Day 16 October 18th 2014
Lumbini, Nepal to Kushinagar, India
Last night was infectious with laughter and joy, no other words could describe the evening. Halloween is not at all apart of Nepali traditions but for the Peace Grove Nunnery it has become an annual tradition. The concept of Halloween was introduced three years ago to the nuns when some Canadian volunteers at the nunnery were asked by the nuns what festivals we have in Canada; they wanted to celebrate one of our traditional holidays with the volunteers. This sounds simpler then it appeared… Christmas was ruled out as the holiday is traditionally catholic, not Buddhist and thanksgiving, although meant be quite thoughtful mainly consisted of a turkey being sacrificed which is also not very Buddhist. Eating more candy then one body could possibly endure seemed like the perfect celebration.
Yesterday evening the girls all dressed up as tigers, vampires, bubble bees and butterflies. Two of the neighbouring houses were instructed to give candy when the trick or treaters came to the door. Everyone was laughing the whole evening as jack-o-lanterns were carved. Following the trick-or-treating there was a Bon fire 5 feet high set up in the courtyard! The girls sang a few Nepali songs and the evening concluded with us celebrating the 5 birthdays of our group members that fell in October. It was a beautiful evening meant to be remembered.
Dress up time!
This morning our group split into two with Cornelia, Susan, Sam, Joyce and Anne all going to another part of Nepal while the rest of the group made way for India!
It was a terribly long drive from Lumbini to Kushinagar. The actual distance is only like 100km but in India nothing moves fast. It took 2 hours to clear immigration leaving Nepal and another half hour to clear immigration to enter India.
Driving we saw cranes, storks, monkeys, oxen and cows along the road with a few cows and dogs in the middle of the street. It’s crazing how animals are so integrated into the cities in Asia. This doesn’t help traffic at all. Mix animals with tuck-tucks, trucks, cars, motorcycles, street vendors, fruit stands and people and you set yourself up for chaos. Can you believe I have yet to see a single traffic light! Or stop signs or any signs on the roads at all in both Nepal and India. There aren’t even lines on the pavement to indicate the divide between oncoming traffic. Cars literally go in between lanes all the time. I’m amazed I have yet to see an accident. Interesting fact, motorcycle drivers in Nepal must by law wear a helmet, but passengers of motor cycles (sometimes up to 3 people) require no such protection!! Figure that one out!
We stopped at a mall for lunch. There were guards outside some of the stores with riffles :S
Oh another funny fact, there is a 15 minute time change between Nepal and India. Yes so when we crossed the border to enter India we instantly lost 15 minutes of time.