A Travellerspoint blog

Naughty Monkeys,Yes. But Naughty Monks?

Swayambhu

sunny 26 °C

Well...Day 3 of staying with my host family is finally over and I am in need of a BREAK! Where do I start?

I spent my first night there on Monday. I was shown my room by the host father who calls himself 'Dai' (older brother). Was so happy that I had my own room. Very clean and very tidy. Dai fed me rice and cauliflower curry on my first evening there - it was lovely. He gave me a glass of water, which I drank rather slowly - hoping it wasn't going to make me ill. He quickly told me "It's filtered water. It is safe." I had no trips to the toilet that night so I guess the water was safe...HOWEVER, once again - the DOGS. I have come to the conclusion that there is something terribly wrong with the dogs here. I am not exaggerating when I say that this one dog was barking consistently (with less than a 1 second break between each bark) for about 45 minutes... NON STOP I could even hear the dog's 'voice' getting weaker with each bark but rather than thinking of stopping for a short break, it decided it wanted to keep going. And then a bit of howling every now and again! I AM SO GLAD I BROUGHT EAR PLUGS WITH ME TO NEPAL BECAUSE I WOULD NOT BE SLEEPING OTHERWISE!!!!! So that was my first night.

In the morning of Tuesday I woke up and made my way to see Dai who was in the kitchen. He put in front of me RICE AND CURRY at 0800 hours...with dahl and pickle. 8 o'clock in the morning, yes. I ate it. Then at 1000 hours Dai asked me if I wanted to see one of the private schools nearby because he knew the Principal there. I was greeted by the Principal and his lovely wife who gave me some more rice and curry. By this time, I was starting to feel sick. This was despite me saying "I don't feel hungry" (I said this in Nepalese!) "Oh just a little" they tell me. I ate it though - even though it was 10 o'clock in the morning. I was starting to worry that this was going to be the trend over the next few days. Dai then starts speaking Nepalese for the next 20 minutes and I'm just looking at them wondering if they were talking about me. Then they look at me and Dai says "Yes Nadine is happy to teach here from 10-12". My reply: "What?!" Dai says, "I told you about this...you can teach here from 10-12 then go to the monks from 2-4pm." Oh right, that's settled then! So....as of 3 weeks time (after my trek to Base Camp everest) I will be teaching twice a day.

Next...the monks. Would you believe me if I told you that I had to tell one of the little monks to leave the classroom and "get out" (in Nepalese)? Well that's what I had to do yesterday. I wish you all could see how NAUGHTY these little monks are? They fight in the classroom, they throw things, they don't listen when I speak.... What happened to the hard working, diligent, respectful little Dalai Lama's I thought I would find here? Well, in the age range I teach (8-14) this isn't the case. When I told Dai about my experience with them on my first day, he said "This is how the younger monks are. You are not the first volunteer to say this!"

The monk I told to 'get out' whacked another boy with a stick across his back and this was after he came to class 30 minutes after I told him. Does that sound harsh? This 'incident' happened on my second day of teaching and after speaking to Dai we said that it would be best if I used punishments like these so they know I mean business.

Well today the little monks were much better. And we had fun today. AND they let me take their photo! I return to them in 3 weeks time and I just might miss them.

Wish I could write more but I'm up early tomorrow (6am) to go to Royal Chitwan Park for the next 4 nights (not 3 nights like I was originally told). As I write this, the owner of the internet cafe is staring at me - just thought I'd tell you in real time! I will get to ride elephants and wash them - can't wait!

Before I go, must tell you. A monkey (not a monk) jumped at me today! It was really scary and I was running away screaming! One of the families living next door to Dai told me to throw something at this monkey who was eating their food but instead of throwing something, I decided to make a noise and flap my hands at it instead. It didn't like this so it leaped at me and chased me down the walkway! It then jumped off the balcony and onto a tree before disappearing from sight. The children were laughing their heads off. It was funny though.

Next time I write here I would have been to Royal Chitwan Park! Watch this space.

Bye bye for now! Lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by NADZ2 06:49 Archived in Nepal Comments (2)

Sightseeing Tour

Pashupati, Bouddanath, Showambhu

sunny 27 °C

On Thursday we were taken sightseeing by the hostel staff in the van - there was 5 of us in the back, so a bit of a squeeze and I started feeling car sick about 10 minutes into the journey. Luckily it wasn't long until we arrived at our first stop. The first place was called Pashupati, which is a pilgrimage for Hindis. As we got closer to the river, I noticed the smell of barbequed meat. Luckily I wasn't hungry. Little did I know that public cremations were taking place there...

