Saturday, 5 May 2012


Updaing where I've been. I would have thought Internet access was a little more freely available in India but it's been hard to get somewhere where I can get the laptop online.

So the first part of the last week or so is, Lumbini!

Drew and I set off from Pokhara late morning, attemping to get to Tansen that night. Only 120km to cover... However 5km into the trip drew started to have problems with his bikes suspension. He pulled over and said it was probably broken again... So the Vespa was pushed onto its side, the and the old suspension removed. Then, he produces his spare suspension... I'll also noted he was carrying a spare wheel, and another spare tyre. Lucky he had the spare suspension.

For the rest of the day it was lots of riding through valleys again, semi-decent roads (better than Kathmandu-Pokhara). And then racing the sunset up to Tansen.

The landscape changed a few times. Pokhara is very green, the roads winding up and down the hills outside of town. Then you get into a dryer part of the land, more rocks, but more impressive valleys. At one point the road dipped down to the river about 20km out of Tansen, there was a nice little town there and it would have been good to stay but the accommodation options were somewhat, limited. We pushed on to Tansen at the top of the range overlooking the plains to the south where everything got a lot browner.

When in Tansen we just followed the signs to one hotel, no idea what it would be like. Once we arrived we found a moderatly fancy hotel (to my lowered standards anyway) but they were charging $30US/night for a room. Far too much. He offered 20% discount at first, then we were about to leave and he then offered 50% discount. That's more like it! There were meant to be views from the hotel but the air is still full of dust still.

The view from the hotel in Tansen

A temple in Tansen, we found it while trying to navigate out of the town.

A carving on the temple.

Please, shoes, belt, hear...

In the morning we set off again, this time the goal was Lumbini, the birthplace of Bhudda, and next to the border with India.

When leaving Tansen drew let me know he needed petrol, so we headed down the road a bit, found a petrol station but they were out of fuel. We tried asking them where the closest fuel was, and they pointed back up the hill to Tansen. Right. We went back into Tansen, found an ATM (one of the requirements for the morning) and then asked around for fuel. We eventually stumbled on the place everyone mentioned, but they were also out of fuel. Drew asked around some more and got some confusing responses about a petrol pump a little higher up the road. We road up, couldn't see one, asked again and they said it was back down the road a way... When we were riding back we saw the pump hidden behind a building. We filled up and then were set off from Tansen for the second time today. And wouldn't you know it, at the bottom of the hill not much further was another petrol station with fuel...

Another of them valleys.

A river running away from the road.

Awesome bike, and a little red Vespa that made it this far.

The valleys were impressive again, then once we got to Butwal where the plains started the traffic increased A LOT. Cows, goats, kids, cars, bikes, trucks, more cows, more bikes, everywhere. We had to dodge a lot of traffic on the straight road. I was getting tired (still sick sort of), and then we hit a small town where we had to turn off to Lumbini. The traffic there was even worse, smaller roads, more animals, bikes. Once out of it though the road settled down until Lumbini.

We picked a place to stay that I'd recognised the name from Wikitravel, I'd already traded in the lonely planet for Nepal. At first the water didn't work (they needed the generator on to power the pump to get water in the tanks on the roof), and then there was water over the floor in the room, and it was noisey, and I got to listen to someone throwing up all night.

The next day we set off to have a look at Buddhas birthplace. On the way in someone called out to us to buy a ticket, but I guess we thought it was a scam, but once we got to the main temple (a long walk through the heat) they asked for our tickets, which we couldn't produce... After some discussing and shoe removal we eventually got ourselves in without tickets.

Monasteries in the towards the northern part of the park.

A temple close to the birthplace.

That's how you carry stuff.

There are old ruins scattered around this area but with the dates marked on them I'm not sure how the old ruins can look so new. Compared to Angkor Wat or the temples in Ayuttha these old ruins looked like brand new bricks but were at least another 1000 years old according to the signs.

In the middle of this section is a white building which was built by a Japanese engineer to help preserve the temple around the spot where buddha was born. When we were in we got in line and waited to see the market stone which is under bullet proof glass in the center of this building. And yes, it was there, it was stone. There were police there, and lots of people who were there for religious reasons, and us two tourists to have a peek at this rock.

A quote.

Some of the disturbingly new looking ruins...

More ruins.

The temple that was built over the old ruins of the birthplace.

Outside of the temple is a tree around 20 meters away, confusingly this tree is also where bhudda was born. So who knows where the exact spot is...

The tree that Buddha was also born under...

Not sure what this was for. But the ground was hot here.
After a hot day in the sun it was back over to 3 Fox's restaurant where we got chatting to some other people who had met the two Canadians I met back in Kathmandu. Everyone keeps running into everyone else in these places.

Next story time: Crossing to India and not dying!

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