India, Canada · 83 Days · 246 Moments · December 2014

Bradley's adventure in India

14 March 2015

The Final Post: It has been over a week since our return. The first week back was devoted to jet lag: falling asleep in the middle of the day, & wide awake at the oddest hours! This week is much better but my cricket clock is still a bit off. My final post includes a few of the items I purchased: Luk goh (a sheep head (for Losar) Thank you for following! We'll see you on the next trip!

9 March 2015

We are home. Sorry, I have no more pics after Schipol. My phones were almost powerless, & I didn't have ready access to my cables or a USB port. I have a few pics on my iPhone 4s, which I will add a little later. There will also be some more added notes.

8 March 2015

Dawn during our landing at Schipol Airport.
The approach to Schipol Airport, Amsterdam. Nearing the end of the first leg of our return.
Flight tracking screens from the first leg of our journey.
Nighttime aerial pics of Delhi as our plane lifts off for the return home. These pics won't map correctly because I lost the GPS signal in "Airplane" mode.
Indira Gandhi International Airport. The road to the car park. At IGIA, there are "No Photography/Videoing" signs everywhere. Given some of the "troubles" in India, I can respect that. I just realized that "Troubles" is what the Irish called there problems. In many ways, India faces similar causes & issues. Gee, in both cases the British are involved!

7 March 2015

Goodnight, India moon! My last moon over India.
When we left Asian Kitchen, there was a stout older Tibetan, who would blow a whistle VERY loudly, every 25 feet. He was apparently letting everyone know that it was time to go home!
I believe this fellow is a cricket. He is about an inch long. (My friend, Dr Marcus, entomologist extraordinaire, says it's a roach!)
the Last Supper: Buff Momos & Ginger lemon Honey Tea for Brad Thentuk & Gyuma for Kushok, Sonam, Dawa Dolma & her hubby, Paljor. Thentuk is Tibetan noodle soup. Gyuma is Tibetan blood sausage.
Big Brother in Majnu Ka Tila.
Sleeping dogs who have been left to lay! Haha!
From left to right: Sonam Paljor, Kushok Lobsang Dhamchoe, Dawa Dolma, Paljor
A little rain & wind before we leave!
TRAVELING TO DELHI? 1 Be in good health & NOT pregnant (see 2) 2 Bring face masks that will filter particles smaller than 2 microns (until Delhi is NOT the most polluted city in the world, this is an ABSOLUTE MUST) 3 Be prepared for women to stick babies in your face and ask for you to provide them food (even if your NOT the father!). 4 Beware of street food 5 If you are sensitive to imperfect food, eat where the Tibetans eat 6 Be wary of deep fried food (strange & off oils) 7 DO NOT be overly generous to beggars at the start of your trip. Save it for the last day or 2 8 Indians are easier to bargain with. Tibetans are harder unless you are buying early in the day.
A couple of metal workers in Majnu Ka Tila, from whom I purchased a Ga'u.
Shoppings done. Time to rest, then pack. Then momos! Then rest. Then the looonnnggg flight home. After we successfully navigate all the check-in business! See you all soon!
CATS: On this trip I have seen 3 cats & heard 4 more. The 3 I saw can only be described as "ripped"! I have never seen such muscular cats! And I am sure the dogs fear them!
Cute pup
Today I saw 3 ngagpa! The only ones I've seen!
Pongyi (street dog) that came to me for scratches & a very well trained pet dog!

6 March 2015

Tonite there was a free concert at the TCV Dayschool. It started with what I assume was comedy, followed by 3 very good singers. The last act I saw was a Tibetan rapper. That was way cool! Then I went back to my room for more rest!
The view from my window in the New Peace Hotel. Today is the Hindu holiday of Holi. I have been told that aside from dousing each other in bright pigments, it is also a day when anything goes. So, people drink & carry on. Aside from a few brightly coloured people, I have missed it all 'cuz I am a little under the weather today: either I have had too much Delhi air (aka pollution) or a mild case of bad food (french fries). Ick. And I still need to shop a bit more!
Weirdness: This morning I am laying in my bed listening to the pigeon outside my window. They make that pigeon sound: co cooo. Then they go: cluck cluck LIKE A FREAKIN' CHICKEN!!!! I have made an audio recording if ya don't believe me!

