November 08, 2014

Lumbini, Nepal

The Tourist Bus Park in Pokhara.
The Tourist Bus Park in Pokhara.

I woke up at 06:00, showered, dressed, packed my bag, checked out of the hotel, and walked to the Tourist Bus Park. I then waited around for about an hour next to some poor dog trying to rest outside of the sun’s bright rays; I had a healthy breakfast consisting of Mountain Dew, a Snickers, and a Bounty bar. Finally, it came time to load my bags on to the bus and take my seat. Eventually, due to a couple wanting to sit next to each other, I ended up sitting next to some Nepali man with Maoist facial hair who wasn’t all there upstairs (I got the impression he had fried his mind long ago due to drugs). While the passengers were having their tickets checked, the Nepali man sitting next to me opened up the bus window and jumped out of the window to smoke a cigarette (most people would’ve walked down the bus aisle and exited out the door, but to each his own). The bus then started her engines, the Nepali man returned to take his seat next to me, and we drove off, heading south to Lumbini, near the Indian border, some time after 08:30. Much of the drive (almost all of it) was on winding hillside roads that barely had enough room to fit two vehicles going in each direction. We stopped twice on the way; first at a gas station that offered almost nothing to eat or drink and then at a remote roadside restaurant that offered little more than the gas station (oh well, no food or drink for me). Throughout the bus ride, the Nepali man sitting next to me appeared to grow agitated from the cramped conditions on the bus (you’d think he would be used to this since it’s normal in Nepal – at least from what I’ve witnessed) and he began pounding the seat in from of him with his fists and stretching his hands and fingers with the assistance of a string (I do believe his brain had been fried; if not by drugs, perhaps by Maoist doctrine). After, about seven hours of driving, the bus arrived at Lumbini. I got off the bus, grabbed my bag, and searched for a reasonably priced but nice hotel. After checking several hotels, I settled on one with air conditioning near the bus stop and near Siddhartha Gautama’s birthplace (I think this is the most expensive place I’ve stayed at during my travels, at about $34 USD per night; also, with all the construction going on here, you’d think they just discovered the Buddha was born here; I mean, they had nearly 2,500 years to build accommodations for all the pilgrims; you’d think they’d be done). I then relaxed inside my room before ordering dinner (I had beer, spaghetti with a minced meat sauce and cheese, and chili seasoned chicken with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes). After dinner, I bought some snacks and another bottle of beer (I’m still hungry after my long hike). I then nearly collapsed on my bed due to exhaustion from staying up later than usual and my body’s tired state from the long hike. It was not long before I fell asleep.

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.