Leaving Chitwan, I had to take two buses. One to Sonali and then a connecting bus to Lumbini It was up to God whether or not I would make this connecting bus and it turns out I missed it by twenty minutes. I hopped of the bus and of course-there were no lights again-welcome to Nepal where there is electricity for 2 hours a day.
Right in front of the bus stand, I see a fruit stand and immediately go over hoping for the fresh juice machine. One of my favorite things about India and Nepal is the fresh juice machine where you get a cup for 30 rupees, which in US money is about 35 cents. They also put 4-5 oranges so it is a great source of Vitamin C=)
Anways, I am sitting on the back of the truck just figuring out what to do in the dark. Should I stay in the dark, dingy town area for the night or should I go over to Lumbini where I can be at a guesthouse and wake up in the morning for sightseeing?
Rishi is very sweet and concerned about my safety as a WOMAN. As he sits and listens to my decision making, he keeps reminding me. You are not a man, you are a WOMAN who is ALONE. Acting invincible at times, I forget this fact and forget that there are good people and BAD.
Rishi recommends that I go check out the hotel 500 meters away and just stay there for the night. I head over there and they are slammed with customers for dinner, which makes me realize this is the place to eat. Immediately, my nose is teased with a smell of fish and I walk closer to the stove area and see him making fresh cuts of what looks like sea bass. I have just been eating purely vegetarian (not even eggs) and I am so excited to eat fish. I sit down and order thali and 3 pieces of fish(35 cents per piece of fish). They were small pieces-I should have ordered more. Sitting contently eating and reading, I finish up my $1.20 cent meal and head back to the juice stand (left my bag with Rishi).
Over by the juice stand is a local friend of Rishi’s who lives in Lumbini with his family. He looks like he could be trouble, but after talking I observe him and realize his naïve and innocence. He tells me he can drive me to Lumbini and my friend says, “Don’t worry you can trust him.” I am positive that I can and to double ensure the safety of this ride-the police takes his information. A traffic police man for the area talking with my local friend takes the boys licence plate, address, and mobile number. I felt completely safe with our ride and off we went into the darkness. There is pretty much nothing except a few villages between my area and Lumbini
My little 24 year old student friend, Sanjit, talks about how he wants to one day go to America to get out of Nepal. I am happy to say he was pursuing his college degree as many locals I talk to are not enrolled in school. It is getting late and finding guesthouses so he invites me to stay in his home with his mother, grandmother, and siblings. He says, “It is not very nice, but it is my home.”We are motorbiking for a while deep into the village. We pass by a “man in an oven.” In his hut, a man sleeps half way in his house and half way outside with a mosquito net-it looked just like he was sitting in an oven-priceless. When I get there, it looks similar to the Tharu villages in Chitwan very simple except this one had two floors. I stayed upstairs next to his grandma who was sleeping outside with a mosquito net.
Waking up, I see nothing around me, but agricultural fields. There are kids shouting and playing outside with a tire and playing on the a swing (made to weigh items, but used as a swing). Like many homes in Nepal, there is no running water just a pump that sits in the kitchen. At first, my friend says it is just best to skip a shower, but I tell him “Don’t worry I am fine with the pump.” The only thing with the pumps are that they are inside the kitchen area, which is a common area. I take a shower staring at a bike and random junk items (literally).
When I get upstairs and change, his mom knocks on the door bringing a coca-cola bottle and breakfast item consisting of ghee. She speaks a little English, but I put my hands in alms and say, “Dhunya vad.” Sanjit tells her I am from America so she brings Coca-cola-priceless.
It is a short visit because Sanjit has to go to work and I am off to explore Lumbini for the day and then head to Pokhara. I hop on the motor bike and waive goodbye. Biking through the field, I turn around to still see her smiling face..