Day 2 October 4th 2014
Work up to a lovely breakfast with the group on the roof top of the Sacred Valley Inn this morning. Breakfast was a delicious traditional Nepali “lunch” (as lunch is served traditionally at 9-10 am and dinner is at 7 pm). The meal consisted of Dahl (yellow lentils) with steamed rice and chapati (similar to what we know as rotti). So tasty!
During breakfast Metteyya and Bodhi went over some housekeeping rules of Nepal. Here are some things to remember:
– always eat with your right hand as left is used for cleaning yourself (although this rule seemed odd to me because unless you only use your right hand for everything, there is bound to be contamination between hands ex: touching a railing on a stair case… you touch it with your right going up it and someone else may touch it with their left going down it. Gina and I had a long discussion about the logistics of this rule and came to the conclusion its best to stick to cutlery)
– squatting toilets are traditional in Nepal and toilet paper is very uncommon if impossible to come by. So essentially bring your own toilet paper, EVERYWHERE!
– if eating with your hands which is traditional in Nepal, eat with your right, scope food into your hand and push it into your mouth with your thumb. Never stuff your hand in your mouth and never lick your hands after eating. (Sounds way easier then it ended up being)
We spend the morning and afternoon touring the old market places of Thamel, buying scarfs and spices. Saw lots of different things including front doors! Yes clearly we have front doors in Canada but Nepali front doors are very small and low hanging, maybe 4-5 feet high. The purpose of this was so that, one to make the doors more structurally strong so that when thieves tried to break into homes it was harder to do so and two having the doors so low reminds people to bow when they enter the home.
We went into this one temple were hundreds of pigeons stayed, literally hundreds, when you ran through the crowd of them they all flew up in the air, it was unbelievable! The sound made in the temple when no one was talking was so blissful, hundreds of pigeons making a melody of peace.
After resting in the afternoon the group made out way to Dharma (another district in Kathmandu) to see Boudhanath, one of the largest stupa’s in the Nepal. A stupa is round half spherical structure which is home to Buddhist relics (ashes), so essentially Buddhist tomb sites. This particular stupa is rumored to be home to Kassapa Buddha’s remains (Kassapa was the 3rd Buddha of 5 Buddha’s known to the world).
We walked around the whole stupa doing a mini meditation. It was calm at this time of night as all tourists had left the area. Night time seems to be the best time to visit tourist places in Nepal, no beggars, few tourists and a quite evening breeze.
There was a huge prayer wheel at the site which we all went around and spun. A prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel which has symbols written on the outside of it and a inside there are prayers written on paper in it. Whenever someone spins the wheel these each spin sends out these prayers into the world! So cute!