Dharmsala, actually up the hill in a place called McLeod Ganj, home of Tibetan refugees i
ncluding Dalai Lama & his monastary & temples. Beautiful mountain town
full of tourists, Tibetans, & Indians. Season July-November. starts to get cold
here in December apparently.
At night, you get woke up every now & then by the Dog Orchestra.
No...it's not a new band, it is an orchestra of dogs barking in a valley
that carries sound very well. I think i'm finally adapting to it, or my
earplugs are working better now that i jam them in my ears further!
Friday morning I woke up & went to Dalai Lama's puja chanting ceremony
at 7-9am. I sat 40 feet from him on the sides surrounded by hundreds
of maroon & gold colored robes with Tibetan monks inside them. Everyone
chanting along with His Holiness as they call him. This was good timing for
me since the Dalai Lama is not doing any public speakings & this was it
for my time here. Wasn't allowed to bring a camera in, so hopefully you
don't think i'm just making all this up! i was really there! not like seeing
him with 15,000 people at PNE stadium in Vancouver April 2004.
I've finally found a place to volunteer & signed up at LHA organization
to teach conversational english with 1-5 Tibetans at a time every
M-F, 4-5pm. this will be a good way to get to know some Tibetans
besides helping them improve the language of capitalism, aka English.
Being sick & stuck in bed for 46 hours I realized I was feeling vulnerable.
Sick & alone in a strange new place can make ya feel that way i guess.
Kind of survival instincts really. Pre-historically & therefore genetically
humanity has had to be strong & alert to stay alive. If you were sick in the woods alone, you could be killed by prey or enemies. So...i felt myself
wanting some attention. I asked a tourist gal next door to me if she
had any antibiotics for this travellers diarrhea & turned out she was a nurse.
I got 4 tablets (forget the name) & took them over 2 days. She also
bought me bananas as I was too weak to walk & get some. There...
i felt taken care of & was thankful for that!
To get out of this alone feeling that surfuced temporarily (for we are never
alone in a world of 7 billion people) I decided to meet some tourist.
I've bonded with 4 other pals (Jess, Marc, Tim, & Ben) & have been
sharing lots of conversation, meals, & an overnight hiking campout trip.
The camping trip was truly amazing! We rented a tent for $1.25 &
took a taxi up a ways to the trailhead. From there we painfully marched
upwards for 2 hours , with lots of mini-rests in between of course.
This trail led us through a rainforest & valley with gigantic Himalayan
sized boulders & asian style trees! Fantastic feeling being out of the cities!
We reached the top just before sunsed, pitched the tent, & then...
guess what...had dinner at one of 2 rustic hut/cafes that operate ontop
of this mountain in a place you would have least expected it!
Woke up to a great sunrise & hundreds of sheep & goats roaming by us.
The hike down we passed about 40 Indian women wearing the usual
bright pink, yellow, purple sari's that were sitting down singing the most
beautiful music. I captured it on video that i hope to put online eventually.
I've realized that international travelling can dissolve our nationalism.
We are brought up in the West with heavy programs used in our educational
system (learning history of mainly the country your born in) & the media
that naturally are all directally influencing us in multiple ways. We grow
up knowing there is a world out there, but never KNOWING these other
people & places & living in our nationalistic ways. I hear that only 5% of Americans travel internationally. Maybe if it was a majority that did instead
there would be a different mindset. And this would in turn enhance the society & influence the politics & would bring more of an awareness of the foreign policies
that have & AND ARE causing severe damage to good people in far away countries. I believe that to be too nationalistic these days is fatal.
We are now the global village & need to council together more. International
travelling is exhilarating (when it's not exhausting!) from constant rememberance that we live in that very diverse world of cultures, and each
has so many beauties & knowledge to share & help us grow! It allows us to leave our jobs for awhile (come on...you can do it! you can always get a new
job or get re-hired!). It allows us to leave our neighborhood & really explore.
It allows us to let go, surrender, & feel true freedom!
and i am addicted to this feeling. apparently i'm not the only one!
Well, not much else to say now except that I'm eating lots of good food
at various restaurants 3x a day! only about $1-2 a meal!!!
I started a new song on my laptop I call "The Lama Rhythm" (samples from
Tibetans). I'm getting quite comfortable in my room with my tools/toys
(laptop, mp3/video player, books, etc..)
So, it's been a fantastic couple of days!
I'm having too much fun & it doesn't look to slow down anytime soon!