The road less travelled… (Part I)

And so the New Year begins….

Were there to have been Christmas tinsel and trimmings in abundance in Nepal, (and as far as I can see there aren’t!), the last ten days has been a world apart from all of that. The decision not to spend Christmas and New Year in the ‘traditional’ Western fashion was relatively easy, and so on 23rd December began a journey with little planning beyond a starting point. Rupandehi a town some distance west of Banepa, where a number of other VSO volunteers are currently based. After that…a blank sheet of paper.

Having been used to hills and mountains where I’m living, (on a clear day you can see the Himalayas from the fields behind my house), it’s something of a surprise to find myself in an area which is almost completely flat and featureless. Less surprising however than being met by Sandy and Akke Antje at Bhairahawa airport who have cycled out there. The surprise is not that they’ve cycled out there, but that the return journey involves me cycling back on Akke Antje’s bike with her sitting side saddle on the parcel rack at the back. It’s a pretty familiar sight in reality, but probably not something I’d plan to replicate on the roads of Portsmouth! Having already considered the possibilities of a computer game called ‘Nepali Minibus Driver’, (click here if you want to know what I’m on about! You have to read a fair way, but its worth it…), a slightly more sedate version called ‘Bideshi’s on Bicycles’ may occupy some of my thinking at a later date…

Rupandehi. John Callaway 2010

Rupandehi. John Callaway 2010

Christmas Eve is spent at Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, which is near to Rupandehi. Akke Antje and Sandy both work in a school there, and so are well known by many of the monks, which offers the opportunity to sit and eat with a couple of them, before being shown around the Sacred Garden & the Maya Devi temple by one of them. Sometimes words are better than pictures, so…

“After I am no more, O Ananada

Men of belief will visit the place with faith, curiosity and devotion…

Lumbini, the place where I was born.

The path to ultimate peace is spiritual discipline”

The Buddha

On reflection... John Callaway 2010

On reflection... John Callaway 2010

 

…to be continued…

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