The Kathmandu Valley, lies at the crossroads of ancient Asian civilizations, and has over  130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for both Hindus and Buddhists alike. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the valley which are a big draw for the thousands of international tourists who visit each year.   Since I was first there in 1980,  the population of Kathmandu City has more than doubled creating new problems of infrastructure, air quality and potable water.  For its part, the government has implemented moderate reform programs to combat these problems, but because of financial and political instability, the problems continue to  escalate.  In spite of this, the Nepali people  look towards the future with a sense of optimism.  Namaste is not a hollow greeting but a genuine sign of welcome.