after that we went up to a second pass. From there it was a very steep, slippery path down. Arjen was uncomfortable walking down but Prem (on of the guides) took him by the hand and helped him all the way down to Chutanga. When we reached the lower part of Chutanga we had lunch - by then it was almost 3 p.m. - and we had to decide if we wanted to put up our tents there (below the snowline, but in quite a bit of mud) or walk another 90 minutes or so to Lukla. We decided to do the latter; Peter was the only one to object as his feet were giving him some trouble. Just as we left we had some rain, but within 15 minutes the sky cleared again.
The 90 minutes turned out to be 2 hours and it was 5.15 when we arrived at the planned campsite. The problem was that it wasn't a proper campsite. It had been in the past, but now it was not much more than a construction site, covered with yak shit too... Our tourguide said it was unacceptable and headed into Lukla to find a better spot. On our way through Lukla (much bigger town than we had expected) we had seen some nice lawns and it wasn't before long that John came back to point us to the new spot. A very nice one.
We put up our tent. Patricia had to dry the inside with a towel as it was quite wet from the snow in Khote. The air in Lukla was quite dry which also helped.
This day we walked approximately 7h35m.
This makes for a total of approximately 63h15m for this holiday for Arjen and approximately 67h30m for Patricia!

October 25: Around Lukla

A very relaxed day in a warm (certainly compared to the previous days) and sunny Lukla. We watched the planes arrive and depart from Lukla airport - a very short landing strip. After that we walked up and down the main road of Lukla. We had a bite at the German Bakery and later in the afternoon Patricia also had some Dal Bhaat for lunch. Patricia went to see some more of Lukla together with Lineke. Arjen stayed in the tent to listen to some music - his MP3 player was alive again!
Before dinner Peter showed his toes - they had become dark blue and were abviously in a much worse state than we had anticipated.
In the evening we celebrated our last night of the trekking, together with the porters, cooking staff and guides. We also give all of them their tips. After the tips some of the Nepali made music (Pasan played flute) and quite a few people danced.

October 26: Lukla and Kathmandu

We had to get up around 6 as we had an early flight back to Kathmandu. In the end it was around 8 before we left - after a strict security check.
Back in Kathmandu we went straight to Amar's Hotel. We had breakfast and then we went for a shower. Arjen also shaved his beard (in 3 weeks that had become quite long).
We headed for Thamel. On the way over there we stopped at an internet cafe (only 15 NPR per hour) to inform the people back home we had arrived safely again in Kathmandu. In Thamel we had lunch (pizza) at the Pumpernickel (worth visiting!) and bought some souvenirs. We went back to the hotel to rest and read a bit. We went for dinner with a group of five to the "Park Roof Top Restaurant" again.
Back in the hotel we talked a bit with our tourguide. The main guide had been sacked as he had neglected his work on too many occasions...

October 27: Kathmandu

Patricia was feeling much better. Arjen stayed at the hotel to read (State of Fear by Michael Crichton) so he could return it to the bookshop. Patricia went to Kirtipur together with Lineke and René. Around noon Arjen went to the Pumpernickel again for lunch. This time he had a yak cheese sandwich. Just when he left, Patricia, René and Lineke arrived for lunch. By the time Patricia wanted to order, the famous cream cheese sandwiches were available again. Both of us ordered fresh orange juice.
After lunch we went to shop for some more souvenirs and for some gifts for our tourguide.
We went for dinner at the Northfield Restaurant. Quite good, but a bit expensive (for Nepali standards). After dinner we had mint tea and chocolate cake at Helena's (delicious!).


Some nice books about trekking/hiking in Nepal:

Lonely Planet Nepal (7th Ed) by Bradley Mathey
Trekking in Nepal: A Traveler's Guide by Stephen Bezruchka, Stephen Bezruchka M. D., Robert Kunstaetter


October 28: Kathmandu

Our last full day in Kathmandu. We both did some reading. Before lunch we went to the internet cafe again. We went for lunch to the Pumpernickel (of course). This time Arjen was lucky too - he could order a cream cheese sandwich... After lunch we bought a Buddha to thank the guys that lend us their fleece sheets (used inside our sleeping bags at Mera La, High Camp and Khare). Back at the hotel Arjen finished his book and Patricia did some reading too. After that we packed our stuff. We went to "The Third Eye" for dinner with almost the complete group. Peter and Nelie stayed at the hotel because Peter was told by a docter that he should walk as little as possible.

October 29: Flight form Kathmandu via Doha and London (with Qatar Airways) to Amsterdam (with British Midland)

On Sunday we flew back from Kathmandu to Amsterdam (via Doha and London). In Kathmandu we had problems getting the spare batteries (4 AA size batteries) for Patricia's digital camera through the security check. It is ok to bring one set inside the camera in your hand luggage, but not a spare set. They wanted to keep Patricia from bringing it aboard. Even the highest in Rank did not want to negotiate this. As Patricia already had a security stamp on her boarding pass, she grabbed the batteries when no one was looking and ran to the gate... The strange thing was that my portable lithium battery pack (at least the power of 8 AA batteries) was no problem at all, nor was the backup battery for my digital camera (lithium as well)...
In Doha we only had 55 minutes to transfer to the next plane. We were afraid we or our luggage wouldn't make it. We did make it and for most of us, our luggage made it too. Two or three people had to wait a few days before the luggage arrived. We said goobye to everybody at Schiphol and took the "taxi" (our neighbours were kind enough to pick us up) home.
At home, we decided to see if we'd lost any weight. Arjen went from 80 to 73.5 kg. Patricia from 72 to 68.

October 31: At home

Patricia went to our general parctitioner because she was having trouble breating again. The general parctitioner agreed that the problems during the holiday had probably been pneumonia. Patricia was sent to the hospital because our general parctitioner could hear a peculiar noise in Patricia's breath and wanted some additional expert advise. We went to the hospital and were told that nothing could be seen on the x-rays of her lungs. Our general parctitioner advised Patricia to come back in two days if she would not feel any better.

November 2: At home

Patricia went to the general parctitioner again because she was having even more trouble breating again and feeling pain. The general parctitioner consulted a specialist from the hospital and was told Patricia had to come to the ER straight away. There she was told that it might be an embolism. She had to lay down and was attached to a monitor. After a while they could say that it certainly was not an embolism (blood examination had proven this). Unfortunately they had no idea what it was as the x-rays of her lungs and sinusses did not show anything either. As there seemd to be nothing that required immediate attention, she was sent home. Our general parctitioner advised Patricia to take antibiotics again as it might be another pneumonia.

November 16: At home

Patricia finally was feeling a bit better again.

November 20: At home

Patricia went to see the specialist at the hospital again. This time she was told that on the x-rays it had shown that she had sinusitis and that this had probably spread to her lungs to cause a second case of pneumonia... The next day she went to work for the first time after our holiday.