Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Recent Journal Entry

It's July 8th. I'm in Kathmandu. I'm having trouble sleeping. Perhaps it's because I drank a glass of Pepsi relatively late at night. I should've known better. I've learned that caffeine has some pretty adverse affects on my body at night. Today was a wonderful day. We woke up early, around 7:30. We called the senior missionaries and made arrangements to meet them for church. We got ready, and quickly ate breakfast and then met up with the senior missionaries. Church was very interesting. The branch president was this nice cheerful and warm man. We were greeted by everyone with warmness and great hospitality. People ran up to us from all sides to introduce to themselves. Recently there were three marriages in the branch. I believe all three men married were return missionaries. One man was asked to bear his testimony. He spoke on his surprise of his arranged marriage. He spoke about the few hours in the car that he had the chance to talk to his new wife about his religion and to explain his beliefs, his views on family, bear his testimony, and invite her to church. She was a beautiful girl, with a small black dot between her eyebrows, a quaint nose ring and a beautiful green sari. We sat by a senior couple who reminded me very much of my first few weeks on my mission. The two new senior couples have only been here for two weeks. We left after Sunday school; anxious to sightsee and experience more of Nepal. We walked down a dirt/concrete road to the main road. On the way, a young man named Arjun instigated a conversation. He was recently baptized a member in Malaysia and he wanted us to travel to his house which is about three hours away. We asked him where a Hindu temple we were interested in seeing was and he called in a taxi and got in the front seat :) We ended up at this beautiful temple. We weren't allowed in because we are not Hindu. However, the men at the gate invited us to walk around the temple. The temple was bordered by long stairs and a jungle. Monkeys (mostly baboons) were everywhere! They were all over the stairs and all through the trees. We passed by ceremonial cremation where they were burning two corpses out in the open over the river. There were people bathing beneath in the ashes as they mourned. Also, beggars filled the temple. Some lepers and others with handicaps. After walking around a good area of the bordering area, we decided we'd like to check out the famous Buddhist temple called 'Bodhnath'. We passed at least twenty naked boys playing in the river. I thought to myself, "I wonder how inappropriate it would be for an adult to play too?" We stopped quickly to rest and exchange e-mails with Arjun. A pair of young men came up to me and asked me where I was from. I told them "America". They said "welcome!" in unison and then skipped off hand in hand. We then got in a taxi and headed to the temple. Arjun got out at the half point to catch a bus back to his hometown. The temple was beautiful and full of tourists and locals. We walked around the temple and talked and soaked everything in. Occasionally we'd be greeted with "namaste!" and we'd quickly respond. After we walked around the temple a few times, we sat while these two boys played with a kite over our heads. After resting, we grabbed a bite to eat. I eavesdropped on a considerable portion of the conversation taking place at the table to the right of us. College students from America discussing boyfriends, traveling, and sharing a few stories. After we finished eating we headed back to our guest house and took a nap. After waking up we walked the streets and entered any stores that appealed to us. We didn't spend any money on anything other than food in an attempt to observe the Sabbath. Once again, it was a wonderful day. I spent my day with my best friend, experiencing a culture so foreign, yet so alluring.

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