As I was flying over the Atlantic, crossing timezones from darkness to dawn, Yasser Arafat was heading in the opposite direction, finally slipping into the night.
I heard about his death on the radio in the taxi from the airport. A BBC team was already on its way to Cairo, which meant I thankfully didn't have to turn back around and catch another plane.
Some will be mourning the death of a great symbol of resistance. Others will be rejoicing at the passing of a terrorist.
Either way, with Arafat finally gone there is a short window of opportunity for progress in the stalled Middle East peace process. Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qureia are acceptable to Israel and the United States and -- freed from Arafat's interference -- they could potentially bring closer the day when their predecessor's dream of a Palestinian state becomes a reality.
But Hamas has already vowed to continue its jihad against Israel. Continued violence in the West Bank and Gaza and a protracted power struggle within the Palestinian Authority would give Ariel Sharon justifiable reason not to reopen negotiations.
Let's hope this unique chance for peace will not be squandered.