Greetings from Hong Kong! I am off on another amazing journey. Everyone is again invited to come along with me this time to experience the Himalayas. This has certainly been a year of traveling for me. I will have to blame the current trip on Dr. Lorraine Croft who upon my return from Africa stated it simply had to be done this year and organized it. Who am I to say no? The original plan was to travel to Bhutan next year- so much for the best laid plans.
For me, Bhutan has always held a sort of mystical quality and has always been on my list of places to visit. I have a natural affinity for mountains and this seems like the perfect place to experience some very high and very ancient mountains. I am also enthralled with the kingdom itself and its spiritual alignment which seems opposed to the rest of the outside world. I believe it will be an amazing experience to meet the people and to more deeply immerse myself in the architecture and beliefs of Buddhism. I must admit I am relatively ignorant when it comes to this particular religion. The Bhutan portion of my journey begins on October 21, 2011 when we arrive in Paro from Bangkok, Thailand.
Our entire tour only lasts for 14 days so since I came all this way, I decided to call a very old friend Elsie James, who I knew through Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies, as she is very knowledgeable of Nepal and I determined it was essential after Bhutan to simply travel next door and experience the hike up to Everest base camp as well as a portion of the Annapurna circuit most particularly including the Annapurna sanctuary. This will extend my journey by another four weeks for a total of six weeks. As one of my friends stated “do you ever work” ? The answer is yes but in reducing quantities. I have been blessed in life with good health, fitness and reasonable finances as well as being my own boss. I have also been fortunate to find fill in physicians to cover my practice while I am away. This has afforded me the opportunity to do some exploring and increasing my exposure to different cultures and regions around the world. This certainly has been fun but I also think it has expanded my horizons and led me to be a better person/physician. Who knows-perhaps I will start to expand out and do some relief work in developing countries. I will have an opportunity to at least explore this on a superficial level with Elsie when I am in Nepal.
Presently, I am sitting in a hotel in Hong Kong-the Regal Airport Hotel after a lovely Twany Port. The hotel is relatively posh. I flew in today after an overnight flight from Vancouver of course originally having departed from Calgary on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Overnight flights are never easy but certainly it was made much easier pharmacologically due to the little “blue” pill as my friend Evelyn calls it (and no, I do not mean Viagra) as well as by the wonderful selection of classical music on the audiovisual system which did a great job of settling my frayed nerves after the always present stress of my departure. The flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong was uneventful and about 13 hours. I was quite impressed with this staff and service on Cathay Pacific. Highly recommended if you are traveling to Asia.
I am sorry I have no pictures to post with this blog posting today. Somehow security areas and airports do not inspire the photographer in me. Perhaps I’ll get a couple of photographs of the lovely hotel before I depart tomorrow. Tomorrow it is off to Bangkok for a one night stay at the Novatel Airport Hotel. I will meet the other seven members of our group who will be traveling with me to Bhutan. The day after we will fly out from Bangkok and land in Paro, Bhutan to start the first part of our trekking adventure. Yes!
This has certainly been one of the most challenging adventures to plan for so stay tuned because in the next several posts (gear-head alert!) I will outline what I decided to bring along for this unique adventure. I have certainly been accused of being a gear-head and I must plead guilty as charged. Gear certainly enables the enjoyment of whatever activities one is planning on doing, it also makes them more comfortable (important for my aging bones) and is certainly required if you wish to capture any visual or auditory memories of your journey which is really the whole point-so give it up for gear!
Anyways, fatigue is starting to set in so I am off to bed. Please check the blog website frequently over the next six weeks and I will continue to update you all. Thank you for your attention.