I had the most amazing send off from the school today. Part of the morning assembly was set aside especially for my farewell. Sushma made a beautiful speech before inviting a couple of students to the stage to read out some prepared farewell letters. Madan then addressed the school with even more kind words just for me. I was presented with a plaque and a neck cloth. If this wasn’t enough, the school’s vocal teacher (a part time composer and song writer) performed an original song he wrote just for me and my journey. I have never had such a nice thing happen before. It is so humbling to think of the time and thought people put into sending me off. It still wasn’t over. After assembly I had a bunch of kids from different years present me with cards they had made themselves. A lot of kids requested autographs too. Once school returned to normal, I had some breakfast with Madan and Ramesh before doing a round of the school saying a final goodbye to teachers and other staff. And then it was time to roll out of the gates. I left to the sound of kids shouting goodbye out of windows. Wow!
I meandered my way towards Boudha and took a bit of a detour so I could access the Stupa without paying an entry. I was going to do one lap of the Stupa before moving on to my accommodation. I plan on staying in Kathmandu for a couple more days before riding to Pokhara, and I decided to return to the nice guesthouse I stayed at for Christmas night. About halfway round the Stupa I was approached by a man with a shaved head and wearing the maroon colours of a Buddhist monk. He explained he had walked to Kathmandu from Tibet and he was happy to meet another long distance traveller. He wanted to chat so I let him lead me to a sitting area outside a nearby hotel. He told me about travelling as a monk in his younger days and I was enthralled by his story of being jailed by the Chinese because of his beliefs. He said they tortured him and he showed me some scars on his hands. After asking about my family, he presented me with some nice neck shawl things for my mum and dad and one for me as well, which he wrapped around my neck. He then told me how he was now struggling in life and can’t afford to get treatment for his eye, which was cloudy with cataracts. I slowly realised where the whole thing was going. He asked me for ‘help’. I told him I’m not going to give him any money. He dropped his pretence and asked me if I wanted to buy the shawls off him. I said no. He asked for them back, then left. Scam artist. I returned to my walk around the Stupa and immediately saw him approach another foreigner and repeat the process.
At Dondrub Guesthouse, I spoke to the same guy that had checked me in over Christmas. I chose a corner room one level from the ground. It has magical views over a beautiful garden and the temple. I had a gloriously hot shower, then ventured over to the temple, outside of which was an interesting looking display. The Foundation for Sustainable Technologies was demonstrating solar cooking using reflective metal dishes that focus sunlight on a pot. Two solar cooking setups were being donated to the monastery.
I sat in the sun for a bit, then decided to grab some food. I took my book to the noodle shop I’d visited on Christmas Day and ordered the same thing: veg chow mein. It actually wasn’t as good as the first time, but it did the job of filling me up. Moving on, I bargained for a bunch of bananas then walked a lap around the Stupa before returning home.
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||16,071km|