28th Jul 2012 - Thailand
Preparing for Nepal
As many of you know one of my passions is international volunteer work. This trip takes me to the rooftop of the world - Kathmandu, Nepal at 4600'/1337m above sea level. I will be teaching English at the Sherpa Ling Monastery - a Buddhist temple in Chitwan, Nepal at 2600'/ near the Indian border. My students will be young Buddhist monks aged 8-13.
My travel takes me overnight from Miami to London, which should be bedlam as i will arrive there during the first week of the Olympics; then it's off to Manama, Bahrain the financial capital of the middle east; the airport lounge in Manama will be my last hot shower for three weeks LOL; next up is the final overnight flight into Kathmandu. It adds up to about 27 + hours.
The weather will be much like South Florida with the exception that the summer rains in this part of the world are called Monsoons. It can rain for an hour or a week turning dirt roads in to to mud, with flash and extended flooding that routinely washes away roads and bridges.
The political climate in Nepal can make travel difficult. It all depends on the status of the relationship between the Nepali government and Maoists. The not good sign is army checkpoints on the major roads.
I will be hosted by a Nepali family who live near the monastery. As they are Buddhists, and possibly Tibetan refugees, it is very likely that I will be Vegan during my three week visit. While electricity is available it is not reliable, particularly during Monsoon season. The closest village with internet access is Narayanghat, a 30 min. bus ride away.
Upon arrival I have arranged two days of walking tours in Kathmandu and then head out to the Central Terai - Chitwan Valley on a four and half hour bus ride. Once in Chitwan, my day will involve teaching English for two hours every morning except Saturday. In the remaining time I am permitted to stay and participate in monastery activities such as chanting, praying and meditation. On my second weekend I am going to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. On the third weekend I will visit Sauraha - the elephant breeding center and go on an elephant safari. Then it's back to Kathmandu for some sightseeing outside the city with a possible trip to Pokhara before heading back to Florida to teach the Fall term at the college.
I am allowed two checked bags of 50 lbs. each - not an ounce heavier. I am taking a lot of teaching supplies including a Sanskrit-English dictionary, A Nepali-English dictionary, a world atlas , instructional materials, markers, pens, flash cards and a selection of age appropriate classic literature. This bag weighs 44 lbs. I will need my own Sherpa.
Hope you enjoy the adventure.
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