Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 2? Not sure.. Kathmandu!

03/13/2011  --- 11:50am

We had a 3:45 am wake up call, which wasn't too bad until we got to the airport. I was exhausted but I did my best to stay up and going. We had a 4:00am "breakfast in a box" which consisted of an apple, croissant, muffin, and tomato/cucumber sandwich. At the time all I had was a croissant. The airport was good, although I got stopped in customs and was pulled into a room by myself and patted down. I was very scared but it turned out to be quick and painless.
The flight was amazing, the Himalayas were breathtaking and so clear in the horizon. When we got closer to Nepal it looked like we were crashing into them several times. I couldn't enjoy their beauty cause I was peeing down my leg...
The Nepal airport looked like a prison crossed with a temple, it was so weird! They told us absolutely no pictures, which I thought was really odd. We got our visas and exchanged our money and it turned out one girl got scammed out of 100 dollars... she didn't even think to count it and didn't notice until we got in the city. I felt so bad. The exchange rate is 72 rupees to 1.00$. I am not comfortable with doing that exchange in my head yet so I didn't do any shopping, unlike the other girls.
Outside the airport we had people take our bags from us and demand a tip for taking them 10 feet. I thought Dr. Tonkyn was going to get into a fist fight with them. Luckily, I got out of it without giving them money, two girls lost 1,000 rupees.
The drive through Kathmandu was very interesting and shocking. There would be beautiful houses like Italy and then complete dumps. So many poor people and beggers. At one point, there was literally a baby in the street, by itself. A BABY. It couldn't even sit up on its own. Why do people think that is okay!? There are also so many American stores... KFC, Victorias Secret, CONVERSE (woooo!) We were greeted again by our tour group and they had purple and orange flower necklaces again, so much prettier then the ones in India.
We went sight seeing in the city after getting settled in the hotel. We went to Durbar Square where there were lots of temples and vendors.. and smells. So smelly. Not all bad though, but definitely strong. The temples with red trim are the Karma Sutras. This is where the first "books" were painted on the walls. Then we went to see the Kumari-ghar. This is a temple where the child goddess resides. The lamai handpicks children that the Nepal population must find when necessary. This chosen girl is the one who all the people pray to and visit. She represents the goddess Taleju. She lives alone in the middle of the city in a "temple", which looks like a prison, and must stay there until her first menstruation. At this time, her term is cancelled and she is thrown into the real world. Here, she cannot marry or really do much of anything. It doesn't sound like a very fun life.. and she is only 10 years old.
Next, we rode to the highest stupa in the country (maybe the world). The drive up the mountain was similar to Italy too, made me nauseous. It was so pretty and the view was absolutely nuts. Kathmandu is so freaking big. I listened to some monks sing and then ran my hands through the sacred bells. These bells mean a lot to Buddhist culture and the prayers are very special. I prayed for all my friends and family, so hopefully those Buddha gods are helping you out!
Finally, at 4:00pm we went to get lunch. We stopped at Pleasure Gardens, a local favorite. I ordered veggie chowmein and veggie pakodas. Which is two meals that I got for 140rupees.. less than two dollars! We all got two meals and shared everything. It was all SO delicious. The pakodas looked a lot like crab cakes.. yummy lindz!
Now I am back at the hotel (6:00pm) and ready for bed! Here a FEW of the 300 pictures I took today. Tomorrow We leave at 7:00am for a drive to Chitwan! It should take around 7 hours but I am so excited to go white water rafting and on my rhino quest!
LOVE YOU,
Maria

nepal
the view from the plane
just some street cattle and pigeons..
pakodas!
chow mein
betty and i at the kamuri entrance
the view from the stupa
praying and ringing the chimes
buddhist chimes
temples
the front of our hotel
streets of nepal

3 comments:

  1. Mia - I am loving the blog! My book currently stinks - this is so much better! Sucks for the chosen girl of Kathmandu! Getting fired from your job and starting your period on the SAME DAY! And I am not sure how lucky Buddha is .....I checked my lottery numbers last night and won NOTHING! Maybe the buddha karma is slow to get to the USA....I'll play again today and let you know. In the meantime....hang on to your rupees and have a good day!

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  2. Great pics. Looks like a lot of pigeons around there. Yuck.

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  3. my rupees took a big hit tonight... and i prayed to the hindi gods tonight, maybe they will help?

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