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The Road to Shambala

October 1, 2012

Well waking up after our night out in Pokhara was a little hard, but not as bad as we all thought it would be. Emma and I ate breakfast early (Gary and Alyson joined us at the end of our meal). After breakfast we took one last wonder down to the lake then went for a coffee in one of the cafes over looking the main street and headed back to meet our group for our flight back to Kathmandu.

We were taking a short flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu, only about 30 minutes. Chitra warned us that there were protests going on at the airport over discussions to turn it into an international destination. As we headed that way, frighteningly close to our fight time, we ran into protest traffic. Crawling along we passed a raised platform with a row of women sitting cross-legged beneath  sign announcing a “relay hunger strike.” I’m not sure what a relay hunger strike is, but I’m thinking they take turns not eating. This is probably the only hunger strike I can get down with, but also seems a bit inefficient to make a point.

I have no idea how they could turn that airport into an international one. It was tiny and chaotic. We were pointed in a bunch of different ways to get through security. Our bags were scanned over and over, and finally we had to line up, women in one line, men in another, for a hand pat down. Once we were at Gate 1 (and as far as any of us could tell the only gate in the airport, we awaited our Buddha air flight. Two hours after we were due to fly, we began boarding the tiny plane. Some of the more nervous flyers among us were white knuckled during the short trip, but we landed safely after flying home at an altitude lower then the one to which we’d just climbed.

Most of our group headed out for a chinese lunch and some shopping in Thamil Square, one of the main shopping districts. Emma and I headed to the nearby Raddison, choosing instead to sneak into their rooftop pool lounge for a cocktail and sunset over the city.

We all gathered at the hotel for a final dinner, email and Facebook exchanges, and a lot of hugs. Fiona will be in Kathmandu for a few more days, Emma and I ware leaving the next afternoon, but everyone else was in the morning.

What a great trip!

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