It was a perfect decision to run away for the night. I am relaxed (not 100% normal, but closer) and happy. First I had to get through the day. I got up without disturbing the kids so I could dress and brush my teeth in peace. I roused them slowly and praised them for being good during the night. Poor kids, having to squeeze three into a bed! We got organised and then joined the rest of the group outside for morning exercise. I led a big game of Simon Says and Ramesh followed with some stretches. They also sang the songs they normally do at morning assembly. Breakfast was next, then we returned to our rooms and gave the kids some time to write about their experience. A short walk later and we boarded a bus. Heading back into the city, we stopped at the Bhaktapur, a world heritage site. As our snake of children wandered in I had an arm thrust in front of me, blocking my way. ‘You must pay’, I was told. I waited for Ramesh to catch up and he explained I was a teacher. The tourist police weren’t interested. Even if I’d have been happy to pay, I wasn’t carrying enough money. Thus ended my time with the kids. They continued their trip while I got a scooter ride back to the school.
Back home, I hung out with the Class 10 boys for a while, learning some cool mind-bending tricks with hands and pencils. I was able to teach them a few too. Then I retreated to my room with a plan. I would pack an overnight bag and run away to the Boudha Stupa area for the night, enjoying a tranquil Christmas on my own, away from the stress and distraction of the school and its occupants. I looked into where I might find accommodation and picked one place as my top choice. As I walked out of the school I was joined by Prush (the school caretaker’s son) who was heading out of the school gates at the same time. He walked with me 90% of the way, leading me a maze of alleyways and roads that formed the shortest route. He left me and I was free to walk the last couple of hundred metres on my own.
I was instantly attracted to the area. The stupa is such an impressive structure and is surrounded by a fascinating mix of people. I walked a few slow circles around the stupa and entered the gate to walk around the structure itself. I then began to wander the alleys leading away from it. I noticed some ticket booths, which I avoided, as they seemed to be selling entry tickets to foreigners for 250r and I didn’t want to get caught without a ticket (I think I must have got into the area without paying). I began to make my way to the hotel I thought I might call home. On reaching it, I saw a sign pointing to a guesthouse called Dondrub. A quick google encouraged me to forgo my original choice and instead settle here. The guesthouse is part of a Buddhist nunnery and is incredibly eco-friendly. They produce their own bio-gas and recycle every type of waste produced, with plastics being used to create handicrafts. The best part? They have hot water, and a hot shower is my Christmas wish this year. I checked into a budget room and instantly had a hot soak. I’m not sure if I’ve appreciated a hot shower more.
As the sun sank, I read a book on a park bench on the edge of a courtyard bounded on one side by a beautifully decorated temple façade. My thoughts turned to dinner and I was keen to treat myself to something other than rice and daal. I wandered the streets for a while before (with the help of online reviews) settling on Flavor’s Cafe. It was a perfect choice. I chose a seat tucked away in a corner and enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere for a while before turning my attention to the menu. Catching my attention was a banana and peanut butter smoothie, an entre of lightly battered vegetables, a vegetable lasagne main, and a slice of carrot cake for dessert. It was so good! And the price was reasonable for a nice restaurant next to the stupa (AU$10 for the lot). I read my book a little more and felt happy with the way I was spending Christmas Eve. On my way home I couldn’t help continuing to treat myself by buying a packet of fruit Mentos and a Mars Bar. I ate these at once while lying in bed watching TED talks on YouTube.
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||16,071km|