We DID NOT TAKE PHOTOS of what we saw once we realised what was burning. We did take some from a distance of the scenery (where you cannot see what was being burnt!) As we started walking along the river AWAY from where the burning bodies was taking place, we actually saw a dead woman who had been positioned near to the river's edge and covered in bright orange material. We could clearly see her face and feet - it was a rather strange experience.

A few days before this, we met an Aussie traveller who was telling us about these public cremations and how some 'western idiot' was filming with his video camera, getting in the way of the ceremony and showing complete disregard to the family who was mourning their loved one! He was telling us how he wanted to go up to this bloke and smash his face and camera in! Luckily we didn't see anyone doing such a thing. Instead, we had the monkeys to look at who were roaming around all over the place - throwing things at tourists!

The second place we went to was called Bouddanath, which has the largest 'stupa' in Nepal. You'll see from my photos there is a large white building with the Buddha face at the top - this is called a 'Stupa' and there are lots of them in Nepal. We 'tourists' were not allowed to go too near to it. Apparently Bouddanath is one of the most sacred places for the Buddhists. We saw lots of Buddha's there. I even saw some young female Buddha's with shaved heads and they were carrying fashionable handbags on their shoulders!

The next place we went to that day was called SHOWAMBHU, which was on top of a hill with some great scenery of Kathmandu. Apparently this is the same place where I will be teaching the Buddhist monks. I saw flying eagles in the sky and took pictures of them. I also practiced my Nepalese in the shop there and they were very impressed asking me, "Are you Nepalese?" Yesssss I am convincing!

Today is Sunday and we have asked to go and see a Bollywood film at the cinema near to Thamel. The hostel staff (Keshav and Jiyan) want to come too so we are going around 4.30pm this afternoon. Hom - the local volunteer coordinator here - told me this morning that I am now starting my placement with the monk TOMORROW now (rather than in 8 weeks!) Originally I was meant to be going to the orphanage for 5 weeks but apparently the monastery needs teachers now rather than later so I agreed to help. I'm SCARED! I hope I do ok! Hopefully there will be some internet cafe nearby because I'd like to update you all as to how I get on there. I've heard from other volunteers that the host family they place you with is really nice and the food is great! YESSSSS!

I have looked at some of the photos of me that I uploaded and I look like a real CHUB! I'm eating less here than I did back in England so don't know what that's about?!

Got to ride on the top of a bus today! I accidentally grabbed a telephone cable while climbing on top of the bus thinking it was some sort of rail! People are only allowed to ride on top of the bus in the countryside and NOT in town where there are cables running all over the place - the journey only lasted 5 minutes but we were all laughing / screaming the whole time.

I'm going to try and upload these photos now - it takes some time here. Hope you like them.

Thanks for all your messages / emails - I love hearing about what you are all getting up to while I am here.

Lots of Love xxxx

Posted by NADZ2 01:32 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

Kalanki

Hostel/Food

overcast 24 °C

It's Monday today and already it feels like I've been here for almost a week! Yesterday was an interesting day. Betina and I went to a place called Bhaktapur, which was a very scary 45 minute roller coaster ride of a taxi journey from our hostel in Kalanki. When we got there we were harassed by lots of locals telling us that they were 'student guides' who could show us the sights (Hindu temples and other significant buildings). We decided against using their help but soon realised after taking lots of photos that we didn't have a clue about what we were taking pictures of. Then we met 'Ram'. Ram told us that we could pay him what we wanted rather than him quoting us a price. We were so impressed with his tour that we decided to give him 600 rupees between us (other guides were asking for 200). I ended up buying a Mandala painting, from a school in which the Dalai Lama apparently teaches the students to learn the art of painting. Who knows whether this was true but I was impressed all the same!

After our day out in Bhaktapur we came back to the hostel and met some of the other volunteers who had arrived. There is 'Mao' from Singapore, 'Barbara' from Germany, and 'Faith' from Iowa in USA. Faith is at the end of her stay here in Nepal and she has done EXACTLY the same order of placements that I am about to do (working at ORPHANAGE for 5 weeks then TREKKING for 2 weeks then TEACHING for 6 weeks!). She gave me such good information about what to expect from the volunteer placements. Apparently the orphanage where she worked had 10 children and she was expected to pay for all their entrance fees to the local zoo (and travel costs!), which I guess is fine if the prices into these places is really cheap, but guess how many children will be at the orphanage where I'm going??????........42!!! Lets wait and see ay. I start there next week!

