April 2, 2018

Nepal Day 14-15 Home

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 9:49 pm
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Good news! Today I got a refund of about 1000 Nepalese rupee, around 12 AUD for some of the activities I didn’t do at Chitwan. Downside was it was a token only, not nearly enough for what I missed, and they were useless outside of Nepal, so I had to spend it before I left.
I selected a book, the quickest book selection I have ever done, Nepal 1953, a story about what happened behind the scenes when the assault on Mt Everest was made. It was really interesting and clearly portrayed how much of a team effort it really was, even though Hillary and Tenzing were the only ones who made it to the top, and the only ones who are really known or remembered. It also described a lot of the gear the team used, some of which I saw when I visited Darjeeling last year and saw the himalayan mountain institute.

Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu Valley

After the rush to spend the last of my local currency, which I succeeded in doing, I just got back in time to check out and catch the car to the airport.
Kathmandu airport is like most other smaller airports. People everywhere, long queues, gate waiting areas that aren’t really big enough any more. While I wad at the airport I saw a could who were on my tour. They’d gone to pokhara after the tour, instead of chitwan and had chosen to fly instead of catch the bus. They had spent the entire day they were meant to fly out sitting at the airport waiting for their flight to leave, which never happened. Suddenly a 14hr bus ride didn’t seem so bad because at least I’d made it without a days delay – it was only about a 6hr delay!
From Nepal to Delhi, Delhi to Dubai on jet airways, an Indian airliner. The Indians and probably Nepalese are on their phones, speaking as loudly as they can, right until the moment the plane starts lifting off and resuming as soon as the wheels touch the tarmac. If there’s ever a reason why they should never allow in flight calls, there’s enough right there. Rude, obnoxious, irritating, very annoying and making the first time traveller next to me very nervous!
At dubai, I had to change terminals via a bus, change gates via a train and could finally check in for my qantas flight home and ask for my bag to be diverted (changing airlines). Because that took so long, I was very doubtful it would make it, but if any airport could do it, it would be Dubai.

Arriving Dubai

Arriving Dubai

On boarding the A380 I walked right past my seat row as I figured there’d be no way I could be in seats that nice. I just kept heading towards the back. Slightly embarrassing when I had to walk back past everyone to get back to my row!
So my section of the plane was maybe 20% full, meaning I had 3 seats to stretch out on. How good is that! Everyone’s dream on a long haul flight is to have enough room to stretch out, sleep and just spread out generally without having to fight for the arm rests or step over people to go for a walk or toilet break.
Strangely they left the lights off for 80% of the Australian time daytime flight, so I didnt get a lot of my book read. But I caught up on other stuff, so it was all good. Oddly they only served one snack and one meal for the entire 13hr flight. That one meal was really good though and worth waiting for! Melt in your mouth beef stew with mashed potato just like your mother or grandmother used to make! They did have a steady stream of snacks flowing though – chips, cheese, biscuits, bananas…

It could have been a good sunrise...

It could have been a good sunrise…

Got in to Melbourne 25 mins early, but no bag, (no surprise there, it took til Tuesday to arrive, I got home Saturday) and through customs. And just like that my 5 week Ugandan/Nepalese adventure that took my across the world to two different continents was all over. Til next time.

April 1, 2018

The Interruption

Most of us have been there. We’re focused on a task or a goal and what we’re doing and tuned everything else out. We know what has to be done, what we need to do and the steps to take to get to the end destination and achieve the task or goal. Maybe we’re enjoying the journey as we go, but we never move our eyes too far away from the end goal. When we’re in that zone, any interruption causes us irritation, is annoying (or can get us angry) and is generally fairly unwelcome. As soon as we can, we get back to what we were trying to do.

But what happens when that interruption is bigger than a mere distraction and has life changing consequences. How do you react then?

Let’s pick up the story of Simon, a Cyrenian, who was in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus crucifixion.

Mark 15:21 “Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” (Also found in Luke 23:26 and Matt 27:32). For more background to the environment in Jerusalem at the time, take a read of Luke 23:13-47. It was a place of unrest and upheaval, with civil riots, hostility and unhappy mobs. Being around the time of the Jewish Passover, there were many people visiting the town, swelling the population. There were those stirring up hostility toward the Jews, and of course there were also those trying to go quietly about their business and stay out of trouble. It’s in that melting pot of cultures and differences that we find Simon and his two sons.

