A school group, a small aeroplane, and a bit of pain.

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A gleaming grin from the doorman greeted us as we moved towards the glass pane doors of the hotel. His bright smile contrasted with his young, coffee coloured skin in a way that made our group long to stay for another night. Our group included an assortment of school-girls and teachers. We were a diverse band of twenty-one Aussies gathered in the lobby, chattering tunefully amongst ourselves about the magnificent expedition we had endured a little under three days earlier. Staying at the Radisson Hotel was complete bliss for all of us; our previous accommodation vastly differed from this wondrous Earthly version of Heaven. We had returned from a fourteen-day hike of the famous Annapurna Circuit, enthralled and enlightened. With reenergised souls and freshly clean attire we carried our dirty, overweight duffle bags through the wide doors out to our bus, exchanging a farewell “Namaste” with the kind doorman along the way. The Junbesi Medical Centre was our next stop on this trip of a lifetime. That afternoon we were to fly out of Kathmandu and land in the small villiage of Phaplu, hike for three hours to Junbesi and volunteer at the Medical Centre for the next few days. The windows of the bus were prodded and pressed on as we drove through the chaos of Kathmandu on the way to the airport, taking every opportunity to capture the frenzy with our cameras. The traffic conditions were horrendous due to the dense population and almost everyone’s inability to obey road rules. It was like a horde of dogs trying to squeeze past one another to get to their dinner bowl, with the addition of loud car horns and clueless pedestrians. Our bus driver gripped his steering wheel in frustration while the rest of us gaped at this maniacal form of tran... ... middle of paper ... ...e but even then I found myself praying to God and thinking of those I loved. Again waves of nausea drenched and bleached my mind, stealing my attention back to my almost unbearable agony. The minutes seemed to torturously crawl by before the plane started its descent. The small Phaplu airstrip sat on the edge of a hill between valleys, the landing was known to be difficult but the pilots were experienced and knew how to manage it. The plane glided onto the dirt airstrip and relief spread throughout all of us as we felt the tyres touch onto the earth. My severe nausea left me drained and barely conscious but I was able open my eyes and look over at Georgia. Through blurred vision I could still see the worried lines on her face and her glinting eyes full of anxiety. In that moment the angst and infirmity faded for we had landed safely and that was all that mattered.

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