We went out for drinks in Thamel yesterday, which is a very touristy area of Kathmandu. For ages me and Betina were wondering where all the restaurants and bars were and thanks to Faith's knowledge we found them! We went into one bar called 'Buddha' and saw the Chelsea vs Liverpool score from the TV in there and I was so happy! 2-0! YESSSSSSS! There was this drunk Irish man in there who was a Liverpool fan - hahaha. He was very stange though and kept telling us that he had HIV and telling us stupid jokes we didn't find funny. We soon moved away from him but then he followed us. The bars close here about 11pm but we stayed in there til 1am and I don't think the Nepalese staff were very happy. I was really embarrassed to stay in there but these 'tourists' just don't care! 'TOURIST!'

This morning at the hostel I met another volunteer who arrived this morning and guess where she is from......MAIDSTONE in KENT! She's been living in France though for the last 5 years though but STILL! She's really nice and I will be with her at the orphanage with the 42 children as well. None of the volunteers other than Faith - who left this afternoon- is staying for 3 months in Nepal so looks like I'll be meeting new volunteers and saying goodbye to others all the time that I'm here.

I haven't had ANY MEAT here since I arrived because I was not liking what I saw when walking in Kalanki (near the hostel). The meat we saw being sold just sat on a sidetop of a shop with flies all around in THE HEAT next to the ROAD which is packed with polluting cars and buses. The hostel food is ok - so far we have had rice and vegetables, chips and vegetables, pasta. Where is the Nepalese food?! We asked them about it today and they said they would let us have it about 2 times a week only? They seem to think they are doing us a favour as we will be eating Nepalese food with our host family and we may be bored of it? NOT ME! The food that the hostel staff eat looks amazing, while we are eating CHIPS AND RICE! I wonder whether OUR money pays for their FOOD!

By the way, for some reason I can only send SMS text messages to UK mobile numbers beginning with 07779 or 07773 - don't ask. So if you are one of those lucky people with these lottery mobile numbers, let me know!

Byeeeeeeeeee for now!

Posted by NADZ2 02:51 Archived in Nepal Tagged events Comments (0)

Kathmandu Girl

I'm here!

overcast 25 °C

My flight to KATHMANDU left on time and there was no delays - think I arrived in Kathmandu at 7.45pm but not sure exactly as I hadn't adjusted my watch from Abu Dhabi time who are only 3 hours in front of UK. Nepal are +5.45 hours GMT -Apparently the 45 mins thing is so Nepal can differentiate themselves from India who are +5 hours GMT

Well the second leg of my journey involved me talking to some Nepalese people on the plane - they seem to think I look Nepalese so at least I may fit in a bit. Only thing is you can tell by my clothes that I'm a bit of a 'westerner' so may need to dirty them up a bit! The Nepalese people are always smiling and so sweet. My first friend on the plane was called 'Hira' and he said he has some contacts who might be able to assist with me getting a trek sorted out to Base Camp Everest in November. Haven't heard from him yet but apparently he has retired from serving 22 years in the British Army and now lives in Plumstead!

Went through Immigration no probs although I was told I'd have to renew my VISA on 30th Dec 09 so I can stay on for longer. Got picked up by the volunteer programme people who had 'NADINE' written onto a board for me. There were three men in total but little did I know that one of these men was pretending to work with them and was helping me with my trolley. It was only when we got to the van that I realised he was begging and wanted my money - the driver shouted at him to leave me alone and he did, but not before turning round to give me a dirty look! I was getting a bit scared in the van because it was night time, people were driving with no lights on, there were no streetlights and I thought we were going to crash into people or cars or both! I kept thinking to myself - don't be scared, it's because it's not like it is in England. We got to the hostel in about 20 mins and K was shown the room that I'm now sharing with another volunteer called 'Betina' from Denmark. She is really nice and is with me now using the internet at the same time. It's only us two in the hostel at the moment - think there are other volunteers arriving on Monday but not sure. I had my first cold shower and it wasn't too bad - only thing was I saw a COCKROACHE having a little walk above the door in the bathroom. I thought, "don't scream - it's normal here". Saw a few flies in our bedroom so I put the mosquito plug-in thing in our room, slept underneath my mosquito net (literally underneath it because there was nowhere to hang it!). Betina thought it was hilarious so she took a photo of me. Then all night the dogs were having some sort of party outside and wouldn't shut up! I woke up feeling fine even though I haven't caught up on the sleep I never had while flying here.

