Nepal!!! First Day

Nepal is a long way from home!!!  I left my house at 6:30 AM to get to the bus station.  The bus for Logan Airport left at 7:30 AM.  I arrived in Boston at 9:30, checked-in, went through security and barely had time to grab a cup of coffee before they started boarding my flight.

I flew Emirates – great airline by the way – to Dubai…the flight left at 11:40 and it took 11 hours to fly to Dubai.  I watched 5 movies….3 of them were ones that were up for Academy Awards in March!  I was surprised to have such recent movies offered.  What did people do on such long flights before movies were offered?  It would be wonderful to sleep but unfortunately, I cannot sleep on a plane…or I have to be extremely tired in order to sleep.  Plus, it seemed like we ate and ate and ate….they would just serve one meal and a couple hours later, they were offering a snack or breakfast.

I landed in Dubai at 8:20 AM (Dubai time) and I have to say that the landing was the best  landing I have ever experienced…..and I have flown quite a bit.  I didn’t even realize that we had landed…people around me agreed.  That was certainly a wow factor!  Unfortunately, we had to be bused to the terminal and that seemed as long as the flight! I had a four hour layover, which I was grateful for….because there was yet another bus ride to get to Terminal 2, where I caught my flight on Air Dubai for Nepal.IMG_0064

We left Dubai at noontime and arrived after a 4 hour flight…this was my first view of the foothills of Himalayas!!  When I landed in Kathmandu, I had been traveling exactly 24 hours, counting the time I got on the bus for Boston!!!

IMG_0065

Foothills of the Himalaya Mountains.  I saw the snow capped Himalayas flying in but I was on the wrong side of the plane to get a photo!

David, who had arrived that morning, was there; along with our guide, to meet me.  Of course, it was wonderful to see him but like he always comments, it is like we had just seen each other yesterday!

The ride from airport to our hotel reminded us of Morocco, there seems to be no rhymes or reason with the cars and motorcycles as they do this intricate dance of weaving in and out amongst each other.  All I can say, is I am so very, very glad that I am not driving here. It was later that someone pointed out to me that they drive on the left….I didn’t even realize that as I was so intrigued with the driving!

Our first full day in the city, we had a day of rest before starting our 9 day tour.  After sleeping in late and breakfast, we ventured out.  It was kind of scary because it is a confusing maze of narrow streets that are lined with travel agencies, restaurants and tons of souvenir shops, that all look the same!  We had a map but, of course, none of the streets have street signs.  Our destination was the Garden of Dreams that was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel.

Fortunately, the Nepalese are very friendly people and pointed us in the right direction a couple of times.  This was from our walk over to the garden….

IMG_4783

This is a little scary to me…I am grateful I don’t know the first thing about electricity but this certainly doesn’t look up to code, does it???

IMG_4820

Stringing the wires along so electricity can get to the shops.

IMG_4822

One of the streets….but this is what all of the streets look like!  I love how they decorate with the colored tinsel!  The roads are dug up because they are laying pipe for cleaner water that will be available next year.

Clean water will be a true blessing as travelers have to be extremely diligent about anything to do with water….I won’t eat a salad or any kind of raw veggies this trip because if they have been washed in the water, the veggies won’t be clean or safe to eat.  Likewise with brushing our teeth, drinking anything with ice and especially not drinking a glass of water.  The lack of clean water has created a problem with the overabundance of plastic bottles.  With the event of clean water next year, hopefully, there will be less demand for bottled water….and hopefully, tourist won’t have to be so diligent to avoid getting sick on their visits to Nepal!

IMG_4818

Various mask that decorated a store front.  They are used during Hindu ceremonies and represent the various gods of the religion.

IMG_4784

Ways to get around Kathmandu is by car, motorcycles, bicycles or these cycle rickshaws…We haven’t ridden in one yet but might take a spin at the end of our trip when we are back in Kathmandu…..I don’t know, though, it makes me a little nervous riding along a street in one of these with cars, trucks and motorcycles weaving in and out!

IMG_4816

This game is called “lu-lu” and the cycle rickshaw drivers were playing it on the side of the street while waiting for customers!

IMG_4827

It is common seeing these small temples tucked between stores on the streets.

IMG_4825

This is a stupa which is a symbol of Buddhism.

The first stupas were built to house the ashes and relics of the first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama because there were no popular images of Buddha at that time.  Stupa’s (chorten in Tibet) became symbols for the new faith at that time.

Each stupa has symbolic elements to the construction of it.  The square base represents earth, the dome is water and the tapering spire symbolizes fire.  The larger ones have 13 steps that stand for the steps leading to Buddhahood.

The Garden of Dreams

IMG_4788

This garden was established in 1920 after field marshall Kaiser Sumsher Rana (1892-1964) visited some estates in England.  He won close to $10,000 from his father, who was then the Prime Minister, in an epic game of cowrie shells….had to look this one up…it is a game of 4 shells that are shaken by hand and tossed.  Not certain about the rest of the rules but that is the general idea.

With the money won, he created this beautiful garden.  In its heyday, the garden was on approximately 4 acres of land.  It was decorated with fountains, a pond, flowers and 6 pavilions which represented the six seasons of Nepal – spring, summer, rainy, autumn, pre-winter.

