3/26/04: "After some minor delays, we had our first patch of bad luck upon
arrival in Kathmandu. Our trekking agent in Kathmandu (Suraya) has been
imprisoned. There was no-one at the airport to pick us up, and after waiting
several hours, we decided to organize it ourselves. We tried to contact Suraya
(no reply), and eventually took a taxi to Thamel.
We managed to contact Suraya's brother, who told us Suraya is being held in
Kathmandu jail. At least his brother could confirm that the preparations for
our expedition are all done. Our date of departure to Tibet however remains
unclear, and we will still have to organize the fuel for our stoves.
Apart from these organizational tasks, we will try to put in a good word
for Suraya at various ministries. Suraya got arrested five days ago, but
nobody knows what the charges are. Possibly, others being jealous of his
success as a trekking agent?
We do not know yet whether our cargo has been released either.
We had a beer, which nearly knocked us over. Might have something to do
with the long journey as well. All in all, we arrived safely, but a lot of
things remain to be organized. Come what may, we will be on our way to
Basecamp soon. With or without Suraya.
Tomorrow we will dispatch the first pictures, now it's time for some rest.
Tomorrow we will sort out the fuel, departure, the cargo and Suraya's release.
Best, Wilco, Ron and Rex"
Update "Surya Bastakoti still
Our agent Surya Bastakoti is
still missing. The team have sent an urgent fax to the Dutch Consulate in
Nepal and various Nepali government departments in which they plea for a
timely release of Mr Bastakoti. Fortunately, Surya had completed most of the
preparations for our expedition, but Rex, Ron and Wilco will have to sort out
the final details. We are in the process of doing so.
Cargo stuff: We are also
experiencing some trouble with the cargo that DHL delivered at Kathmandu
airport in time. The Nepali customs are not very eager to release it. Harm
Jan, our contact at DHL is helping the best he can, even though the problem is
not within DHL's responsibilities. Such wonderful service! And there is still
the last package with equipment that has to arrive. However, it will be here
in Kathmandu on Wednesday earliest."
Apparently Surya Bastakoti is
the director of Mount Pumori Treks, their agent in KTM!