At this point, we don’t know a lot about Simon. We know that he was a father to Alexander and Rufus, was from the Cyrene area and was visiting Jerusalem. Cyrene was a Jewish area, around 900miles, or 1450km west from Jerusalem. It took over a month of walking to get there.

It was a coastal town, so there’s a good chance he’d heard about Jesus or the works of Jesus, perhaps even thinking he’d find out more about him by going to Jerusalem, but arriving in Jerusalem, he wouldn’t have expected the uprising that he found. It was also on every Jew’s bucket list to visit Jerusalem to participate in Passover. It’s a pilgrimage and is a big deal, perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for those a long way from Jerusalem such as Simon. Simon was focused on getting to Jerusalem and participating in the Passover. That was his goal.

Simon is innocently walking along, minding his own business, when he finds himself in a situation that has become immortalized for all time and retold millions of times. As he’s walking along the crowded streets of Jerusalem, trying desperately to keep his sons by his side, he hears a commotion going on not far from him. Perhaps he is curious as to what is going on, for no doubt he would have realised there was something different happening here as opposed to other parts of the streets. He is curious, but not wanting to get involved. He hesitatingly draws closer, moving slowly through the crowd. Being from another area, the accents could be hard to pick up – that’s if he even understands exactly what they’re saying. Perhaps he needs a moment or two to work it out, as you often do when you hear different languages or accents being spoken. As he’s drawn closer to the commotion, Jesus stumbles and the mob crowding around the spectacle hastily back away and retreat. As Jesus stumbles, the Roman soldiers look around and find Simon, who, in the confusion, doesn’t move quick enough and finds himself closer to the front than he would have liked. Then being an outsider, the crowd pushes him even closer to the front, placing him as a barrier between themselves and the Roman soldiers in a selfish act of self preservation by the crowd.

The Roman soldiers reach for Simon, who makes a lame attempt at protesting his innocence – lame because he knows what happens to those the Romans aren’t happy with, regardless of their innocence or guilt. The Romans treat him roughly, and push him toward Jesus and the cross lying on the ground. Whatever he was carrying has now been stripped from him and possibly even trampled underfoot or distributed by the remainder of the mob. His two sons are quite possibly nearby, but extremely frightened, wondering what will become of their father.

Simon now finds himself almost doubled over by the weight of the heavy wooden cross, taking one step after another, wondering how he found himself in this position. At first Simon’s reaction would have been one of reluctance – he definitely wasn’t a willing participant in this story. Fear of man would have kicked in – what are these people going to do to me? They are angry. Will the soldiers kill me or will they let me go to be finished off by the mob? And he may have been wondering – if this is Jesus, why is He being crucified? What has happened, what was going on? Confusion would have reigned supreme in Simon’s mind.

Simon, an innocent bystander, is now playing a crucial role in the crucifixion of Jesus. What is running through his head? He was focused on getting to the Passover festival. Even the abnormal crowds had got him slightly annoyed as they delayed his journey. Now he was going in completely the opposite direction and further away from his destination. Simon was also now covered in the blood of Jesus that was covering the cross. It dawned on him that he was now unclean and unable to participate in the Passover. This interruption was not only a major detour, but now it had derailed his entire purpose for coming to Jerusalem. He had come all this way, only to come so close, but yet to be so far away from participating in his lifelong ambition.

As time went on and Simon completed what the Roman soldiers had forced him to do, what would Simon have been thinking? As he watched Jesus crucified, did he realise he was playing a crucial role in something much bigger than he could ever have imagined? Did those feelings of disappointment and anger give way to awe, excitement and reverence at being involved and having a unique first hand account of the crucifixion of Jesus?

After the initial shock, we know Simon’s reaction. He went on to become a Christian and live a life filled with faith and love. He was most likely well known among the Roman church because of the way he was referred to in the three gospels. Alexander and Rufus, his two sons who were bystanders to the scene, both became leaders in the early church.

The story of the cross will disrupt our lives. How will you react? With annoyance, reluctance and fear of man? Or excitement, reverence and awe? Will you allow the interruption to take your life on a new course, like Simon did, or will you shrug it off and keep doing what you’ve always done?

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life.

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