By Meng, Bachelor of Oral Health (Dental Science) student at Griffith University Gold Coast, and member of the Griffith Golden Key Society.
We flew in on the afternoon of the 6th January and got a great view of Mount Everest on the way in!
After patiently waiting in a LONG line at the airport and being accosted by a few scam artists, losing some money but gaining some experience, we headed to our hotel in the Thamel Eco Resort.
I experienced some serious retail therapy, buying movies, knock-off goose down jackets and gloves on day 1 in the Thamel district and had major sensory overload from the chaotic sights, sounds and smells!
Stray dogs roam everywhere, traffic is unforgiving and hustlers at every stall try to draw you into buying their wares. Being a dental student I was also extremely surprised at the number of ‘dental’ places there were around town, with suspect looking, age worn acrylic teeth displayed on counters.
I was awoken by a stray dog fight at 4am. This stopped at 5am, just when the rooster started.
We ran into a friendly local who took us around the town and directed us to the Boudha Stupa which is a large Buddhist shrine and filled with souvenir stores and pilgrims.
The Boudha Stupa – myself and Tanya
Then a taxi ride later took us to the Pashupatinath temple, a Hindu temple.
We were not allowed into some areas but got to observe (but definitely not photograph) 2 Hindu cremations.
Watching the weeping relatives unwrapping the body and then throwing the clothes of the deceased into the holy river before cremating them right on the river bank affected me profoundly and although I am not religious, I found it to be an extremely spiritual experience and made me think of all the ways that human civilisation has come up with to deal with the difficult subject of death.
On a happier note the temple was filled with monkeys and ‘holy men’ who asked for money in order to pose for a photo as well as trinket sellers and locals who offered ‘information’ on the area in exchange for money.
Monkey and stray dog at Pashupatinath temple
was the bus ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara and what a ride! Winding roads through valleys and gorgeous views of the river made me think of the symphonic poem The Moldau from Bederich Smetana’s Ma Vlast. After a long journey we arrived in Pokhara at the Hotel River Park where we met our guide Sonam and had a brief information session.
I managed to catch up with the Griffith Honours College contingent and Griffith student Katie with another placement agency also in Pokhara for volunteering at their hotel and swapped stories with the students.
Griffith Honours College contingent, Katie and myself
I begin my dentistry placement in 2 days at Manipal Hospital and I hope to tell everyone about it soon, so stay tuned!