5 March 2015

Tonights Supper: Buff Momos & Ginger lemon honey tea at Norkhyil Cafe. It ain't Kalimpong but still yummy!
The entrance to New Peace House.
This is the area behind Majnu Ka Tila. MKT is situated between the Outer Ring Road & the Yamuna River. The strip next to the river is cultivated by the homeless. They sell the produce in the markets, & on the street. The shanties are their homes. Kushok was explaining that around June, the Yamuna overflows, and ends up flooding into MKT. So, the homeless move elsewhere.
Momos on the hoof behind Majnu Ka Tila. My apologies to all my Vegetarian friends, but mutton (goat) is so tasty! And they seem to enjoy being vegetarian more than me!
Quik Note: Going McLeod Ganj and Dharamshala to Delhi, is like going from deep & peaceful meditation to the dreams of a frenetic madman, who smokes way too much! But I still love it all, it's just a little bit intense!
Kushok & friends
Todays selfie. The pollution index today is 525 (Hazardous). Around 120 is Unhealthy.
A lovely family scene: the little boy has gotten his first 2 wheeler!

4 March 2015

A Quik Post: Kushok, Sonam, & I are now back in Majnu Ka Tila, Delhi. It was a 13 hr drive. Exhausting! Pic is of my room in New Peace House. Kushok & Sonam are at East House, a new hotel (they don't have authorization for foreign tourists yet, so only Tibetans can stay there) More later!
Delhi's Garbage Mountain. This is right next to river.
Ah! We've made it to Delhi!

3 March 2015

NOTE PLEASE: I have more to post of our trip to Norbulingka. However, I have to pack for the trip to Delhi, so I will finish the posts tomorrow!
The last supper in McLeod Ganj: hakka noodles deluxe (they added fried egg!) & the best hot drink ever: Ginger Lemon Honey tea. Very good for the digestion & it warms you to the bone.
Here are the pictures of "Tashi"! Isn't she lovely? And such sweet curves! And her voice! Slightly husky, with clarity & brightness! The sound of the mountain dakinis! I love her! 😜 But I will always love my Susie more!
A little teaser: 😜 I have a new Tibetan "girlfriend". Her name is Tashi! She has beautiful curves & a lovely voice! I bought her from a man named Kunga! I will post her pic in 2-3 hrs! 😜
Our last sunset in McLeod Ganj. It was beautiful. No rain. The next morning, we left at 5:30 AM. It was warm, calm, & there was no rain! Even better, aside from a khata-like cloud, the sky was clear!
This is Kunga, the master Dramyin maker. He made Tashi!
Note: went to Norbulingka. Wow! Mind blown! Wow! So much art, so much, skill, so much patience! Wow! So peaceful! Wow! They have a store...I am so so glad I didn't go earlier! I'd be living on the streets of McLeod Ganj, having spent all the money on art & beauty! Wow! Pics later, when I have collected the bits of my mind & pasted them together! Wow! Wow!
Norbulingka part 6 Norbulingka blew my mind! The skill, effort, & beauty were overwhelming!
Norbulingka part 6
Norbulingka part 5
Norbulingka part 4
Norbulingka part 3
Norbulingka part 2
Norbulingka part 1
Lunch today: Momos & ginger lemon honey tea at Taste of Tibet Restaurant (just north of Norbulingka)! Yum! Kalimpong still has the best momos!
Quik Note: I have been able to see my breath most days, because of the chilliness!
This my last full day in McLeod Ganj / Dharamshala. 😞 When I woke up this morning, the power was off, & had been for a while, the room & heater were very cold! Kay nangye maray! Except for 3 beautiful days, it has been wet, chilly, & cloudy. Kay nangye maray! Although, I didn't get enough Dharma & no language classes, Kay nangye maray! I am joyful, delighted, and greatly humbled by what I have found here! I will definitely be back! And now I have a sense of the place & its rhythms, it will be simpler to accomplish more! Today, we go to Norbulingka!

