Along my journey I’ve picked up the odd irresistible item, from both India and Nepal. Of course I’ve had to be ruthless in my choices, as before I’d left I was heading toward minimalism and seriously considering alternative living which doesn’t involves cupboards — thank god! And unfortunately there were a plethora of superbly beautiful handcrafted items I’ve had to walk away from.
So far I’ve been pretty good and only allowed myself items of which I’d seriously use and would bring much joy to my world. One of these is a Buddha figure I managed to haggle quite effectively from the true country of his birth Nepal — although I don’t think hard haggling quite fits the style of Buddhism (does it?!), and some would argue that India was his birthplace, but that’s for others to argue.
The few items I’d gathered, along with quite a few items I haven’t really used were now becoming dead weight, 6.5Kg in fact! That’s a heavy load so it was time to get back in the game and get sending home.
Among the items were:
- Some Nepali peace flags and a marvellous cushion for my singing bowl — at home, not in my bag although there were beautiful…. Stop! Stop now!
- The Buddha figure which is quite weighty
- A pro solar USB charger (1Kg) I used in Portugal, although considering that I’m not camping in the middle of nowhere I obviously panic packed it!
- A four port USB UK charger I accidentally packed because I didn’t realise my plug converter already had these; DERR! Some tech guy, I am.
- A box of USB leads and small tools etc, because — these are deadly words — ‘you never know’! (What was I thinking? I’m not on a bike anymore!). Which is NOT light by backpacking standards but on a shelf in the garage, who’d give a toss!
So there I am in the Post Office dripping with sweat after dragging it all there after only a 15 minute walk but in 33°C heat. I’d previously visited the same day to check on pricing as it got me out of the hostel for the first time as my sunburn was starting to heal. And there I am, arranging all the address paperwork, box picked and the lady is going to pack it all for only 33 Baht, Brilliant! Aaaaand then she starts packing … and asking.
As it turns out I cannot send anything electrical, nothing; not even a cable! I know that we can’t send batteries so I’ve kept those or given some away BUT cables?! Then her senior associate gets involved and they start questioning EVERYTHING!, including the small Nepali flags THEN the main highlight … Buddha.
Thailand being Buddhist (obvs), and Muslim too but that doesn’t apply here, holds Buddha’s image of the highest value and it must be respected. This I agree with but as I quickly learn, I’m not allowed to send Buddha through the post … because someone might — and I quote — ‘shake him‘. Then as the lovely ladies move onto the packets of flags, once they know they also have Buddha on them, I can’t send them either! Now I do not wish to offend here, but aren’t flags ‘shaken’ — but not stirred, sorry couldn’t help that! — by people or the wind anyway?!
So… not being a nob, and also a respectful human being, I take Buddha back … and his flags … and the cables … and the tools. And don’t send Buddha through the post! That’s that! No arguments, be a good soul and live a good life.
But like every episode of the beloved Columbo, there’s that niggling question:
So how do all those millions of Buddha’s get from India/Nepal/Thailand to the rest of the world?
Hmmm… let me think about that for a moment.