Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love

In the Volunteer House we have a small library, made up of books left behind by past volunteers. Monica just finished reading the sequel to Eat, Pray, Love. I saw the movie when it came out last year. But seeing the movie isn't the same as reading the book, and I can't read books out of order. So one day in Thamel I walked into a second hand book store and it was sitting right there waiting for me to buy it. A sign perhaps?

I only just started it, but already knowing the basic storyline, I think i will enjoy it. This women is much more adventurous than I am, but as I follow her on her journey "in search of everything". It reminds me how I am looking for something too.
So I am trying to forget about planning, forget about how many rupees, forget about calories and just enjoy the experiences of life. Yesterday, Megan and I, and our amazing Didi Indu, set off to get out if Khatmandu and see more of Nepal. It was our "holiday" day. It didn't start off too adventurous, we had a destination, we took a taxi and planned to see the sights of Bhaktapur. Although anytime you step foot into a cab in Nepal, it can be the start of an adventure. No shocks, no turn signals, very few traffic laws, and definitely no seat belts. And I've never seen a traffic accident. Ok one time I saw a motorbike run over a dog, but I saw the dog the next day and it was fine.
Ok, back to out adventure.
So we get to Bhaktapur, and it's the annual cow festival where people celebrate the lives of people who have passed on during the previous year. (don't ask me how this relates to cows, I have no idea)
So there was lots to see with children dressed up and dancing and singing. Lots of people where there and it was great to people watch. I also thoroughly enjoyed taking tons of pictures. The rich colors of the costumes and the backdrop of the old buildings and temples were very inspiring. I must say this made me all warm and fuzzy feeling as it's rare that i've been inspired lately.
After a few hours of walking and watching we decided to find somewhere to sit, drink and relax. We found a restaurant with a rooftop terrace, the restaurant was about four or five stories tall, and was all connected with a skinny, dingy dark stairway. If you passed someone they would have to step into the room on a floor to let you get by. When we got to the rooftop there were amazing views so it was all worthwhile. When we went to order they had nothing that we requested. It was quite comical. You would decide on something, request it and be turned down, only to request something else that they didn't have. In the end we settled on sodas and just enjoyed people watching from above.
From our rooftop position we attempted to figure out where we were and set out to see more of the town of Bhaktapur. I'm not sure if we ever found our way, but we did enjoy walking around and seeing a different part of Nepal. We wandered through the roads of a much quieter and cleaner Nepal than that of Khatmandu. We eventually came out on a busier road next to a 'bus stop'. By bus stop I mean there were alot of buses coming and going and some of them slowed down, while others actually stopped and people got off and on, Inside, outside, and sometimes on the rooftop of the buses.
From the distance, Megan and Didi saw something on a hill and began a discussion about it. Before I new it I had agreed to a detour and we were jumping on a bus and heading up the hill. We didn't get a seat, but we did get standing room inside the bus. Feeling like an escaped zoo animal, we stood on the bus, being stared at by the other passengers. Not really in a rude way though. I've gotten used to just smiling at them and offering a hello or a namaste and getting a friendly smile in return. The bus ride was about 15 minutes up a steep and winding hill. The county side was fields of brilliant green. I didn't have the greatest view as I was looking down on the windows through other passengers, bit what I did see was beautiful. At the top we got off the bus and had a steep trail to walk up to get to the tallest Shiva Statue. I think it was about 130 feet tall and was built atop a beautiful staircase and next to a water fountain. We sat there for a while enjoying the clean air and the amazing views of the countryside below.
Back down the hill we walked, enjoying some more displays of the cow fedtival before finding our spot on the road to get back on the bus. While waiting for our bus we watched many other buses pass and on one an older man was looking at us through an open window with the biggest happiest smile on his face. He was waving at us like we were his long lost friends. It was an infectious smile and as the bus drove slowly passed all we could do was return his smile and wAve in return.

This time we took the bus all the way back to Kathmandu and got off close enough to walk to Thamel. Didi was too tired to join us, but Megan and I had big plans. Dinner in Thamel. We weren't going to worry about calories or rupees. We had been dreaming about pizza and heard of this great place. It took us a while to find it, and when we did........CLOSED. Luckily it was next to a bakery that sold incredible pastries covered with chocolate and filled with cream. Then we found another restaurant that had pizza. Inhaled that, and by then it was after 8pm. The bakeries in Thamel have this strange belief to get rid of pastries after 8pm for half price. We stocked up on that. Then found another restaurant to sneak into to order drinks and enjoy our pastries.
So while I am not looking for spiritual enlightenment, I am not looking for love, i am trying to live more in the moment and enjoy the now. And so I will eat, I will enjoy, and pray that I will have the strength and willpower to fulfill all the promises to myself i have made when I return to Canada. No. 1 on the list: start jogging again.

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