We arrived in Lukla yesterday afternoon for our final night before heading back to Kathmandu. Our hotel is the Buddha Lodge, which is located right at the end of the runway, so we get to see all the action of helicopters and airplanes arriving and departing from this high altitude airfield that serves as the logistics and transportation hub for the region.
Yesterday afternoon, just prior to arriving in Lukla, we got a break from the rain and were invited to have tea at the home of our guide, Nigma Sange. After completing our journey, our head guide, Kalden Sherpa also invited us to his home for tea and we got to meet his beautiful wife Lakpa who is 8 1/2 months pregnant with their first child. They were so gracious in allowing us a glimpse into their lives. Both are very excited about the pending birth! Interestingly, there is a small hospital here in Lukla, but when the time comes the only way to get there is to walk up and down steep, uneven, stairs and pathways… another example of the strength of these people.
Due to a closure of the main runway in Kathmandu, we are once again forced to consider a helicopter flight (just like when we flew into Lukla 12 days ago) in order to avoid what could end up being a 1 to 2 day delay, which would impact our return flight to the U.S. Although we were all hoping to experience an airplane flight into or out of this airport, we can’t afford the domino effect of continued delays.