2 March 2015

Rilly purdy scenes!
A little clearer yet... all the prayer flags are limp & heavy with water, they look so sad.
The clouds have gone back to the sky. The birds have returned to their song. Ah, the cycles of life & water!
YES! After 29.5 hrs of rain we have reached the end! Wow!
The sky may have run of water!
It is STILL raining! It has been continuous since yesterday noon! And most of the shops are closed, so I can't get no shopping therapy! (Though, I think their Monday may be our Sunday.) Sigh But I can still hear the monks chanting!
The heater I have is an oil-filled electric radiator. It takes about 10 minutes to go from hot to fully cold, when it is off! Brrrrrr! It takes the heater about 15 minutes to get to maximum heat. Maybe I'm being a little bit wussy?! BTW 6 days until I must return to the snow. Sigh
It has not stopped raining since noon yesterday. What can I say? It is more rain than I have ever seen at one time. It makes it hard to do anything. It is hard to shop; there are no plastic bags here, only polyester fibre bags that absorb water readily. It's hard to go to restaurants because they are chilly & damp. It's hard to stay in the hotel because it's chilly even with the heater. The good part of rainy days is hearing the monks chant & visiting the temple!
Had tea this morning with Kushok, Sonam, & Kushoks' sister, Dawa Dolma.

1 March 2015

Still wet & cloudy, but now we have very high winds! Not terribly conducive to exploring or even going out! And being in a room with windows for walls on 3 sides, I am VERY happy to have my heater!
Todays lunch: Fried potato momos (left) - sweet lasi (middle) - fried mixed vegie momos (right) 20 momos for Brad! We are stuck in a cloud this afternoon, so it is cold & rainy - I need the calories for warmth!
Walking in a cloud
Butter sculpture in the temple, part 3
Butter sculpture in the temple, part 2
Butter sculpture in the temple, part 1
Brad in the temple
...then on to the Temple. It is filled with many monks today, chanting in the Tibetan style. The monks in attendance today are from many different monasteries. The most easily identified are from Gyume - their chanting style sets them apart.
More from the Tibet Museum.
At the Namgyal Complex, we stopped in at the Tibet Museum.
Todays adventure: a visit to The Tsuglakhang for Monlam.
A quick reflection on the benefits of a lama: If you find a properly qualified lama, you have found a treasure of immeasurable value. When I follow my lamas instruction, difficulties disappear, my outlook is joyful & peaceful, & all good things come. When I know better, I struggle, become frustrated, & experience pain and suffering. Always. Without exception. This is sometimes hard to see; but again if you rely on your lama, slowly, slowly, your vision strengthens & you begin to see clearly. This is something that cannot come from examining the exterior world; it only comes from examining your interior world.
This morning, the chanting of the Gyume monks can be heard throughout McLeod Ganj...
This mornings sky

28 February 2015

Supper on Saturday was at Pema Thang. I had Hukka noodles & So-rig tea. Everywhere else, the noodle dish is called Hakka noodles cuz the recipe is a traditional dish of the Hakka people, one of the larger ethnic groups in China.
Update on adventure: I will post pics later. For those who know me - it was not my stomach causing problems. Made it to the hospital. Looks modern but older on the outside. Looks abandoned inside except for all the people (& little birds - lots of open windows to fly in through). The Doctors can speak english & so can some of patients. At the registration desk, there are 2 people; one types & asks questions, the other handles the printer. The typer knows english. Notice that I didn't mention nurses? When we first arrived, we tried getting directions from a room full of nurses - the teen son of one of the nurses translated. Long story short: the people there needed the Doctors attention more than me - Dave & I went across the street to a chemist/pharmacist & got what the Dr. would have prescribed. Returned to hotel, took meds, & napped for a few hours. I think I am starting to get better! More later!
Monkeys on the return from the hospital
A few more scenes on the return from the hospital
Scenes on the return from the hospital
Scenes at the hospital. N.B. I didn't feel comfortable taking pics in the hospital, so I didn't. The hospital is the white building with green beams. The hospital (& many other buildings here) uses solar water heaters. They can be seen in the 1st & 4th pics.
More scenes on the way to the hospital
Scenes on the way to the hospital. First pic is a Dharamshala traffic jam; these occur wherever the road narrows to 1 vehicle width. Traffic in one direction will hog the road until a vehicle going the other direction slips in, then the flow reverses. And vice versa.
Todays adventure: Going to the hospital. (Nothing too serious; just embarrassing!)

