After a 3 hour flight from Bali to Malaysia, a 4 hour layover in Malaysia, and another 5 hour flight from Malaysia to Nepal, I finally arrived at 7:35pm, safe and sound, in Kathmandu. And I was already making Nepali friends before I even landed!
These 2 young men were sitting to my right during the flight and I ended up talking to the one next to me through most of the journey. They were both extremely kind, and before we even started talking, I felt a strong energetic pull towards the young man directly next to me. I felt as though we were supposed to meet, and then about an hour into the flight, he struck up a conversation with me.
He was 20 years old, and his friend was 26. They had been recruited by the British army, which is apparently something that happens quite often in Nepal, and were being flown back home to work for about 10 days, and then would get some free time to see their families.
The young man next to me had not told his mother that he was coming to Nepal so it would be a surprise for her, which I thought was super sweet. He asked me if I had a boyfriend and I told him all about my journey and how I believe that Love is abundant and need not be limited to just one person. He found my lifestyle very interesting and after asking him the same question, I discovered that at the age of 27 he planned to have an arranged marriage!
Hearing that was a little bit shocking to me as he seemed quite open minded, judging by his lack of criticism on how I live my life. However, he sounded like he was somewhat excited about it so whatever makes you happy!
I was curious though, so I asked, “What if you meet a girl before you turn 27 and you fall in Love and then you have to marry another girl?”
He laughed and said he doesn’t know, and that he’s only 20 so he doesn’t worry about it. I liked that response. Just going with the flow.
Turns out he is also an Aquarius! I’ve established a strong set of Aquarius connections on this journey. I enjoy getting to know them because we are generally able to connect on a deep level and find a desire for Love without attachment a commonality. This is the Age of Aquarius after all! Haha
Anyways, we connected on Facebook and if he gets a leave in Pokhara then I will meet up with him there. If not, that is all that was meant to be for now, though I’m sure we will meet again sometime in the future.
The airport in Kathmandu was a much less daunting experience than the airport in Bali. I applied, got approved, and paid for my Visa all right there, which was a very easy process, and the cost for a 15 day Tourist Visa was $25 USD.
Upon exiting the terminal I was met by a few Nepali men asking if I needed a taxi, however I wasn’t bombarded like I was in Bali, and upon declining, they were happy to help me find the driver I had arranged with the hostel I had booked to pick me up. I found my name very easily and the hostel employee was extremely kind and welcoming.
He explained to me that the place I had booked was full so, myself and 2 men from Chile, Fernando and Frank, who were on the same flight and had booked the same place, would be staying in a different hostel for one night.
The place we were brought to was less than appealing. However the staff were extremely friendly, there was hot water, and after checking for bed bugs and coming up clean, I felt comfortable. Though there was nowhere to lock up my bags, I was given a room with 2 beds to myself so I felt safe enough to just lock them in the room.
After our flight, Fernando, Frank, and I were quite hungry and though we noticed on the ride over that everything seemed to be closed, we were able to order some traditional Nepali food through the hostel. It was similar to Indonesian food in that it consisted of rice and a few sides.
We sat and talked to the staff for a bit, learning that their weekly salary was equal to $50 USD, which isn’t much, though they were happy to be able to practice their English.
I have noticed that most Nepali people seem to speak English quite well as opposed to Indonesians, whom it seems to be more challenging for. My theory for that is because the Indonesian language is actually quite simple in that there is no he/she, a, or the, and grammar is almost non-existent so they tend to skip those words when they are speaking in English.
For example, ‘I want to eat’ in English could be said like ‘Eat I want’ in Indonesian. Which makes learning Indonesian fairly easy, though I guess more difficult for them to learn other, more complex languages that are more particular about grammer and pronouns.
An interesting fact I learned is that Indonesia also has about 500 completely different native languages and Bahasa Indonesian, though used for people throughout the country to be able to communicate with each other, isn’t spoken by many as their native language.
For example, thank you in Bahasa Indonesian is terima kasih and in Balinese is suksma, which is not even close to the same! Haha
The Nepali language is much more complex. To say thank you is dhan’yavāda which I have repeated over and over and still kept getting corrected in my pronunciation! Haha
I don’t think I will be learning Nepali anytime soon.
I was told that in Nepal the schools focus heavily on the English language. Even more so than Nepali, because they will learn Nepali at home anyways and to be able to speak English is very valuable these days.
Anyways, after a good night’s sleep, a hot shower, and a decent free breakfast at the hostel, Fernando, Frank, and I were picked up and brought to the hostel we had originally booked, which was definitely nicer.
Since I had only booked for one night in Kathmandu, and decided to stay another night, the only room they had left available was a large, bright room on the top floor with a queen size bed, my own bathroom, and a nice rooftop patio. For double the price (though still only $12 USD), it was a nice upgrade from the previous room.
