April 14, 2010
I have arrived! Surprise, today is Nepal’s New Year’s Day! Not a coincidence I am sure. The flight was easy; I spent most of it sleeping. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by the low noise level and lack of high energy activity that is standard at most airports; the energy was peaceful.
I scanned the crowd of waiting drivers displaying handmade signs with names scribbled in different styles and sizes looking for my name, when from the crowd emerged a young man. Between his hands he was holding a sign bearing my name and he wore a huge smile as he questioned, “Carol Buckley?” A surge of joy ran through me as I returned the smile. I had arrived!
It was a short drive to Thamel through crowded streets, and I mean crowded, with cars, pedestrians, buses, motor bikes and rickshaws crisscrossing over every inch of the narrow road. Surprisingly the congestion was stimulating and I was thankful that the air quality was not what I expected; it was not at all offensive. Colors blurred as we sped past every size and shape shop that lined the narrow pothole riddled streets.
The main road leading to my lodging, The Sun Rise Cottage, billed as “like your home,” was blocked in preparation for the New Year’s Day celebration. Color was bursting out everywhere — flowers, lights, fabrics…and music. What a fabulous welcome!
And how wonderful that the standard greeting is namaste. I feel like I have really arrived home.