May 23:  Bhairawa to Chitwan National Park

Up 7:45am.  Best night of sleep so far.  We left a little after 9am for Lumbini, birthplace of Buddha.

Entrance to Lumbini.

Maya Devi Temple.  Buddha's mom.  She dropped him here.

No colours!  Request #1 doesn't seem right, because the foot path was not eightfold.


Bodhi tree (under which Buddha was NOT born) and the Sacred Pond, which Maya Devi washed herself before giving birth.

Stupas and tree.

We went into the temple, where photos are not allowed.  There's a stone under bulletproof glass in the middle that commemorates Buddha's birth spot.  There used to be a Bodhi tree there.

Monk at the tree.

Close-up of the many flags decorating the tree.

We were at Lumbini 10:40am-11:45am.  Left, rode a bit further, then stopped for lunch.  There were only two things on the menu.  Half (most?) of us got noodles, which ended up being ramen with a few extra vegetables thrown in to make it seem like we weren't eating ramen.  It was good and spicy though.

Outside the lunch stop we noticed our bus had an unusual emergency brake engaged.  Left here 3:45pm.

The bus had a microphone, and we were able to hook up iPods to the sound system and later Varun's little speaker pod, so we sang karaoke.  The people in the back did not enjoy this because of the acoustics, but we didn't know this until later.  I played a few songs from my iPod but the only one I sang along to was Love Shack, which I chose to spite my brother.  I'm playing it at Wiffleball this year.  Gabi says people tend to have strong feelings one way or the other about the song.  I sang only the Fred Schneider parts, as I did on the way home from my show at the lesbian bat that time, and I apologized to the group for not making it gay enough.  But it was pretty gay.  Gabi said I was obviously comfortable on a microphone.  Hell yeah!  I'm on the fringes of show business.

Arrived around 5:30pm at Sapana Village Lodge in the vicinity of Chitwan National Park.  Nice peaceful place.  No AC in the room, but Nepal is cooler temperaturewise than India, so it doesn't matter.  There was an ant trail in the bathroom, and a baby gecko on my 2nd bed and later on the window.

Showered and left the room at 6:50pm for dinner.

Sweet.  In the grassy area outside the rooms, on the way to the semi-outdoor social area where we would drink and eat (which I think is the bar Kristen told me about last year, if this is where her Gap group stayed), I encountered Janie and Gabi barebacking an elephant.

Gabi was apologizing to the elephant right after this for breaking her trunk.  She claimed to be tipsy.

Dinner 7pm.  I had rum steak, which is the first flaming dish I've ever been served.  It was buffalo, though, not beef.  There were a lot of bugs flying around at dinner, and I screamed when one grazed my upper back and gave me the willies.  On the heels of Love Shack, this probably didn't come across as manly.  Also a locust slammed into my head.  Like he couldn't avoid it.  Never seen that before.  Locust into a man's head.

Gabi got a bug in her eye.  Most emotional incident on the tour, and kind of scary with all the "it's stinging" and "please".  Somehow (probably on account of too many medical people in the group) the conversation turned to death and cancer.  I mentioned that my mom died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in May 1992.  Gabi pointed out that she was born in May 1992.  Her cool laugh kind of summed that up.

After dinner we stuck around and enjoyed the lightning bugs and lightning.  I had 2 big Everests, and Jamie poured ~3 shots of vodka into my glass, and later I poured ~3 more.

I retired to my room at 11:30pm, tried to interact with a much larger gecko that was walking around the inside of my window, and went to bed at 11:45pm.