Boarding an airplane bound for LI Kathmandu for the first time-the capital of a country billed for the past few decades as a vanishing Shangri-La-one is immediately reminded of the movie Lost Horizon, with the exotic collection of oriental faces on the Royal Nepal flight. Even though the flight from India is a short routine hop from the searing hot plains to the snow-capped Himalaya, one can't help feeling transported to a magical kingdom.
Emerging from the clouds to an opening in the valley, suddenly paddy fields begin to appear with reddish brick and adobe houses clinging to steep terraced hills. The world's highest snow-capped mountains come into view on the horizon and for the excited first-timers, shutters click and videotapes roll. As peaks are cleared and the plane prepares for landing, there is a certain excitement about entering this mountain kingdom that, until the
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