Our rooms weren’t quite ready when we got there, so we left our bags behind the counter and went for a walk to do some shopping and exploring, though we didn’t really end up buying anything.
We returned back to the hostel just in time for the guys to go pick up their friend from the airport and, after settling into my room and taking a quick nap, I left to meet someone from CouchSurfing. Although I was a bit hesitant because I felt like he was being quite pushy to meet me, my intuition told me that he wasn’t a threat so I gave him the benefit of the doubt, in full awareness and confidence in my ability to create safety for myself.
Upon meeting him outside a nearby library, we walked to a local bus stop and got on a bus to Bhaktapur. The traffic was insane and the bus was packed to the brim for most of the hour long ride, though I think it only cost about 80 Nepali Rupees (80 cents USD) for both of us. I’m not entirely sure because he paid for me.
The first place we stopped was at a pond, which was so full of algae we could barely even see the fish!
He was an interesting kid, 20 years old, and very inquisitive. We talked a lot about spirituality and he kept telling me that I am different and special, though I kept reminding him that we are all different and all special. He insisted that I am special in a different kind of way, which I believe was a reference to my level of awareness or consciousness. Or maybe his attraction to me.
Either way, we had a great day! He took me into the small town of Bhaktapur, which cost me $15 USD. I’m not sure it was really worth that much, however I saw the price more as a donation to the restoration of the town since much of it was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake. I also found out later that Bhaktapur means ‘place of devotees’. And apparently, the government will give you an interest free loan if you build a traditional Bhaktapur building because they are afraid of losing the heritage.
We went into an old palace that had been converted into an art museum, and saw the Bhaktapur Temple, which is the tallest temple in Nepal. Then we ate lunch at a small restaurant overlooking the temple before walking around a bit more, witnessing a beautiful sunset, and hopping on the bus back to Thamel (where the hostel was).
The traffic on the way back was much worse than the way there and we were barely moving so it took quite a while to get back. We made plans to meet again the next day once he was finished class to go to the monkey temple, and although he was nice, he had made some advances towards me which made me uncomfortable and I had already decided, in the back of my mind, that I had little to no intention of seeing him again.
When I got back to the hostel that evening, I wasn’t feeling very well so I ate some food and went to bed early. I think the combination of all the pollution in Kathmandu and the extreme weather difference from Bali to Nepal was taking a toll on my body.
The next morning, after another complimentary breakfast, I decided to stay one more night in Kathmandu before catching a bus to Pokhara. The hostel was very helpful and took care of everything from the bus ticket ($13 USD including lunch) to booking a hotel ($15 USD/night) and the transportation from the bus stop to the hotel.
Over the past few days I had been in contact with another CouchSurfer, Ekant, from Pokhara, where he has a meditation center. Since he was in Kathmandu visiting his family, he met me at the hotel and, after everything was arranged for my journey the next day, we set out for Boudha Stupa, a beautiful temple which was mostly saved from the destruction of the 2015 earthquake.
After a quick bus ride (which was more like a small van), we arrived and I immediately felt a very strong peaceful energy around the temple. Ekant informed me that it is customary to walk clockwise around the Nepali temples so we began walking to the left, taking in the energy and admiring the architectural artwork. When we reached a beautifully decorated building that definitely stood out from the rest, we entered. To the left there was a large cylindrical spinning object. We walked around it clockwise 3 times, then continued upstairs, where we removed our shoes and entered the temple to pray.
The entire place was extravagantly decorated with colourful murals covering every millimeter of the walls, and inside the temple were huge golden statues of what I assume to be Hindu Gods, all of them dawning buddha’s eyes.
We walked up the middle of the room an knelt infront of one of the smaller statues. I closed my eyes and embraced the moment, offering thanks for an awesome life and feeling the utmost appreciation as tears came to my eyes. I took a deep breath, sat with the intense embodiment of Love for a moment longer, dried the tears from my eyes and opened them to find Ekant standing next to me, smiling. I smiled back, and after admiring the rest of the room, left the temple.
After making our way around the Boudha Stupa we decided to find a place to eat lunch. We stopped at a little cafe and ate some noodle soup as I showed Ekant some of the photos I took in Bali and he played me some recordings of his music (he plays a wooden flute).
Once we were ready to leave, we got back on the bus and headed towards Osho’s Ashram, which was situated in the hills, amongst nature and away from the pollution of the city. Talk about a breath of fresh air!
The location was beautiful, there were Osho quotes posted everywhere, and there was even a small waterfall to enjoy. It cost me 200 Rupees to enter (about $2 USD) and although we weren’t able to join the meditation because we didn’t have the proper attire, I still enjoyed sitting in the peaceful environment with a beautiful soul.
