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06/07 Birthday Dalai Lama

We woke up at 5:20 with the sound of a gong on the background. Today we wanted to join the morning prayers. When we entered the temple all monks were sitting crossed-legged and were singing. We took a seat at the back and enjoyed a one and a half hour during Tibetan prayer. The monks made music with special instruments and drank Tibetan tea during the ceremony. We also tried the tea but this was too salty for some of us. Today it wasn't just a normal prair session because it was the 75th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. All day long we would celebrate him.
At 7:30 we left with 2 buses full of monks to the celebration which took place at the other site of the city. After 5 minutes driving the worst thing happened. A whole army of police officers stopped us and told the monks that they weren't allowed to go to the event. The government of Nepal has strong bonds with China and you all know the situation between China and Tibet. Therefore the police officers received orders that no monk could go to the celebration of the Tibetan leaders birthday, the Dalai Lama. The police sent us from police station to police station. We had to wait a very long time but it didn't help. Police men where very rood to the monks it was realy realy sad to see. We always hear about violations of human rights but seeing it and stand face to face with it, is hartbreaking!!!! The monks had to go back to the monastery ofter 3hours waiting in the bus (they were not alowed to leave the bus). It is so hard to imagine that there are people in the world who aren't allowed to follow their religious practice and cannot go wherever they want to go. We can conferm that democracy doesn't exist in this country. It was all really sad for these monks who are full of peace and love.
Back in the monastery a couple of monks dressed themselves like ordinary persons and made a second attempt with us to reach the ceremony. We had to drive all around Kathmandu to reach the Tibetan community. Everywhere in Kathmandu were road bloks to prevent Boeddhist monks from going to the celebration. Luckily our trick worked! On the Tibetan event there were a lot of Tibetan speakers and also performances of Tibetan music and dance. Everywhere you could see pictures of the Dalai Lama. And on everycorner we could get free rice and free Tibetan Tea. During lunch we went to a local "restaurant". But we had to stop a few times because Brecht was getting lot of stomac problems. The food in the restaurant was realy tasty but we asked our selfs questions about the hygiëne... In Nepali restaurant you get all you can eat always, when we left we could even fill our drinking bottles for free, incredible. When the celebration was done we we went to the Zoo with the 2 monks who accompanied us. It was really funny and we saw a lot of beautiful animals, Bengal Tiger, Rino, Angry monkeys. It was realy beautifull but also realy sad to see all those animals in to small cages. Also here we had to stop sometimes for Brecht his stomac problems. Very tired we returned to the monastery. Brecht went to bed and got some water with salt the rehydrate. We hope tommorow he will be better!
It was quite a day... I will never forget it!
Mélodie