Travel Notes from Tansen (Palpa)-Lumbini, Nepal
Another day has passed, and i found myself packing my bags again heading out of Tansen. I woke up late most of the days but today, i woke up earlier so i can enjoy the remaining hours of my stay in this beautiful town. The other day, the weather was bad. Today was sunny all day.
Enjoying my last Masala Tea in the hillstation, i looked around and simply admired the view from the roof of Horizon Homestay. It has been an unbelievable journey so far, and i never imagined myself going this far exploring my most favorite country in the world. Heck, i never imagined coming back to Nepal in less than a year. I will do the same with Sri Lanka, the other South Asian country that's close to my heart.
After going back to the maze of streets around Tansen, i finally arrived at the bus park. I paid the man 100 rupees thinking i was from there. He got robbed when he found that i am a foreigner. Somehow, he is suppose to charge me twice the price because i'm not a local. Later on, he just let it go. He soon was smiling at me for i have just won this battle. The trip going to Butwal was a completely different experience from the usual terrain of the valley. The roads are worse, bit the scenery is quite different. From snowcapped mountains and deep gorges, the scenery has turned into waterfalls, rivers, and jungle forests. After almost 3 hours of traversing the last of the remaining Siddharta highway, i arrived at noisy, hectic, manic Butwal. People look so different here than the typical Nepali i see in the northern half. People look more Indian here --darker skin, more piercing eyes, and with colorful saris. It helped that music played in the bus is Hindi, and the dust, heat and energy is definitely more India than Nepal.
From Butwal, it gets even more manic when i arrived in Bhairahawa. Riding at the back of the driver, stopping every 10 minutes, it gets the best of you. I feel tired, hungry, dirty, and haggard. The bus that's suppose to be just a few kilometers turned out to be a deadly, dusty ride to the entrance gate of Lumbini. I paid the man 50 rupees in exchange of the ride. Another small micro ride, and i am already at Lumbini Bazaar.
I was very much surprised when i arrived in Lumbini. Suddenly, the hectic vibe of Butwal and Bhairahawa is gone. Passing by mango trees, and green paddies, the air became less suffocating. The naturalists will enjoy a stay here as it seems, Lumbini is like a Southern Philippine province -- isolated, rural, and completely non-westernized. For a Unesco World Heritage Site, that's the biggest surprise. But Lumbini doesn't see a lot of long-term visitors. Most of the guests rush in one day all the sights before going to Kathmandu or Pokhara. But here on my third day in Lumbini, i realized there's more to see than Maya Devi temple, and for someone like me who finds solemnity in Buddhism, it's the place i want to meditate. I walked for a bit more, finding myself lost of the time, among the wild swamps, crumbling pagodas, and a friendly Hindu community. There it is, the authentic Terai experience I've been so excited about.