Day 3 October 5th 2014
I think it would be a good time to quickly discuss the group I decided to take this once in a life time adventure with. CEBA (Canadian Engaged Buddhist Association) is a non-profit organisation that supports multiple projects in Nepal including Metta Gurukul Schools, Peace Grove Institute (Nunnery and Girls College), plant one million trees in Lumbini and the Bodhi Institute and Peace Education Center. We will be going to see these projects first hand while in Lumbini! The group has two teachers, Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta and Guruma Bodhi Sakyadhita thus forward reffered to as Mettayya and Bodhi.
On the trip we are also accompanied by Cornelia who is the founder of Anatta World Health and Education Outreach, a non-profit organisation whose goal is to ‘provide medical and educational equipment and resource support to deserving and under-supported organisations worldwide, operating in impoverished circumstances’. Cornelia has set up two health clinics during our trip, each 2 days long one in Lumbini and the second in Dadagaun. I will be helping out with the Lumbini clinic.
So those are our guides for the trip, now onto the participants. In the pictures below I have provided the names of everyone who came on the trip (including Mettayya, Bodhi and Cornelia). Just starting to get to know everyone… I have a feeling it’s going to be a good group, everyone bringing forth something unique and special.
Today is our last day in Kathmandu, going to miss the hustle and bustle of this city. Spent the morning visiting Swayambhu temple also known as the monkey temple! To get to the temple you have to walk up 380 plus stairs. Heading up to the top we saw loads of baby monkeys and mommy monkeys and colourful status of Buddha. Cornelia noted that the monkeys may want to steal things out of your hands and bags.
At the top of the hill there is a stupa, multiple shrines (mini stupas), temples, some residence and shops. It was such an experience looking at all the mini stupas and watching people light butter lamps and gathering with loved ones. The site also provides a 180 degree view of the city of Kathmandu. I was surprised at how much smog covered the city. Smog is particularly bad in Kathmandu because the city is in a valley so air flow is limited.
On the back side of the site was where the monkey pool is located and where hundreds of holy monkeys go to play. We saw so many monkeys jumping in the pool and chasing each other.
The afternoon was spent at Patan Durban Square in Lalitpur (another district in Kathmandu) which is home to the ancient royal palace of Malla Kings of Nepal. The palace grounds were home to unique architecture. I enjoyed watching local kids flying kits in the center square. We sat in a courtyard of the palace at one point in the afternoon and listened to Metteyya talk about the history of the Malla Kings and the site itself.
Still in Lalitpur we proceeded to the Golden rat temple. In Buddhism, the rat is a sacred creature (I can’t remember right now why). The Golden Rat Temple in Lalitpur is known to still have rats living in it. We went into the temple and Gina my roomie for the trip is terrified of rats. She faced her fear and went into the temple and ironically was the only person in the group who actually saw rats! She handed the situation like a pro!
Our evening was spent out at dinner at the Roadhouse Cafe in Thamal, Kathmandu. The power went out at one point at the restaurant but that’s very common in Nepal. I ordered a traditional Nepali dish called Momo’s! A veg momo is a Nepali dumpling that is filled with vegetables. They can be steamed or fried and are always served with a different dipping sauce. In Nepal because power availability is quite unpredictable everything is made fresh. With that said expect food to take at least 1 hour to prepare.
On the way back to the hotel, the group got lost. Cornellia was following Aki and they were both talking; when Cornellia asked Aki where we were going, he assumed Cornelia knew, they both asked Rockey and he though the route was odd but assumed the two of them knew where they were going. No one knows where we were going so we ended up back tracking and taking a half hour detour. To make the night more eventful, Cornelia stepped into a 2 foot deep hole that was filled with water and god knows what else. Yet another memory to add to the books!