Date: 11 May, Mothers' Day.
Location: on the road again, between Lumbini and Chitwan, Nepal.
Notable sightings: the most chilled immigration imaginable; peace in the birthplace of Buddha, Lumbini, Nepal.
We strolled over the Indian border, through no-man's land and into Nepal. Am unsure if we simply crossed land border or into parallel universe: the stillness of Nepal is striking. There's no longer incessant beeping. People smile at you. It's cleaner.
We then drove 2 hours to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. Ravi had to drag us out of our beautiful, air conditioned Buddha Maya Hotel rooms half an hour after arrival for the Maya Devi Temple, situated at the birthplace Siddhārtha Gautama, the man who would become Buddha. It was funny: after he gave us the history spiel and told us we had an hour before the temple closed at sundown, we each wandered off alone to find a private spot to sit, quietly. It seemed to be the much needed panacea for the tired, sweaty, cranky, twisted-in-the-shape-of-carseats group. It may a Buddha-placebo effect but who cares?
You know, with one big Texan exception, each member of our group is so calm and cool in their own skin. There's a wonderful independence to each of these girls. It's like, none of them need travel companions/an audience/external validation, but they're pleased to have some for awhile. It makes for a lovely sense of transient teamwork. We all agree that this is a tough trip and that you just gotta laugh when the hot water doesn't work, a water buffalo nudges you off the road or you're stuck next to Terrific Texan at dinner.
Quote of the day goes to Miss California. While inspecting a statue of a slight Buddha, she pondered whether he was actually thin or fat. Response was that he was thin, but got fat after achieving enlightenment. “Oh, cool. Like Elvis.”
Little else to note today save that the country is becoming more and more 'Asian' the further north we go. Buddhist temples dot the horizons, faces are rounder, there was congee instead of porridge at breakfast.
Also, the ATM I just used belonged to Yeti Development Bank. Doesn't that just make you think of a school for little yetis, developing their hiding and scaring skills? “Come on Gurhka, it's time for Camouflage Class!”