A Travellerspoint blog

February 2019

SADHUS OF PASHUPATINATH

AND MOVING ON TO PATAN

sunny 20 °C
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I am now so far behind that I can no longer distinguish the days or what we did on each day so I will attempt a brief recap of what has been happening.

We went to visit the local conjugation of Sadhus. These, as you may recall from Varanasi, India, are the hotel men who live without material goods. I have to say, from the outside looking in briefly, there appears to be a very fine line between the Sadhus and any community of homeless crazy people. Many of them wear little clothes and the temperatures get quite low at night. They also depend on handouts to live….so we did hand over a few dollars to get these snaps. It is interesting and makes for great photo ops.

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The other interesting things in this location are the burning ghats. This was much smaller and more intimate than in Varanasi. Completely fascinating. In Nepal, unlike India, woman are involved in the ceremony. Their crying is accepted although some still hold the school of thought that the crying keeps the soul from transitioning.

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We visited a senior’s home.

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In the evening, we toured the lovely town of Patan where we spent the night.

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Posted by curlygirl 08:44 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

BHAKATAPUR AND BOUDHANATH TEMPLE

MORE LOCAL LIFE

sunny 18 °C
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A quick post about my second day here. As I mentioned internet is at a premium and this (into my forth day in Nepal and second hotel) is the best we have so I am catching up. I can’t load it to proof read so more typos than usual. Still it is intermittent. I can’t get my email to open except on my cell service on my phone. Not hard to remember how good life is in Canada.

Water is at a premium. Most homes have no running water and our last hotel had limited. We constantly see people at the wells collecting buckets of water. I was able to get one shower with lower pressure not enough to wash my hair) and it was, at best, luke warm. Last night I had a lovely hot shower but we then lost the electricity until we returned from our outing this morning so I went to bed with wet hair. Truly first world problems that give you some real perspective.

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So just a few pictures of the people around Bhaktapur….some damage from the quake. I had pictures of the square yesterday but couldn’t get them to upload. I will share when I get home.

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Last night we visited the largest Tibetan temple in the world. So many people. There is a correct way to walk around the temple and when I tried to go the other way it was futile.

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A truly beautiful and peaceful place. There is something special here.

Posted by curlygirl 19:26 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

BHAKTAPUR

ARRIVING IN NEPAL

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My first three nights in Nepal will be spent at a small, simple, family run hotel in Bhaktapur, a small town about 30 minutes from Kathmandu airport.

First impressions…..wow. I know instantly I am back to the Southeast Asia feel that I love. The people seem warm and friendly, the streets are clean (despite the rubble that still remain from the tragic 2015 earthquake) and I am pleased it smells way better than my time in India.

As always with the Nathan Horton photography tours, we hit the ground running. I arrive just in time for dinner. It is so wonderful to be reunited with the group from Myanmar and as if we were never apart, we are laughing and reminiscing immediately. And eating momos….yum. I am in love and will probably eat these every day. We are immediately briefed on our next day, which of course, starts at 6 am. These trips are not to catch up on your rest.

The first morning is spent walking the streets around the hotel. The people are welcoming despite the fact that we are like paparazzi taking photos. Bhaktapur translated is the city of the devoted and it is easy to see why. A hundred temples, big and small, with hundreds of people praying, making their offerings and performing the daily rituals. I am told by my amazing local guide, Bipin, that the offers are to the animals. Rice is tossed and sprinkled for the birds, water tossed to make puddles for all the animals. I am sure there is more to it than that but there isn’t enough internet to read more about it. I am trying to save my SIM card for communications with home and posted a few favorite pictures. In any case, it feels beautiful.

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This afternoon during our rest period, Bipin took us to the Thangka painting shop where beautiful and intricate paintings are made (and the originals concepts made in sand destroyed after months of work because like life, beautiful things are not meant to last forever(beautiful and sad )and then to try the local tea which is excellent.

In the evening we visited Kathmandu and Durbar Square. This is where our guide stood with his tourists when the 2015 - 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. His harrowing story brought me to tears. He was standing immediately next to a building that feel in an instant but in the opposite direction from his group. It was terrifying. The damage is still visible everywhere and many building we visited are being held by sticks as the await restoration. This is a beautiful place with magnificent temples, some that collapsed in those 56 seconds of the first impact and others that stand strong. Hard to not feel emotions visiting here.

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And the spice market

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We witnessed one of many coming of age ceremonies.

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An awesome first day with a million photos to sort through….I must get to that.

