Hard to believe that 5 days ago I was hooded and celebrating the completion of my PhD with family and friends and now I'm already on the other side of the world, settled into Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu, Nepal. I flew east this time from Austin - Atlanta - Barcelona - Doha - Kathmandu for a grand total of 36 hours including layovers. This was a new route for me as we typically fly west through Tokyo and Bangkok, but I'll be taking a couple weeks off after this trip to celebrate in Belgium and Spain, so it was most convenient to fly through Europe.
Unfortunately, the security at the Barcelona airport wasn't too thrilled by the quantity of lithium batteries I had in my carry-on luggage. It was only 16 CR2 batteries, 2 laptop batteries, 4 smaller batteries for the dGPS, and a 12V battery for the GPR and sonar system (for those of you who may be wondering what those acronyms mean - I'll detail them a bit when the time comes that we use them in the field). Anyways, this meant I had to leave the terminal, drop off the 12V battery, and go back through security. The good news was that I had plenty of time, so this was not an issue. I actually had so much time during my 10-hour layover that I went into Barcelona for lunch, so all in all I'd say Barcelona was a success. We'll be able to purchase a new battery in Kathmandu, so no harm done.
Being back in Nepal feels wonderful. I’ve already had lunch with Dhananjay, who runs the Himalayan Research Expedition, i.e., our trekking company that takes care of everything: transportation, lodging, meals, permits, carrying our equipment, and man power in the field. You name it and they’ll make it happen. They allow us to focus solely on our research and without their support we would accomplish very little, so a big thanks to them before our trek even begins! We’ll spend the next couple days here in Kathmandu, where we’ll have a few meetings, get all our gear in order, and work on kicking this jet lag. It’s going to be a great trip.