Evil personified! This one took a jandal hostage and wouldn’t give it back until lots of food was thrown at it. Bundi, Rajasthan.
You hear the term ‘Bucket List’ bandied about quite often, yes? I was fortunate enough to cotton on at an early age that the world is a fascinating place and I had started a list of countries and things I wanted to see by the time I was 12. Tibet, the Pyramids, Bedouins in Arabia, Castles in England, Frogs in the Amazon, Iguanas in Galapagos, the usual run-of-the-mill stuff.
I’m not entirely sure where the ‘Bucket List’ term originated, but since I’m about to turn 50 and inherit my license for eccentricity, I’ve decided that I shall have a Pooh List. I know – I’m such a grown-up. And I’ve already ticked off several of the items on it: Continue reading
I am guilty. And I was ignorant. I didn’t know.
This baby is so hungry she tried to latch onto a passing elephant she didn’t know to suckle.
Photo by Lek Chailert
I went to India four times before I saw my first real live elephant. At about 2 o’clock in the morning, in Pahar Ganj, a place bustling with people and traffic and street dogs and rubbish. I was so thrilled to finally see one that I didn’t stop to think that the poor thing was probably stressed out by the noise and traffic, and also probably just hanging out to get off the hard tarmac and go to bed. Continue reading
R-Expo and their delicious natural goods. Delhi, India.
In 2005 when I was leaving India to return home, I’m pretty sure that technically I was kicked out of the country. It was my debut overseas trip and also the first time I could afford to buy whatever the hell I liked, within reason – we’re not talking a Maserati or a luxury yacht here, and I have no inclination to have my own exotic python zoo either. I’m talking about getting a few clothes tailor-made, treating myself to a nice piece of turquoise and silver jewellery, buying odd, dusty brass items from that hole in the wall shop five alleyways past the cyber cafe with the public urinal outside it, or going to R-Expo and indulging in my ecologically created, natural ingredient incense, soaps, shampoos and perfumes enough to last for an entire year. Continue reading
Tibetan momos. Yum!
Paul and I ran around like blue-bottomed flies trying to find some vertical prayer flags in Rewalsar, which appear to be as scarce as hens teeth no matter where you are. So while I was in one shop organizing some to get made, he was down the road doing exactly the same thing! So we ended up with two sets. That’s okay though – we got to watch the guy actually printing the design onto Paul’s flags – a huge wooden printing block with a picture of Padmasambava and Tibetan writing on it. Interesting stuff. Continue reading
A local Tibetan woman in traditional apron poses for me. Rewalsar, India.
Today is our second to last day in Rewalsar and it’s going to be a wrench to leave here. It’s absolute heaven (even aside from the daily access to momo).
Last night we sat up in the secret place on the roof again, played Pink Floyd by candlelight, watched lightening AND looked at stars – pretty awesome combination – and had a gin or two. Little fireflies flitted about and so did the bats who were chasing them. We even had a dog up there with us. The canines round here seem to be part mountain goat. We actually ended up talking until dawn – due to the fact, I guess, that we have such a short bit of time left and wanted to savour every moment. Of course we weren’t aware that it was nearly dawn until we heard the puja and wondered why they were so early. Whoops – outside (we were back in our room by then) the light was dawning. They weren’t early, we were late! But somehow that doesn’t matter when you can sleep in till midday then go and order your breakfast. I could really get used to this life. Continue reading
Before dawn I was woken by the sound of what seemed like the Tibetan version of
the bagpipes coming from the temple. Of course, that started off the dog packs
who accompanied this strident sound with what they thought was rather a nice
rendition of the Barking Symphony Number 3 in C Minor. Even that may have been almost tolerable had it not been for the monkey packs singing their Screech
Symphony Number 8 in D Sharp. As any musician will tell you, these particular
notes go not together. Finally, thank goodness, the Tibetan bagpipes stopped
– ‘insert sigh of relief’. Alas, too soon. Horns started up, replacing
the bagpipes, with an accompaniment of drums keeping beat as loudly as
possible. Okay, at least the horns weren’t being played at as high a pitch as
the bagpipe thingys. But I didn’t reckon with the pending cymbols about to be played at a definate clash of tempo with the drums. Conches then competed this cocophony of sound. Continue reading
Yesterday we wandered into the monastery down the road. We were able to go inside for their puja (kind of like a prayer service, I guess). The monks sat cross-legged in a row talking really quickly for ages (reading from books) while one of them beat on a drum at the same time. Pretty awesome multi-tasking! After a while, two of the monks blew on long horns, which fold into themselves telescopically. At the end of the puja, the same two blew on conch shells. Tibetan books are long and narrow and I don’t think the pages are stuck together like our ones. When they were finished with them, they wrapped them up in saffron coloured material. The temple was full of the most exquisite decorations I have ever seen in my life. Pictures of animals and various beings are painted on the walls and the ceilings. The fan even hung under a mandala! Now I’ve washed a few ceilings in my life and I know how uncomfortable it is just to do that. Actually painting the complex pictures they put up there just beggars belief! The doors have huge round gold handles on them with long tassles hanging off and even the foyer outside is painted with mythical beings, etc. Now I’ve never seen a stunned mullet in my life before but I betcha I was giving a pretty good impression of one! Continue reading
We walked around the lake with Ernie and Leisa and had breakfast at a different monastery. There were a couple of wallahs across the road selling little round things that they poked holes in, put a few chickpeas into, poured some kind of spicy liquid in and this you toss down in one mouthful. I have no idea what these things are called but they’re quite an interesting taste. Continue reading
This morning, due to the Tibetan Monastery alarm system, I was up pretty early. There had been an influx of monks, lamas, etc, from Leh (way up in the mountains) and lots of them were little boys. I amused myself for ages watching them interacting with the monkeys. These monkeys, otherwise known to us as “The Thugs” can get pretty close sometimes, and some of the older lamas’ were actually throwing food to them. So there were a few close encounters. One little guy in a yellow t-shirt and marone robes would bravely tell a monkey off while doing a karate stance at it. Very brave in my eyes, as the monkeys were almost bigger than him and have pretty big fangs. This little guy, however, had a few smarts about him – as soon as he had told the monkeys what for he would run like hell. Funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. Continue reading