I really love spending time with people who I can just sit and do nothing with. Most people feel this need to fill silence and stillness with noise and activity. It’s very refreshing to be with someone who can just enjoy the moment, without any expectations or preconceived notions of what it should look like. As Ekant put it, when you become aware of everything that is already happening, you no longer feel the need to do anything.
Next, we decided to go to Swayambhu Stupa (the monkey temple). At this point, I was already late for when I had planned to meet with the CouchSurfer from the day before. I did tell him that I would try to make it back in time, and though I know I should have just listened to my intuition and told him right away that I didn’t want to see him again, I didn’t, which was a bit of an unconscious behaviour. I know I will keep reliving experiences like that until I let go of the fear of hurting someone’s feelings and just speak my truth. Maybe it was meant to happen that way for karma’s sake, or maybe I have some karma coming my way. Either way, in that moment, my desire was to go to the monkey temple with Ekant and my phone doesn’t work without Wi-Fi, so I did what I wanted to do and would deal with the consequences later.
When we arrived at the Swayambhu Stupa, we ended up walking up the wrong road and had to turn back, at which point Ekant said something to the effect of “sometimes you have to go the wrong way in order to figure out the right way” and, oh boy, don’t I know that all too well! Haha! In my experience, it’s good because it gives you different perspectives and makes you a more well-rounded person because you’re not left wondering what if?
Although some the monkey temple was ruined by the earthquake it was pretty cool. It was situated on top of a hill so there was an amazing view of the city. There were also a lot of monkeys and they were a little different than the ones in Bali. They had some red in their colouring and they didn’t seem as playful. There was an entry fee for foreigners, however I covered my hair with the hood of my sweater and we snuck in the side entrance hehehe
On the way back home we decided to stop at one last place, Basantapur, which also would have cost me money, however because it was after dark, the ticket booth was closed so I was able to go in for free.
Ekant told me about a street nearby, named Freak Street, which used to be the hippie area so, after sitting by one if the temples for a while, and being offered tea by a couple different ladies walking around with big thermoses, we went for a walk down the street before he walked me home. He offered to let me stay with him if I am still in Pokhara when he goes back home. I hope to see him again and visit his meditation center.
That evening, I received a message from the CouchSurfer from the day before saying he waited for me at my hotel and I didn’t show up. I felt pretty bad for ditching him like that, so I made sure to explain myself. He understood and apologized so I feel better and I hope he does too.
I also take full responsibility for not expressing my boundaries at the time. I gave up my power and expected him to create safety for me instead of creating it for myself. When I express and own my boundaries, I create safety for myself. Then everyone is aware and at choice. Take away a person’s choice and you take away their power. I guess in that moment we became dependent on each other. He was depending on me to say no if I didn’t want it, and I did eventually, however in the nicest way possible, which doesn’t seem sincere or authentic.
My mind is brought back to SSSEx in California during the exercise of having 2 people playing tug of war, with one asking please? and the other saying no. The facilitators asked, “If a person smiles when they say ‘no’ are you convinced? Or do you think you can sway them to say ‘yes’?” I must stand firmly in my no.
And… I became dependent on him too, expecting him to… Read my mind? My body language? Feel my energy? I don’t know. Either way, it was an unconscious exchange of energy and I think we’ve both learned something from it.
A few minutes later I was invited to Fernando and Frank’s room to meet their friend, eat some noodles, and have a drink before parting ways. However I made sure to get back to my room at a decent time so it wouldn’t be too much of a struggle to get up at 6am to catch the bus.
I am now currently on the 7 hour bus ride to Pokhara, which has shown me some of the natural beauty of Nepal outside of the city. We stop every 1-1.5 hours for a washroom break or to eat.
All in all, though the country is quite poor financially, they are rich in spirit and culture. Which, in my opinion, is much more valuable.
I do have to mention one thing though…
…I fucking hate the washrooms.
“Gratitude arises whenever you start feeling [the divine]’s presence around you; then only gratitude is left. Then your whole energy becomes gratitude, then your whole being becomes a thanksgiving, it becomes a prayer — because nothing is missing, and the world is so perfect, and everything is as it should be. Gratitude is natural. Gratitude is not something that can be practiced. You have been taught to be grateful; you cannot be. Gratefulness is a consequence: when you feel [the divine] close by, gratitude arises. It is a by-product. Respect arises. This respect is not something that you manage, it is something beyond you. You have been taught to be grateful to your parents, taught to be grateful to your teachers, taught to be grateful to your elders, but those are all just conditionings. When real gratitude arises, then you see what a tremendous difference there is. The gratitude that was taught was just a concept, a dead ritual. You were following it like a mechanism. When the real gratitude upsurges in your being, you feel for the first time what prayer is, what love is.” – Osho