Up at 5.20am to yet another bout of unwellness. Final packing and weighing of case then made it down all 30 stairs with 3 bags and case without either dropping anything or falling. It was raining a bit so sheltered under the eaves of the Swotha Kiosk while waiting for the taxi. It was fascinating to watch the early morning worshippers around the Krisha and Radha Temple in Swotha Square who made offerings, pressed their foreheads to the stones and invariably walked clockwise round the shrines.
Taxi arrived just after 6am and headed off the wrong way to the airport. It transpired that the driver had to hand over some keys and a bag to his friend after which we turned round and headed the right way. It was good in a way as we ended up going round a lot of the places I have been recently so I was able to see them for a last time.
Arrived at the airport in good time and at the third attempt managed to locate the correct door to go in. All doors led to the same place so I dont' really understand what the fuss was about! Went straight to Oman Air check in and realised I was over the weight limit for luggage by about 2kg. I said nothing and neither did they and they tagged the bags and sent them on their way. A big relief.
There are strict import/export rules on Nepalese Rupees so I changed all my remaining rupees into dollars at the bank counter. Then up the escalator to passport control and into the much smartened up departure lounge which now boasts 3 coffee shops, gift shops and decent seating. This is a huge improvement on the bare room of previous trips. I got myself a coffee and bottle of water and paid in dollars receiving my change in rupees. When I commented that I couldn't take them out of the country he took them back!! Spent about an hour reading and drinking my coffee before going through security to the departure lounge no 2 (bare and uncomfortable) and straight to the gate (bare and uncomfortable). After a short delay we were loaded onto the plane and settled down.
I was delighted that there was no-one in the middle seat of 3 and settled down for the 4 hour flight to Muscat. Given the generally murky weather outside I didn't hold out much hope of a view and certainly there was no view of the Kathmandu Valley or city as we took off. However, once above the clouds I was finally rewarded with the tops of the Himalayas poking their heads into the sunshine. I took many photographs.
The flight was relatively uneventful although due to the state of my stomach I couldnt' eat and just had water. Oman Air are great but they are not generous with their cups of tea! Ate more immodium and then listened to Jennings' Diary on my MP3 player which I had downloaded before leaving. I watched the Skymap and we flew over Nepal into India then turned right and flew over Pakistan, Southern Afghanistan (which is just barren) then over the Oman Sea to Muscat where we landed on time.
Disembarked quickly then stood in a queue for 10 minutes to get through transit and into the main terminal. I was feeling really poorly by this time and when I tested my blood my sugars were low having not eaten for 24 hours. I headed to Costa Coffee for another milky coffee and a sandwich then to the Pharmacy opposite where I explained my predicament and that I had another 8 hour flight and the immodium was having no effect whatsoever. After a short lecture on the importance of eating the pharmacist gave me two lots of tablets - really not entirely sure what they are but I wasn't in a state to argue - and told me how to take them. I then bought sweets and plain biscuits at WHSmiths (Yes, in Oman!!) and headed to the departure gate.
At the gate I was informed I could not take my water through security. I pointed out I wasn't well and needed to take medicine but they were unrelenting. So I sat down on the floor by a pillar and took what I needed to before going back to the gate where the security guards made me take everything out of my rucksack and turn on the laptop, take off my shoes and were generally unpleasant.
Had a bit of a melt down then and cried. I got onto the bus to the plane and when I got on the plane I said to the stewardess that I was feeling unwell and if they had any spare seats could I possibly sit on my own. She said she would see. Settled into my seat and we took off late (a connecting flight was late in apparently) and it was a bumpy take off. After about 15 minutes the stewardess came over and said to the man next to me that I wasn't feeling well so would he mind moving. He got a coveted seat by the bulkhead and I had 2 seats to myself which was brilliant. I curled up with the seat rest up and dozed. The stewardess asked me if I wanted to be woken for meals and I said no but when I next opened my eyes and the subsequent times after there was always a fresh bottle of water or juice. They were really kind.
I really didn't think that the flight would ever come to an end. I listened to more Jennings until the battery ran out then tried to read but couldn't. Started to watch a film - The Railway Man - then fell sound asleep for about an hour and a half until we hit bad turbulence over the Czech Republic which was nearly disastrous to my stomach but ok. Then watched the end of the movie (it was very good) and dozed until we finally landed about 30 minutes late.
It was impressive that from arriving at the gate to walking out of departures to meet dad took a little over 15 minutes including passport control where the electronic gates were slower than the real people desks (I went for a real person!). Luggage all arrived then met Dad for a welcome big hug. We went back to the car then out onto the M25 in the rain and dark. It took about 2 hours to reach home where Mum had a hug and a cup of tea waiting. I had a hot shower then drank the tea - bliss - before heading to bed and sleeping like a log.
It was great being away but it's lovely to be home!