27 February 2015

Tonight, I can hear the sound of Tibetan wind instruments being played by monks, drifting into my window.
Third adventure: Supper with Kushok! We went to Hotel Tibet but they had no momos! So Kushok took me to a little (7' sq. - 12 seats) restaurant called Kalimpong. They specialize in MOMOS! Okay, THESE were the BEST momos I have ever eaten!!! So much momo goodness! Another 10 for me! Wheeeee! Kushok had 15!
Second adventure of the day: shopping with Kushok! I got a really cool surprise for the GSL Silent Auction! And a beautiful gift for my darlin' Susie! So many beautiful items, so little airline weight allowance!
More views of GK
This is the 3D mandala made of thread, that I mentioned earlier in my posts. Freakin' cool, eh?
Selfies for my Bro!
More views of GK
Dave needed a bedie. So, we went where some Tibetan government workers were smoking. We all introduced ourselves, & had a fun chat.
More views of GK
Lunch in Nechung Cafe at GK. I had momos and Dave had chicken, vegie, & noodle soup. The momos were FABULOUS! Good meat, you could taste the spices, & the wrappers just the right thickness!
Views in GK
More views on the walk to GK
a couple more of the Greys! They are sooo different from the Browns. When you get close to Greys, they sit & watch, calmly, until they are uncomfortable, then they calmly move away. Approached, the Browns get tense, then either spook you, or scramble away. All I saw the Greys eat, were leaves! The Browns have an affinity for garbage. The Greys have black faces; the Browns have pink faces.
the Grey Monkeys! Part 1 (for my Monkey Girl - Paema) (I have since learned that the Grey's are Langur monkeys!)
Views of Gangchen Kyishu from up the road
Royal Enfield repair shop & bikes
Today, the weather was BEAUTIFUL! Just enough sun, just enough clouds, & NO RAIN! The first adventure of the day: taking Dave to Gangchen Kyishu.
Another good morning in McLeod Ganj. Don't know what the weather will do today!

26 February 2015

Dinner tonight was a dozen mutton momos, mango lassi, and, banana toffee (deep friend whole banana fritters with hot syrup). Oh, am I full! Lie down time!
Another spider! This one was on the window frame above our table at the Snow Lion (?) Restaurant in the Hotel Tibet. Its' body is the size of CDN nickel.
More Flora
Dave & Brad at Namgyal. The photo shows an elderly Tibetan gentleman doing prostrations. He was moving extremely slowly. His dedication was immediately obvious. As well, at Namgyal today, there was a free medical clinic.
Brad at the Tibetan Hero's Monument
Mushroom & Monkey!
Todays morning weather
The best cure for chilled bones? A hot shower, followed by a toasted towel, finishing with warm clothes (& toasted socks!)! And a nice hot milky sweet tea! Aaahhhh! Heaven!
Woke up this AM, crawled out of bed & it's so chilly! I left my heater on all night, so I know it's warmer than it might be. But it's so chilly! Just got to get moving!

25 February 2015

Dinner tonight was momos at Pema Thang. Opps! So good I forgot to take a pic BEFORE we ate them all!
Near the end of another day. Today, Kushok was at Namgyal for more rituals & meetings. Lots of hard monk work. We discussed our schedule. So, either on Mar 2 or 3, we are going to spend the day at Norbulingka and area. Tomorrow, I am taking my friend David to see Namgyal Trmple. Either tomorrow or Fri, I will take Dave to see LTWA as well as go shopping at Men-tse-khang. And I want to try to get to Bhagsu Waterfall, if it is dry enough!!
A little spider. I moved him out!
The afternoon storm moving in.
Me & Dave
Today will be a slow day. It was stormy last night, with spectacular lightning and heavy rain. And with the change in weather, I've got a sinus headache! So, today will be slow! BUT... My friend David arrived in McLeod Ganj yesterday. I am hoping to take him to Norbulingka tomorrow. As long as it is not stormy!

