Today, after nearly 28 hours of travelling, I arrived at Benazir Bhutto International Airport and, after nearly an hour of waiting, retrieved all of my luggage from the baggage carousel. This is the first time that all of my equipment has arrived on my Emirates flight on time, so I am taking it as a good omen for my expedition. I stepped out into the oppressive heat of Islamabad and met with Manzoor just outside the terminal where we loaded my equipment onto a car and headed to the hotel. I showered quickly then headed downstairs to eat breakfast. As I sat down to eat, I was greeted by Badia Bonilla and Mauricio Lopez from Mexico who are also climbing K2 this season and whom I’ve known for 11 years. I then noticed Simone La Terra (Italy), Alex Gavan (Romania), Szilard Suhajda (Hungary), and Mimgma (Nepal) also eating in the same restaurant. All of them are headed to Northern Pakistan in the coming days for expeditions on various 8000 meter peaks. I caught up with Badia and Mauricio, then went upstairs to organize my equipment, which needed to be sent up to Skardu via the Karakorum Highway in the late afternoon. After finishing this work, I finally collapsed into my bed and napped the rest of the afternoon in the comfort of my air conditioned room. I enjoyed Iftar (the evening meal after sunset during Ramadan during which Muslims break their fast) with Manzoor and Ali Muhammed in a restaurant nearby, then returned to my hotel to get an early night’s sleep. Tomorrow I will hopefully fly to Skardu on a PIA flight that is notorious for being cancelled.
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