We left last Wednesday evening and two days later, Kathmandu at last. We breeze through customs and are met outside by Bibhu, our local guide from Himalayan Holidays. Now here's a nice touch: we're all given garlands of marigolds to wear to the hotel, helping stave off that distinguished pungent scent that permeates the body after too many hours in the air.
En route, we see locals on mopeds everywhere - as if we were transported onto an Indiana Jones movie set.
Many residents are wearing medical masks due to the air pollution. Thousands are simply standing around along the city streets for reasons that remain unknown to both Bibhu and this first-time visitor.
A quick stop at the Sherpa Adventure Gear store to thank our clothing sponsor and pose for photos, then check-in at the famed Yak and Yeti Hotel, a favorite destination of Himalayan climbers for decades.
The team meets for dinner shortly, then some badly needed horizontal time back in the room. We leave this frenetic city tomorrow morning for the relative calm of the lakeside village of Pokhara where we'll await arrival of our team of ophthalmologists.