November 10, 2006 - We have arrived Kathmandu one day after a peace accord...

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Kami gets our boarding passes as we watch planes arrive and depart from the tiny Lukla airport. Arriving to and departing from the mountain airport is an adventure in itself. The runway is short and sloped. The 16 seat planes arrive by landing up hill and their take offs look as if they are being shot from a slingshot. People deplane in a line, while another line is formed with the passengers entering the plane. The two lines cross in front of the plane and the entire turnaround takes less than 10 minutes. We fly between mountain peaks and have incredible views from the windows. Our arrival in Kathmandu at 9AM is managed as speedily as our

departure from Lukla. Kami and men from the Peak Promtion team grab our luggage for us, and whisk us out of the airport in less than 10 minutes after our arrival. We feel a little awkward and a bit like a king and queen with all of the care that the Peak Promotion team takes with us.

The sights and sounds of Kathmandu are intense after the quiet of the mountains. , Peak Promotion's staff, tells us that we have arrived one day after a peace accord was signed between the Nepali coalition government and the Maoists. We see young Maoists parade happily in the streets while our hosts share their optimism for the future with us.

The luxury of the Yak and Yeti hotel is welcome as we take our first hot showers in a week. We brave the Kathmandu traffic to go out for lunch. Less than five minutes after we are seated, an American we met during our trek is seated next to us. He then joins us for a cheery lunch. I head out shopping and Jack goes looking for an internet café. Walking down a street I’ve never been on before, I hear my name being called and see two German fellow trekkers crossing the street to greet me. We hug and share our “finds.” Shopping for gifts with the necessary bargaining takes longer than expected, so I take a rickshaw back to the hotel in order to be there near the time we have agreed to meet. At dinner we find a group of Australian trekkers we’d met on the trail several times already seated in the restaurant. Again there are laughs and hugs. After the trek, Kathmandu no longer seems as foreign as we seem to meet more people we know in a few hours than we do in Boston.