Part 1 – Journey, Khumbu, and Kathmandu
(Not to Sound Cliche but: At the Top of the World…Literally!)
Once again I will transport you back in time to 2012 to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu! Some adventures await us!
I would like to make a note that I lost my pictures from this stage of my trip and so the photos in this post are thanks to Axel and Romain.
If you are new to this journey you can find the beginning HERE.
Chapter 2: Of Cultures and Kathmandu
(Monkey Temples and Uniform Chaos)
This exciting cab ride would mark my second venture forth on the streets of Kathmandu. This time, however, I was with a new friend and instead of being terrified by the experience, I was overjoyed.
Axel and I were in the backseat as our driver wound his way through the streets, swerving past pedestrians, motorcycles, rickshaws, dogs and cows.
Yes, I said cows!
They are everywhere, all over the middle of the streets.
Anyway, this ride was much more fun than my first. We arrived at Boudhanath at around 2 O’clock and where greeted by the phenomenal sight of the Boundha Stupa.
This is a towering monument to the wisdom of Siddhartha. The brilliant white surface was surrounded by tens (if not hundreds) of Mani wheels, all climbing to the Buddha eyes and topped by a brilliant gold structure which sparkled in the sunlight (I apologize for run-on sentences, but this sight was too amazing to pause for anything as elementary as a period).
When going around a Stupa, one must always keep it to the right hand side, so we proceeded in a clockwise direction, constantly being distracted by the beautiful statues and the wonderful monasteries.
I remember that the tourist shops and swarms of westerners kind of upset me. I am fully aware that I was certainly part of this gawking mass of tourists. I read about how holy this particular Stupa is to the Buddhist community and was saddened by how full of ignorant tourists (myself definitely included) it was. I understand that if I went to a place like the Vatican, the situation would be very similar but at the time I wasn’t thinking about that. I was still being wowed by my first glimpse into this foreign world.
Axel and I continued our way around the Stupa, making towards one of the decorated, and vibrant monasteries that seem to sprout up around these important sites.
The first monastery that we walked into was like many others in the fact that the windows were set inside painted sills and we removed our shoes to step inside. This was my first time ever inside of a Buddhist Monastery and it was one of the most imspiring sights I have ever seen.
The floor was a sparkling mosaic of colored tiles and the walls were covered in the most beautifully woven tapestries. The vibrant colors were staring down at me from all directions and the quiet monks carried on their holy business around us.
At the back stood (Or I should say: sat) a giant golden statue of the Buddha. I must again admit that the sight was impressive, more so than even most of the Christian statues I have seen in many a church.
The whole scene was beautiful and the whole experience of standing in a Buddhist monastery with a Swede I had met the day before, in a foreign city, halfway around the world; was almost too good to be true.