2012 Study Tour: Day 1

Being a nail biter and a toilet conscious young person, the only thing the worried me about Nepal as I dreamed of it from Melbourne was the hygiene. Boring and simple yes, but unimportant I think not. Steph briefed us on the appropriate diet that would hopefully stop us from catching some god awful disease. Meat, dairy and tap water will be avoided at all cost for the next 3 weeks. I am sure most people reading will agree that food poisoning and squat toilets do not mix.We have seen many shocking things here in Nepal. The Posphinarth Temple is where most Nepali are taken to be cremated. The bodies are wrapped in cloth and placed on large stone platforms to be burnt. It was a beautiful and intimate ceremony in which the public can view from across the river. It was a foreign experience to be present at such a private yet public moment. Surprisingly the air smelt like camping not death. I think it was the Nepali spiritual reassurance that there was another life. Despite the smoke, monkeys and crying, the afternoon’s high point was at dinner. Steph had invited a few of her Nepali friends for the group to meet and we sat down to a traditional Nepali meal full of rice and lentils. Unfortunately, at dinner I was feeling adventurous and fool hardy. After seeing Leigh deal extremely well with whole chilli that had been placed on the table, I decided it was a great idea for me to eat one. Taking a tentative bite at the end of the chilli my excitement was burnt away by the fire in my mouth. No words can adequately describe my pain. But gates of hell and Pompeii spring to mind. Tears and hiccups followed shortly after and I was forced to eat the yogurt provided. What is to be learnt by this experience? Many things. Leigh keeps a very straight face, don’t play poke with him. Or that Chillies are hot. I think possibly the most important lesson was you can plan and mentally prepare all you want, but the unexpected is exactly that, unexpected.

Clara Long

Seven Women