For quite a few years, the garden was in disrepair but fortunately, it was saved. The restoration took six years.  Today, three of the original six pavilions remain on a little over an acre of the original garden.  It is a popular spot for the Nepalese to hang out, picnic and just relax….especially the amorous youngsters!  I enjoyed the time that we spent there and when I am feeling overwhelmed with the noise, traffic and life vibes of Kathmandu, I will run to the Garden of Dreams…which, fortunately, is only a 10 minute walk from where we are staying.

IMG_4789

The mats that the people are laying on are available for anyone to use.

IMG_4803

Lovely flowers decorated the gardens

IMG_4796

Part of the Kaiser Cafe with a very scenic setting.

IMG_4806

IMG_4786

Must be a member of the chipmunk family!  Too cute…there were several running around.

IMG_4812

This stained glass window was on the second floor of a building.  There wasn’t access for the public, so I had to zoom with my camera.  I just thought it was beautiful and must tell some kind of a story.

IMG_4809

Pansies remind me of my grandmother….I feel that she is always with me and seeing pansies remind me that she is!

IMG_4813

I am sharing the photo of these two, cute girls because David and I were sitting on the grass and I was reading the history of the garden from our guide book to him.  The girl in the red jacket sat next to me…kind of close and then she was leaning towards me.  I tried to keep reading but when I looked up, her friend was taking our photo!  I was surprised and asked why?  I didn’t really get an answer but I thought, “Oh heck” and threw my arm around her and smiled for another photo….then, her friend wanted her photo taken with David and me!  I thought it was really odd….can’t quite figure out why?

IMG_4793

And….it happened again with these two nice ladies.  I offered to take their photo together and then they wanted a photo with me….so, David took it….again, why????  I love this photo though, so it was worth posing with them!!!

Walking back to the hotel, we saw this young man delivering coffee and tea to the local shops.  I thought his glass carrier was great and asked to take his photo.  IMG_4823

My first feather gift from my guardian angels….their gentle reminder that they are always with me and I am grateful. IMG_4829

The day ended with a dinner and visit with Becca!  Oh, the power of the internet.  In 2015, I met Becca when I was flying from Portland, ME to Florida to visit my mom and help her celebrate her birthday, which is March 10.  So, it was close to exactly two years ago.

IMG_0067

After two years, we are finally seeing each other again!

We were walking on the jetway boarding the plane.  She had a small backpack and I had her pegged as a college student heading to FL for spring break.  How wrong I was!!!  I asked her where she was headed.  We had a layover in Atlanta and she said that from Atlanta, she was going to Chicago for overnight and then leaving the next day for her two year stint in the Peace Corp in Nepal!!!  Wow!!!  A girl after my own heart!  As luck would have it, we sat next to each other on the flight to Atlanta and of course, I asked her a ton of questions.  She is so interesting….she grew up in Whitefield, Maine – which is a very small town (population 2,300) outside of Augusta, ME and not far from where I grew up in Hallowell.  Thanks to the power of the internet and facebook I have been able to follow her Peace Corp adventure.  When David and I decided to visit Nepal, I contacted her and asked if she needed me to bring anything over to her.  Becca’s Peace Corp obligation is just about finished and she is planning on trekking through Mongolia and Nepal before returning home.  She asked if I could bring some dehydrated food for her trekking trips.

I was more than happy to and went to her home in Whitefield where I met her wonderful parents, Chris and Patti.  I will be writing a post about Chris and Patti at some point.  I can understand why Becca is the amazing lady that she is with parents like hers.  They have a small farm.  Patti had just made some peppermint soap and offered me some goat cheese that she had made.  I invited myself to their house once back from my trip!!!  I want to spend a “day in their life” doing all the interesting things that they must do to keep their farm running.  I told them that I would be their “assistant” and do whatever they wanted me to do.  Plus, they are so friendly….I just want to get to know them better.

I guess at some point, I had told Becca about my feathers from my guardian angels because when she arrived at our hotel, she had beautiful wrapping paper decorated with gold leaves as a gift for me.  I was amazed that she remembered such a small detail and so very grateful for the beautiful paper.

IMG_0074

Thank you, Becca!!!!

Becca met David and I had to laugh….many people I know have never met David and I think they believe that David is a “figment of my imagination” and that I bought my wedding band in a pawn shop!  At least, Becca can vouch for me now that I really do have a husband!  The dinner and visit ended all too soon….but we might be able to connect one more time on our trip as Becca is in Kathmandu for meetings and will be returning to her village which takes her through Pokhara.  She might be in Pokhara the same time we are and we are hoping to have another dinner together.  If not, I will see her when she returns to Maine in the fall.

This is only the beginning of two weeks in Nepal….I doubt if I will be posting anymore during our trip as I won’t have time and the internet can be rather sporadic.  I guess you can say that this is just a little tease and hopefully, you will return to hear about the rest of our Nepal adventure!

In closing, I wish you blessings….

 

2 thoughts on “Nepal!!! First Day

  1. You are quite the photographer. The pictures are absolutely great, and professional looking I might add! You always take so many photos on your trips but maybe if David was in one people wouldn’t think he was just a figment of your imagination! LOL. Have a great trip.

    • Lots of laughs, Ron…you are so right about posting a picture of David…honestly, he really dislikes having his photo taken and if I do get a photo, I usually have to promise him that I won’t post it!!! I will keep trying though. Thank you for your kind words about my photography but it is mostly luck and nothing to do with any talent. I am glad that you liked the post! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s