Travel Blog-Day 16
This is a blog about my 36-day trip through Nepal, India, and a little bit of China. I’ll make one post roughly every week until it’s all finished.
Day 16: Kushinigar-Gorakhpur, Sonauli, and Lumbini
Woke up at 4:15, showered, meditated, packed my stuff and left the monastery. The guard at the gate asked me for money to open the gate. I said no, he shrugged and opened the gate.
I went to the highway right outside the city gate to wait for the bus to Gorakhpur. Mr. Roy said the first bus was around 6:45. The time was 5:30. I figured, I’d just sit and see what happens. A guy with an auto rickshaw starts talking to me and telling me, there are no busses to Gorakhpur, I have to take his auto rickshaw. He tells me it’s only 600rs. The bus is 37rs. He keeps telling me there is no bus. At 5:45 a bus stops, I ask if it’s the bus to Gorakhpur, the driver says yes. As I’m getting in the bus, the auto rickshaw wallah is saying no, this isn’t the bus to Gorakhpur. I love India, it makes me smile.
There is practically no traffic and the driver is speeding like mad. We get to Gorakhpur at 7:00. I walk about 300 meters, find the bus to Sonauli (the Nepalese border), get in the bus and wait. It finally leaves at 8:00 after they driver packs the bus like a sardine can. It turns out to be a local bus, making stops everywhere. It also starts to rain; pour is actually more like it.
A Swedish guy named Zacharias is on the bus. He says he’s been living in Mumbai for 12 months and trying to break into fashion design. He’s going to Kathmandu. His sister lives there.
We get to the Indian/Nepalese border. At this point its not just pouring out, it’s a deluge. Zacharias and I find a cycle rickshaw. The guy is great; he takes us through Indian customs and waits for us, then through Nepalese customs and waits for us. He waits for us to change money. He had asked for 20rs Indian. We gave him 100rs. He was with us at least an hour and really helped us out in the pouring rain.
Zacharias and I have lunch and wait for the rain to stop. I get a cycle rickshaw to the bus station for Lumbini. I get there and jump on a bus. The driver is packing it to the stuffing point. An old lady who is so old or in such pain or both actually crawls onto the bus. There are no seats left. She’s standing there stooped over. Meanwhile the driver is still packing people onto the bus. I get up to give my seat to the old lady. She looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. Someone says something to her in Nepali, pointing to the seat. She points at me, shakes her head no and tries to make me sit. I get her to take the seat. The driver is still putting people on the bus. I can’t breath it’s so packed. I finally get off. There’s another bus right behind with no one on it. The driver from the first bus says I’ll have to wait an hour for it to leave. The driver from bus B says no, just 10 minutes. Bus A leaves. Bus B leaves 10 minutes later and is practically empty.
I get to Lumbini and find a room. The proprietor of the lodge says they are having a celebration because his 6-month old son is having his first solid food today. He invites me to the celebration. The food is excellent. Home cooked Indian/Nepali food. It’s just great! I walk around Lumbini. Its one street, literally. At one end is the entrance to the Lumbini Pilgrimage Park at the other the Lumbini Bazaar stops and there is a traditional Nepali village of thatched huts. It’s very peaceful and quiet. Everyone is deeply kind. Lots of water buffalo. It is a beautiful, quiet, peaceful place.
Ceremonial Bell at the Gateway into the Hinayana Monastery Portion of the Lumbini Pilgrimage Park
Sakyapa Monastery in Lumbini
Thai Monastery at Lumbini Pilgrimage Park