Just now we got ripped off on our way to Thamel - the very touristy area of Kathmandu. Some bloke came up to us telling us it was the end of the Dashain holiday so to give us luck, wanted us to put a flower in our hair. Then after he had put the flower in our hair and put paint in the middle of our eyebrows he said "that's 500 rupees please." It was so funny how quickly he did it - he was being all nice and sweet while putting the flower in our hair, and then his face changed as soon as he asked for the money. This other man then came up to us and said "don't give him any money!" but by that time we had parted with 200 rupees (between us!). Won't be making that mistake again...

There are lots of stray dogs in Kathmandu, the pollution is awful - I think I might get one of those masks because for 3 months I'm gonig to be breathing in this air! Next week is all Language and Cultural awareness training at the hostel plus a few days sightseeing - think they are taking us to some Hindu, Buddhist and Monkey temples! My volunteer placement doesn't start until the following week but for some reason Betina has 2 weeks 'language and cultural immersion' training while I only have 1 week. At the end of her second week, she gets to go to the Royal Chitwan Park for 3 days so I asked if I could go too and take some time off from my placement to go. Should be fine to do this apparently...

Thank you for all your messages so far. Oh, the airport lounge - I did eat and drink what I wanted in Abu Dhabi - and guess what I had...Perrier Water. Not living it up just yet! They offered me a shower - must have looked like I needed one - they even provided towels, shampoo, conditioner, comb for me. It was so nice to have a refreshing shower - and when the water was hot, I thought "Yessssss!"

The saddest thing about my trip so far is that I lost my chelsea fc towel in the Abu Dhabi airport - it must have fallen out my bag and guess what "no one saw anything". Well, hopefully another chelsea fan can enjoy it instead of me. It was supposed to be going to be hostel family in Nepal when I start my placement at the monastery. Maybe I could order them another one on the internet. By the way, I only stay with a hostel family for 6 weeks when I teach the monks. The rest of the time I'll be living at the orphanage and at the hostel.

Hopefully I'll have some photos for you soon. I have yet to buy a SIM card and charge card but will keep you updated as to what my mobile number is going to be. Byeeeeeeee for now!

Love Nadine xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by NADZ2 01:26 Archived in Nepal Tagged lodging Comments (2)

Flight to Abu Dhabi

1st leg completed!

overcast 28 °C

Good morning all! It's 9.10am here in Abu Dhabi, which makes it 6.10am UK time, not sure what day it is. I haven't slept since Wednesday night but I actually feel ok at the moment. Is it Friday today? I think it is - which makes it my sister, Camilla's 30th birthday! HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY CAH-PUH!!!! Hope you like your presents! Wish I could see your face when you open the ones from me...

I'm currently sat in an airport lounge for EXECUTIVE people ONLY - having paid $28 to come in here. Actually, no it was $30 because the woman didn't have any change! Yeah right. I'm the worst dressed person in here by far. Not sure what I get for my money in here but I'm sure it's free bar, free food, and shower...I'm too scared to order anything in case it's a lie and I'll have some massive bill when I leave! I have to stay at this airport for another 5 hours yet. Think I've been here for almost 2 hours... not impressed with it really - lots of expensive looking shops and I look like a tramp.

I cried for most of my journey on the plane - not because it was a bad flight but because it was really horrible saying goodbye to Steve and my mum at the airport. It's just me and Timmy now (Timmy is my teaching-aid teddy - I've decided to take him with me everywhere I go!) I'll upload a photo of him drinking some wine later. I watched 'The Soloist' on the plane (just been released at cinema!) which also made me cry. What a brilliant film. Don't think anyone I was sat by could see the tears streaming down my face. The flight overall was fantastic - would definitely recommend Ethiad Airways - you were right Dickie! I had salmon salad for starters and lamb kofte with rice for main. Drinks were all free unlike OnurAir! Had a choice of about 50 different films to watch and had loads of good music to listen to. I even got to listen to MJ's 'Thriller' album!

I'm going to check out the rest of this airport lounge now as my eyes are starting to strain from writing this...no I don't need glasses. When I get to Kathmandu at 8.30pm tonight, I certainly won't be typing into this blog - I wonder what my bed/room is going to be like?! We will have to wait and see, won't we!

See you in Kathmandu everyone x wish me luck!

Love Nadine xxxx

Posted by NADZ2 22:12 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged air_travel Comments (7)

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