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Last night we swatted mosquitos and tried to sleep with a net over our heads before the 4:00 am wakeup call. Unfortunately we can't fly straight to Everest Base Camp because the drastic change in altitude would kill us. Avoiding death is a good reason to walk. We decided to fly to Lukla, a place that is about a week's hike from Everest. The only airlines that fly to Lukla are: Yeti Air, Cosmic Air, or Buddha Air. None of these are partners with United Airlines, so we can't get frequent flyer miles. We flew Yeti Air, but we should've picked Buddha Air because we did a lot of praying during the landing. The pilot banked steeply to avoid a mountain and then landed on a short, 200 yard gravel strip on the mountainside. Rough landing. I could feel rocks kicked up by the plane's wheels hit the metal beneath my feet. The joke was that the plane couldn't touch down in Lukla because Lukla's runway was under repair. Thinking we should have walked to Lukla, we boarded a helicopter which flew us the rest of the way.
The pilot banks sharply to avoid the mountain, then drops and hits the brakes before running off the airstrip.
It's a mad scramble to the helicopter, which only waits for a few minutes before taking off.
Dominique is the only other person on our guided tour; she's from Montreal so she is naturally rebellious.