Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Flying to the Top of the World

Last May, when I was in Nepal, I paid USD182 for a flight that took off and landed on the same airport. I'm not kidding, there's really such a thing! And being a cheapskate, it's probably one of my biggest splurges. 

Since we were not able to see the Himalayan mountain ranges during our trip to Nagarkot (and I really wanted to), I made a decision of taking that famous flight across the Himalayas. Well, it doesn't really fly across the mountains. It kind of just flies at the side of the mountain ranges from a distance such that the people seated on the left-hand side of the plane sees the mountains then the plane turns around and then it's the passengers on the right-hand side's turn to see them. 

All my three companions during the Nepal trip passed on the activity but I was so determined to do it so I went alone. The afternoon before, I went to a travel agency across our B&B and booked a flight. 

That day, I woke up really early because my flight was scheduled at 6am. I was taken to the domestic terminal of the Tribuvhan Airport. Check in was fast and the flight was a little delayed so I had a lot of time to kill (to read a book and to observe random people) at the gate.

At the start of the flight, we were given brochures with panoramic photos of the mountains and their names as reference.

The highest peak in the world

Guess from where did I take that photo of Mt. Everest above? Actually I did not take it, the airplane's first officer took it for me while I was inside the cockpit! Yes, you read that right, I went inside the plane cockpit! (See, that USD182 is soooo expensive but soooo worth it!)

I was seated on the right-hand side of the plane so while everyone on the left-hand side was enjoying the view from their windows, we, the passengers on the right-hand side get called to visit the cockpit and the opposite happens when the plane turns around. The first officer was really friendly. He asked where I'm from and when I told him that I'm from the Philippines, he said happily and with an accent, "Magandang umaga! Kamusta ka?" I was just surprised! Aside from the two Filipina flight attendants whom we met during our arrival at the airport, I've never heard anyone else outside my group speak Filipino in Nepal as there aren't many. Turns out, the first officer did his pilot training in Manila!

Did I ever mention about how, when I was in high school, I kind of wanted to be a pilot? However, I dismissed the thought because I knew that my family cannot afford to send me to flying school.

Come to think of it, it's my first time to SEE snow!

Countless people have asked me before and after I took the flight, "isn't that dangerous?" Well, I have to admit that I was scared at first but that's only because it's my first time to take a plane this small:

10 rows, 3 columns (only the window seats are occupied for maximum enjoyment, of course)!

Indeed it was expensive but to me, the experience was worth it and is something that I will always treasure.

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