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Posted by curlygirl 00:36 Archived in Nepal Tagged nepal bhakatur Comments (2)

THE LEAST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

‘TIS AN ILL WIND THAT DOESN’T BLOW SOME GOOD

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Having loved our time at the Haveli so much, our guide asked us If we wanted to spend another night and do an early drive to Delhi the following day. It seemed like a good plan since neither of us were keen to go back to the big city. Unfortunately, the place was sold out so we were given the option to try another Haveli. We said yes. The online pictures looked lovely but when we arrived to this lovely property saw that our rooms were a bit of a dump as was the town.

There wasn’t much to do but our guide took us out for a wander around the town. Once again there was beautiful architecture intertwined with run down building and garbage everywhere. Our walk was a bit of a downer although we did stop at a small local museum where we had to turn on the lights ourselves in each room. Not much of a tourist town.

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So, a bit of a sombre day.

But, as my mother says, “’tis an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good”. Just by the hotel was a group of women celebrating an upcoming wedding. There was drumming and dancing and the women dragged us in to dance with them. We totally sucked but had a great laugh. We were invited to participate in even more festivities. I actually went back to watch the women’s dance contest later in the evening. So beautiful and I felt so welcome. They insisted I stay for supper and some very spice Indian food but given the way my tummy has responded here, I felt this was not the best option.

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I was less enthused about this pre-wedding event at midnight, one o’clock, and two o’clock in the morning since we had a 330 am rise to depart for Delhi. The music was blasting all night long. Crazy.

So here I sit in Delhi airport, way too early for my flight but ever so grateful for our amazing driver who got us here safely after 2 weeks of navigating the worst traffic and roads I have ever seen. I think the ride to Delhi this morning may have been the worst. Almost impossible to nap as our car scrapped the multiple speed mountains (not bumps) and we weaved in and out of a million trucks in the dark. Yikes.

Anyway, that’s a wrap for India…. I am off to Kathmandu and Sherry is heading home.

Posted by curlygirl 12:53 Archived in India Comments (0)

SHERRY'S HIGHLIGHTS FROM INDIA

SHERRY'S TOP TEN INDIA

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I have just landed in Nepal and have settled in with my group. I have not yet finished the last day's blog or my reflection on India but Sherry has. Tonight, Sherry is our contributing writer for the blog highlighting her memories of out trip.

No matter what she says, we had many laughs, great experiences and lots of good memories to add to our large pile.

Here’s what she remembers most....

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Animals. The song Old MacDonald always comes to mind. You feel like you are constantly on a farm when walking the streets, driving in the city or even on the highways! Everything is sacred so you share the roads with cows, camels, pigs, dogs, monkeys etc.

Horns. I will probably need therapy to get over the constant sound of horns blowing at you. I now jump every time I hear one.

Food. All curry tastes the same. Curry is not a breakfast food.

People. The people are very gracious and obliging and generally welcome your presence. It’s the first time in my life that I have felt famous. I think there are more selfies with me in it than I have pictures. Be wary of the men with the long mustaches!

Children. “Photo photo” “biscuit”. They loved having their pictures taken but they didn’t always want to share the spotlight with others and they loved to look at their images on your phone. They love biscuits and candy.

Poverty. They level of poverty that they live in will forever be etched in my mind. There is lots of beautiful architecture but the beauty is overshadowed by the environment that surrounds it. We are very privileged to live in a country like Canada where something as simple as clean water is a given.

Temples. The rat temple is a place no human should visit

Faith. The level of faith among people who have so little and go without some of the basics of life astounds me

Traffic. Driving is complete and utter chaos at all times. I can’t understand how more people and animals are not run over. Highway driving is nerve wracking! There is no system. It appears to be a free for all! No matter how many lanes there are they try and make more. Never be fooled by distance! 300km usually translates into 5-6 hours of driving. Very thankful for our amazing driver Govid

Garbage. Everywhere you look there was garbage! As the temperatures got warmer the smell became increasingly harder to deal with.

This was not a vacation, it was an experience. One that I am proud to say I survived without a meltdown! I was told before I came that travel in India was hard on many levels but I didn’t think it could possibly be that bad. I was wrong. For me the hardest part was the children. They don’t have a choice. They often don’t have the option for education as their families can’t afford it or the schools are too far away. They seemed very happy but I can’t help feeling sorry for them given how lucky our children are. Grateful for the experience but more grateful for our amazing country Canada!

Sherry’s Top Ten India

I love Indian ice cream and rice pudding

Camel dismounting is harder than it looks

Squat toilets are not my thing

Is peeing in the street necessary ?

I can’t believe that neither of us stepped in any form of poopie.

It is possible to go to India and not get Delhi belly!

It’s not hard to get invited to an Indian wedding!

Havelis can be hazardous

Inequality of women is still an issue

Shelley and I need dance lessons

Posted by curlygirl 07:33 Archived in India Tagged india Comments (2)

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