24 February 2015

A very curious aspect of Dharamshala are what we would call "utilities": water, power, & gas. Running along side almost every street & road, you will find what looks like EMT. It isn't. They are water pipes! You can see them in some of the landscapes I've photographed. Electricity is supplied through properly strung & haphazardly strung cables that run everywhere. Gas I haven't figured out! The pic is of a random pipe in the staircase to the Nechung Cafe & LTWA.
At the LTWA, I visited the museum. Sadly, photography is not allowed. The museum contains a very good collection of statues, costumes, and thangkas. As well, they have two 3D mandalas: one is made from wood and is very skillfully painted; the other is made entirely from thread. The thread one is hard to explain. It uses techniques similar to those found in Huichol Ojo de Dios. Except it is vastly more complicated. It took one year to complete & was made by a single monk. It is a Green Tara 3D mandala & was blessed by HHDL & several other high lamas. The included photo is of the gentleman in the bookshop from whom I made my purchases: 14 books for $53CDN! I love buying books here!
This is an image of Thonmi Sambhta. He is the creator of the written Tibetan language. One of his descendants lives in Calgary, AB.
Kay. I've now seen a most thought provoking thing: a lovely Tibetan lady in full chuba, strolling, while carrying her motorcycle helmet. I am left wondering: if she is not a passenger, how does she ride? If she is a passenger, does she ride side saddle? Sorry, too shy to ask to take her picture! And could not find a spot to sneak a puc.
More wandering in Gandchen Kyishu
A new feature at Gangchen Kyishu, are the 8 Stupas of Enlightenment. At one of them, there were a couple of Tibetans touching up the paint.
Having finished my Mountain Dew, I went back to LTWA. They were closed for lunch! So I wandered the area.
My first trip to a library occured when I was 6 years old. I lived near Boonie Doon Mall, where the Idylwyle Public Library was/is. I walked in, browsed, then went to the librarian to get my own library card! She was pleased about that but had to send me home with a form to be signed by my mother. My mom was pleased and amused at my independence and effort! Returning to the library with my signed form, I got my card & got my books. I remember one of the books very clearly (except for the title! Lol!). It was a true story about a man's sailing trips around various exotic places. It included recipes for beach cooking. It started my life long fascination with places new and exotic. Now, I am sitting near the MOST exotic and fascinating of places. A library filled with ancient (as well as new) Tibetan works! Actually, not that ancient, considering that the Tibetans developed their written language about 700 years ago!
panorama from my seat in the Nechung Cafe
Real Mountain Dew
I made it to Gangchen Kyishu! Actually, I walked right past it and all the way to Lower Dharamshala! Realizing my mistake, I took a taxi back up! Lower Dharamshala is a lot like Delhi. Crowded, crazy, & over-stimulating! Right now, I am having a little rest in the Nechung Cafe, enjoying a Mountain Dew. It's an old fashion MD; not the new fangled, new flavoured MD. Quite refreshing! To my left, there is the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile; to my right is the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives. After my MD, it's off to the Library!
the veranda of the LTWA
Stupa at the main square in Gangchen Kyishu
Parliament-in-Exile & a very Tibetan doorway
A bit of Gangchen Kyishu
Lower Dharamshala. The 2nd picture shows the only "mall" I have seen since arriving in India. It is at this point that I realized I went wrong somewhere on my walk!
Bizarre Indian humour.
More scenery on the way to Gangchen Kyishu
Scenery on the way to Gangchen Kyishu
As I was going down Jagiwara, I saw a path I thought would be shortcut! Wrong! It is called the Ling Khora. Or in english (real roughly) the Big Circle! Khora is circumambulation; Ling is big. So, it is the "Large Circumambulation Path Around the Home of Kundun". Kundun is how the Tibetans refer to HHDL.
some scenery on Jagiwara Road
the start of Jagiwara Road, which takes you to Gangchen Kyishu, where the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives is located.
The path from Clubhouse Road (where Pema Thang is) to Temple Road & Namgyal Monastery.
Hanging new prayer flags at Pema Thang. Earlier they offered Sangsui (an incense offering) for HHDLs long life. Today, Kushok is at HHDLs residence, for the Long Life Ceremony for HHDL.

