We are here! Long journey but all went well. Can recommend Qatar Airways- beats Easyjet. “Posh!!” hotel tonight -nice Nepalese meal and a shower. Had a quick walk out on the streets. Just as we remembered from our 1999 trip but suffering even more now since the civil war with pollution masks the order of the day for many people. The current political stalemate is allowing the city to heave again although the tourists, so necessary for the economy, are noticible by their absence.

The flight in with the Hymalaya clear as far as the horizon, was as moving as was before. How can a country so geographically beautiful have such political upheaval and such poverty. Currently the 13th poorest country in the world. Kathmandu flows with disorganised traffic and streets full of rubbish and livestock.It is just like the worst Indian cities yet it’s people are fabulous. The tourist shops are packed full of pashminas, pictures of mountains and the usual tat but with so few tourists here we wonder how they get by. Through all this, even though they invite you to buy, there is no hassle only respect and friendliness. I am not saying that the bad elements don’t exist , of course they do and far greater than last time, we have been warned to really look after belongings. However, it is good to be able to go out in the evening to soak up the atmosphere.

It will be good to compare this wwith the remote villages in the next few days. We fly Yeti Airways to Pokhara early tomorrow where we will meet up with our main contact Chandra. His niece Jhanra met us today and has been an absolute star arranging flights and accommodation. We had green tea with her in her little office in a back street near here.

As for fitness my back is OK at present but then I have been sitting for the past two days. We will see when the treks start. Can’t wait. Sue had a good birthday – free champagne and a cuddly toy gift from Qater Airways. That old birthday trick always works!

Off to bed now early start tomorrow. Will update when I can.

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