City Tour in Kathmandu
The first full day in Nepal started out with a brief city tour of Kathmandu. After a big breakfast and a pit-stop at my apartment to show my parents my living quarters, we headed to Pashupatinath. Pashupatinath is the second most holy site for cremation in the Hindu kingdom and is located on the Baghmati River. Hindus from all over the subcontinent travel to Pashupatinath not only to cremate recently deceased family members in accordance with traditional Hindu practice, but also to visit the holy site as a pilgrimage to the river and the temple dedicated to Shiva.
Our next stop was Boudhanath, the largest Buddhhist stupa in Nepal. We rounded the stupa clockwise, spinning prayer wheels along the way. The stupa is an active site of prayer, evidenced by many monks performing series of prayer prostrations. The peaceful co-existence and frequent combination of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal is characteristic of the country’s multi-culturalism.
After a quick lunch we headed to my office at the Nepal Ambulance Service in Sitapaila. I introduced my family to the EMTs we are currently training (we hope to launch services in mid February). Mom, Dad, and Daniel got a first-hand look at our service as they acted as patients during mock simulations of medical calls. The EMTs showed off their skills admirably and I was proud to introduce my parents to the great group that I have been working with during my time in Kathmandu.
In the evening we dined with a few friends of mine from Kathmandu and packed up for our trek to Poon Hill the next day.