Return to Everest 2009 Update 23 March: Travel Notes From Scott Parazynski

Day 1/March 22, 2009 (Sunday)
The first steps are some of the hardest

Every journey begins with a single, critical step. Once in motion, keeping your heading and inertia becomes much easier, the goal more in focus. I am now thankfully very much in motion, half a world away from home, blogging from the comfort of a cafe in the Frankfurt (Germany) airport, ABBA playing somewhat annoyingly the background. Ten hours ago, riding to the airport with Gail, Luke and Jenna, I had a tight knot in my stomach, trying to make light of the "quick trip" I had planned to Everest's summit and back, and otherwise trying to remain upbeat despite the anguish of separation we'd soon face. A curbside drop-off with two enormous and overweight duffels made the goodbye hugs pass too quickly, but once inside the terminal I pushed away any uncertainty I might have had and strode with confidence towards the Lufthansa counter. With just under 4 hours of sleep last night and weeks of planning and training, plus months of daily dreaming of it, I was finally on my way back to the Himalayas!=

With a few hours of down time here in Frankfurt, I attempted to latch onto the GPS satellite network with my cool new SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker unit. While GPS devices do quite well through glass (as I verified driving around Houston last week), metal-framed buildings are not their friends --- and the terminal is partially covered in corrugated metal to boot. I'll have plenty of opportunity to show SPOT the whole sky once I get to Nepal, and allow family, friends and other followers the ability to follow me step by step up the flanks of Everest...

My travel continues from here to Doha, Qatar, and then another hop to Katmandu, Nepal. I made good use of the first leg, transcribing some of my journals from last year's expedition (excerpts of which will soon post on www.onorbit.com/everest), and took a very sound nap. My travel agent, Pirjo, is very clever, and obtained an aisle seat for me in the middle section of the Boeing 747, 49G, just as she'd done the year before. Although the flight was almost entirely full, the two seats to my left were empty, providing a big goon like me room to stretch out!

Dep IAH 1803 Central Arr FRA 0315 Central (0915 local) (09:12 elapsed)

Day 2/March 23, 2009 (Monday)
Fast forward around the world

Uneventful flight on Qatar Airlines - outstanding food and service, with the aircraft empty. More of my 2008 journal entries were transcribed from my scribbled yellow notebooks onto my MacBook, and more power napping successfully accomplished.

It's just before midnight here in Doha, but the airport is lit up like a Friday night in Vegas, with dozens of flights arriving and departing all through the night. I have five hours to catch some shut-eye with the lights and flight public announcement system blaring constantly - after all, they need to repeat every message in Arabic, English and often German. Achtung!

Day 3/March 24, 2009 (Tuesday)
Goin' to Katmandu

To be continued...

Note: you can track Scott's progress on the map located on his shared page at SPOT.

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