I didn’t get a great amount of sleep last night because it’s really noisy here, lots of activity on the road. I dread to think what it’s like sleeping in Sunauli! Also, it’s a lot hotter than in Kathmandu or Pokhara and I’m not used to it anymore.
This morning I got a bus to Lumbini. It only took an hour whereas the guide book said 1½ hours; I think it’s the only time the guidebook has been wrong by giving a time that was too long. I started off riding on the roof which was something I wanted to do to escape the cramped insides. The terai is nice and flat so there wasn’t much danger. However, after half an hour we got pulled over by the police and I was told to get down. The next 15 minutes I spent hanging out the door as it was so full inside. I enjoyed it for the same reason. However, as soon as a seat was free I was forced to occupy it, even though there were plenty of other people standing up. I’ve come across this a times times now, people treat you differently because you’re a foreigner and you end up worse for it.
I don’t know what I was expecting of Lumbini but it was different. It was very hot so I was slowly walking around, trying to stick in the shade. I bumped into the American guy from the bus here too.
There were some ruins from the 2nd century BC all around the place. The main set are housed in a brick building which had lots of pilgrims heading towards the main section. I only stayed on the perimeter as I felt a bit like an imposter. Outside was a pool which apparently is the pool the Buddha’s mother bathed in before she gave birth. There were people splashing the water over themselves. Nearby was a large tree which was covered in prayer flags and which always had a throng of people performing prostrations infront of. It seemed really important and I can only assume it was the tree under which the Buddha was born, however, I found no information about this. Certainly the tree was close (~2m) to where the actually tree would’ve been if it’s not there anymore. It was a very peaceful place with pilgrims and monks everywhere. It wasn’t busy though so it was pleasant. I did sit down in the shade under a tree for a while but I wouldn’t say I was contemplating the nature of the universe or anything.
Afterwards I walked up to the World Peace Pagoda through the rest of the park, which seems like it was abandonned in the middle of construction. The Pagoda was nice and I sat on one of the levels for a while. I didn’t visit any of the other temples, I’ll leave that for tomorrow I think if I decide to come back.
For now I’ve just had a shower back in my room and I’m just passing the time until dinner. I really cannot imagine being back in my room in Sheffield in a few days time, it seems like a different world.