21 January 2008

In the footsteps of the Buddha (well, almost)

Yesterday, I revisited the Lumbini Development Zone, an enormous swamp slowly being transformed into a park of some kind by the Japanese. The LDZ is a kind of Buddhist theme park, with a representative temple and monastery complex from just about every Buddhist or partly Buddhist country--even Cambodia (and... France?!). Last night, the ubiquitous mosquitoes kept me awake with that threatening buzzing sound they make RIGHT IN YOUR EAR. I had to get up at one point to slaughter a bunch of them.

Today, I attempted to visit the site of ancient Kapilavastu, where the Buddha lived in opulence until he was 29, when he left to find enlightenment (hmm, strange correspondence). I never did discover why I couldn't get there (it's only 25 km away), but the soldiers at the intersection said the words "violence", "political", and "villagers" (more importantly, "no bus"), so I guess I'm going to be missing out. Instead, I visited the Lumbini museum (where the toilet doesn't flush--see my last comment, Mel) and another Japanese-built World Peace Pagoda. Oh well, there are plenty of sacred sites of Buddhism for me to visit in India.

Speaking of sacred sites of Buddhism, it seems Sri Lanka has decided to resume its civil war, so I may skip it. Maybe Myanmar instead?

PS - I have diarrhea again. I think I'm going to set some kind of record!

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