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Entries about buddha

NEPALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

sunny 32 °C

So the next morning it was off on our epic 12 hour bus ride to the Nepali border town of Sunauli. The minute we entered Nepal it was a mosquito fest! We couldn't get over it. Within 100 metres of the border, it became Mosquito maniat! They were everywhere. We quickly smothered ourselves in anti mozzie juice whilest getting our Nepali visa.

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There were quite a few differences between India and Nepal almost instantly. The roads were smoother and the countryside was a good bit cleaner. We finally reached our hotel in Lumbini at about 7 or 8pm, just in time for a giant buffet dinner and a humoungous bottle of the Nepali beer - EVEREST!

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Te next day we were off to the birthplace of the Buddha. Here's the blurb - ''Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.''
It was a great big lovely garden full of lush green grass, lovely leafy trees, prayer flags everywhere, lots of Buddhists praying and the air was filled with an all round chilled out holy vibe. Now here's something I can get into I thought - Buddhism!

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There was a big tree in the gardens around which all the monks were praying. We all gathered around, got our beads blessed and made a voluntary donation. (holiness still costs money even in Buddhism! :) ) It was a gorgeous day and lots of people and monks were out behind the temple in the grounds, kneeling, chanting and swaying in the breeze. Buddhism has a good vibe I reckoned. It doesn't call for you to believe in all sorts of mad animal-hybrid gods, just calls on you to modify your behaviour and generally be an all-round-good-guy! :) Or so I thought, until I heard that they believe that Queen Maya Devi gave birth to the Buddha from her armpit!!! LOLOL. Armpit???
Bonkers! It's like those who believe don't want to mention a lady's rude bits or even think about how babies are made. :D ;)

sidenote: The ladies here have a tough time in Nepal. Firstly, no one realllly wants daughters. They all want sons. Girls are regarded as a financial burden whose honour must be protected until they get married. They're pulled out of school first to allow the sons to go to school instead, and in the olden days, during a girls tempestuous time of the month, they were sent outside to the shed for four days!!! Apparently now they just can't cook food for those days. Weird. Harsh Times.
Once again I was reminded of how lucky I am to have been born in a country that's not extremely anti-women and bonkers.

So Buddhism anyways - seems cool. One of the lads on our tour wants to get into Buddhism and was really impressed by today. Another girl on our group was visibly moved and upset when getting her beads blessed. Her father is very sick and I think the spirituality of the place really hit her today.

After we saw the blessed stone that Buddha was born on, we pottered around a bit taking in the atmosphere.

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On the way back to the bus there was a whopper fight over parking happening between some locals. Not very Zen!! Then I chatted to a backpacker who obviously hadn't brushed his teeth in days, and we hopped on the bus to make our way to Chitwan National Park. :D

Posted by squeakylee 20:47 Archived in Nepal Tagged buddha birthplace lumbini spirituality Comments (0)

PANDALAND

aka Chengdu

sunny 34 °C

I was up and atom at 6am so was rustling around again in the dorm probably annoying the ladies. Dunno which dorm room sound is worse - snoring, bags rustling or zips being opened and closed. :D These ladies were Norwegian and had been volunteering at Pandaland for the past week. They were due to do two weeks but they left after a week cos they said it was so boring. Apparently there was nothing to do in the evenings and they weren't even allowed to hug a panda for free!! Yikes.

Anywho myself, Victor and Michel meant to be on the road to Pandaland by 8 but we had a long breakfast, then had to wait an hour for a bus, so we were pretty late getting to the Panda Breeding Research Centre. The bus to the centre was great fun. We were chatting to a young Chinese girl and everything was getting lost or confused in translation between the four of us. We got to the centre about 10 ish and luckily the pandas weren't asleep yet. We skipped all the videos and museums and Swan Lake and all the other krap and just went straight to see the big Pandas. There were loads of them and they were all very lively. (Bar one guy who'd fallen asleep on his swing). The lads were great fun to watch. We didn't get to hug a panda as it cost something like 100 pounds sterling for a quick hug. Who has that kind of dough to blow on hugs??? Drugs - maybe.. Rugs - maybe not.. Hugs - they should be free.. ;)

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After our panda fix, we got a taxi back to our hostel for lunch and then hopped a bus to LeShan to see the Big Buddha. The Big Buddha is carved into the side of a hill and is 71 metres high. His ears alone are 7 metres high. Tis the WORLD'S LARGEST SEATED BUDDHA. A monk built it in 713 as he thought it would help calm the rivers that met below it, and guarantee the safety of those who lived and sailed along the rivers.
This mad monk apparently gouged out one of his eyes to convince people to donate money to the building of the Buddha - just to show he was serious like. :D

So after asking about 10 people where to get off the bus, we got there eventually. A young Chinese girl who wanted to practise her English on us, befriended us and led us around. The Buddha itself was super cool - very impressive altogether. I think it may have even been better than the PANDAS!

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So after a few hours chit chatting, step climbing and picture taking, alas we had to go get our bus back. Was a long trip for a short visit, but it was well worth it imo. Had great fun chatting to the two Swedes - they're both lovely funny guys. Felt like I'd known them for years!

Back in Chengdu, we went on the hunt for the Shamrock Irish bar and pints of Guinness. The lads were a little dissapointed to hear I didn't really like Guinness. (as many people have been - ''no Guinness, no Irish accent - sheesh are you really Irish??'') Victor told me of the time he'd been to Ireland and his hosts had brought him to TEDFEST! LOLOLOL - well now there's an intro to the real Ireland for ya! - a half empty remote island off the coast of Western Ireland, populated with madzers dressed as priests and nuns and little old ladies. hahahahaha.
We had the most delicious Westerny food in the Shamrock and lots of drinks. The lads told me their story of how they'd ordered some ''Bar Snacks'' in Russia to accompany their beers, and were given a whole fish each. bwahahah. Even the locals were asking them ''Where are you from? - Do you eat whole fish with beer in Sweden?'' Guffaw. We had a hape of drink and a great laugh. Woke up my roomies again to move dorms - serve them right, going to bed at 10pm - GET A LIFE YOU YOUNG WANS! ; )

I swear there was a tiger sleeping in the bunk above me - he was growling away all night. In the morning he offered me his spare breakfast. ??? :D

And yet again, I bid farewell to 2 more awesome travelling companions. The lads were off to ZhangJiaJie. I armed them with maps, too much confusing information and hugs and I went off to the train station to catch my train to Kunming. Unfortunately, I went to the wrong train station. What an Idiot! I just rocked up to Chengdu East and wandered around aimlessly looking for my train, til a young girl told me I had to go to Chengdu North station, which was a half hour away. Arrtggh.. Grabbed a cab and just made it. Fifth sleeper train - feel like I'm living on sleeper trains!

Posted by squeakylee 01:14 Archived in China Tagged buddha big bar land panda chengdu leshan shamrock swedes nom Comments (0)

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