Monday, August 1, 2011
the terai in july
Whenever I travel, I feel a great widening, or inner expansion occurs. The more I experience and grow to understand, the more I realise there is so much more to experience and understand. I feel like I'm unfolding, layer by layer, spreading out, extending little green vines. I believe travelling alone opens you up to deeper personal experiences and allows you to meet people you otherwise never would have met, had you been with a group or travelling partner. You have all the time in the world to have those great, rushing rivers of conversation, to reflect, and turn strangers into friends. You learn to see through different lenses, you learn that there are as many colours in the spectrum as there are thoughts and perspectives in the universe.
I was lucky, so very lucky indeed that Acharya K.S. offered me a ride to Lumbini. He, a young monk named Passang and I climbed into his comfortable, air-conditioned car and began the seven hour journey to the Terai, the southern flatlands of Nepal. We flew down the Prithvi Highway, swerving and twisting around massive hillsides that dropped off into nauseatingly deep valleys. As we weaved past scars of landslides and ramshackle tea stops, I found my thoughts drifting off to last year's roadtrip to Pokhara. The scenery zipping past my eyes had remained unchanged, but an entire year had past, and though my sense of awe and wonder had not diminished, I was being carried in the arms of familiarity.
We arrived in darkness, and though I could not see the landscape, I felt its flatness— as though the heat and humidity had somehow ironed out the hills of the north. The night was heavy and thick, the stillness broken by the whining of mosquitoes. I spent a restless night seized by the heat and a rattling cough, occasionally startling myself awake with a slap to my face in some unconscious attempt to slay the tiny flying terrors who attacked any inch of exposed skin.
The Terai in July.