Day 11 October 13th 2014
Today was another jam packed day full of historical site seeing. We started our journey at the ancient ruins of the palace Buddha was raised. Here’s a fun fact, there were actually 4 Buddhas throughout history, each came at a time when peace and enlightenment was at its lowest in society. The most recent Buddha of our time is Siddhartha. The second site we visited was the ruins where the most recent Buddha renounced himself. Here Metteyya shared one of his famous dharma talks about the site. Sadly I seem to have the memory of a goldfish these days and cannot come up with a proper summary of the story.
We made our way then to an ancient pillar which signified the birth place of the second Buddha. From there we travelled to see this gorgeous manmade lake in the area used for irrigation purposes. There we saw a few cranes (or they may have been storks), children playing in the river and passed a decorated elephant walking in the side of the road.
Lunch was spent at the “party palace” (just an ordinary hotel but had a sign on the front promoting party palace). After lunch we were given fennel, sugar and this dried herb that looked kinda like nutmeg to help with digestion…. Well the first two were meant to help with digestion the third (nutmeg looking thing) turned out to be used an herbal hallucinogenic…. Sadly I did not hear that so I took one, put it in my mouth and started chewing it for a good twenty minutes before I asked Cornelia why it had no taste. She and Susan’s jaws dropped when I asked that and told me what it was and if I chewed it too long my teeth would turn red! I spit the thing out right then and there, luckily no side effects were felt 🙂
After lunch we went to two more historical sites the second was the place were Buddha announced who the next Buddha would be. At the first site we were followed around by all the children in the village. We were a spectacle to them and we felt like movie stars. The children loved getting their photos taken and seeing the digital images played back to them.
The evening was spent at the peace pagoda built by the Japanese as well as saw the crane sanctuary. To get there we first stopped at the hotel for a quick break, 10 minutes was our time limit and boy that could not have been truer. We were all in the car about 10 minutes from the hotel when Susan noticed someone was missing…. We ended up driving away without Fei! Luckily we noticed in time and the second van was able to go back and get her!
We learned while at the peace pagoda that the cranes in Lumbini are so sensitive to the environment that due to an increase in pesticide use on the lands and therefore increased pesticide concentrations in the water, these birds’ egg shells are getting thinner each year. They are so sensitive that if the shells are touched, they are likely to not hatch. That’s why the sanctuary was built, to hopefully give the cranes the spaced needed to continue their population.
P.S We had to use the toilet at one site and it turned out it cost 3 Nepali rupees for going #1 and 5 Nepali rupees for going #2…. would not be the most pleasant job determining how much customers owed.