23 February 2015

5 o'clock haze. Nothing in the valley is visible.
Well this was unexpected! This morning, while waiting for my devices to charge, I thought the weather was changing. I can now see that it is haze! Probably from burning stuff. Because of the lose of clear sky, I thought I'd go to LTWA rather than Bhagsu Waterfall. So I had lunch before going, but I guess I wolfed it down too fast. I got indigestion! Nap time! Couple hours later, my stomach's still ick. But there's this heavy haze and temperature-wise, it is very nice!
My room. The mattress is a 5 inch foam pad. The bathroom is similar to what you find in Mexico: no separate shower stall. I like this room: lots of light!
For Paul: Since I have been here (Delhi to Dharamshala), I have seen a total of 4 Tata Nanos. They are quite distinct from the other vehicles and hard to miss!
Here is the form that appears before imported movies. The bars appear in the image because their power is at a different frequency.
Observations on Indian TV: Yeah, I watch TV here! Tibetan TV Online, (2) Tibetan propaganda channels from China, various Indian news channels, and Hollywood movies (G.I. Joe, etc). Any show where actors drink alcohol or smoke is preceded with a disclaimer about the ill effects of alcohol & tobacco. Then in any scene where they are smoking or drinking, a label appears on-screen saying "smoking / alcohol kills". At the beginning of every imported movie, an image of a government form appears! I think it's a kind of import permit. I'll try to capture a pic of it. Also, there appears, periodically on screen, a notice stating that if you are offended or concerned about anything in the program, to contact a specific gov't department. The notice includes their contact info. They edit out all scenes of direct violence & any occurrence of the word "sex". Microsoft runs an ad with no spoken voice; it has a Spanish language song! Lord of the Rings 2 is on next. I'll try to catch the form!
Caloo! Calay! Another sunny day! Just being here leads to cool experiences! I went to open my curtains this AM. As I did, a beautiful long tailed bird climbed out of the cluster of cedar branches on the tree outside my window! Sadly, I was only able to get a pic of it on my big camera, so that will come later! As I sat, waiting for the bird to reappear, I saw a monkey jump onto a suspended power line. It climbed along for a couple of steps and then slipped! Luckily he caught himself! But it was funny! He sort clung to the cable for a long moment before being able to right himself! Today, I have decide between adventures: Bhagsu Waterfall or Library of Tibetan Works & Archives.

22 February 2015

The walk to Bhagsu was nice. Had a monkey walk past, within 12 inches! Then I found a monkey at a garbage bin. He posed and ate, while I took pics with my camera. When I moved a foot closer, he didn't like it, so he did a scary twitch in my direction. I backed off, he went on eating!
So sad. Got to Bhagsu. But couldn't keep walking. Too much up. So, I walked back to the Bhagsu market to hire a taxi. That's when I found that I had left my money in the layer that I had taken off! Sigh Back to the hotel!
Finally! Started a walk to Bhagsu Waterfall. Had to return to hotel to remove layers!
Another blue sky day in McLeod Ganj!

21 February 2015

The moon has fallen over!
Something I've learned from Kushok: If you come to Dharamsala, DO NOT GIVE EVEN 1 RUPEE TO THE BEGGARS. Why? Once a month on the full moon, the beggars line the streets to Namgyal. The Tibetans, having prepared themselves with quantities of coins, food, drink, walk to the Temple, giving each beggar an equal share. The beggars police themselves to maintain order & prevent queue jumping. On that single day, the beggars can collect sufficient funds & food to, hopefully, last the month. Any other time, the Tibetans ignore the beggars. Which is good 'cuz the beggars can become trying! And once they learn your a mark they don't let up. Sigh
An observation: Okay, I am no engineer, but I have an interest and a bit of knowledge in concrete. I have noticed that a lot of the concrete pours for new buildings are uneven and incomplete. By incomplete I mean there is exposed rebar. This is bad because when the rebar develops rust, the rust will slowly work its way into the buried rebar. When it is extensive enough, the rebar will no longer provide strength to the concrete leading to failure. I've also noticed that older concrete has a lot of cracking. Thats not so bad, but moss and plants start growing in the cracks, making them bigger! And expanding cracks are bad.
This is the hotel from the restaurant courtyard. Kushok & I are on the top floor. His room is on the farthest left, right by the trees; mine is the farthest right.
Strangeness: Has anyone heard of cranberries being referred to as "bounceberries"? And this is the first time I've heard a bog referred to as an orchard! Please note that the word Real on the label is a trademark and NOT a description. Also the word juice does not appear on the label. I guess India has labeling laws similar to Canada! What a smart corporation to trademark the word Real! Why they could sell almost anything now! Real Water Real Food Real Medicine Real Scary
Actual slate roofing!
Indian construction workers
Completely blue! Yahoo!
We have achieved blue sky!
Just woke up & it's not raining! It's not really sunny, but it's a start!

20 February 2015

Days End Today was rainy and chilly. Tomorrow is supposed to also be rainy. Sunday is predicted to be sunny, then more rain and lower temperatures! Sigh I am very glad it is so beautiful & peaceful here.
And a final selfie for today: Kushok & I
the Colour of Mud
Accidental Interestingness
the Selfie collection 1 (I certainly am odd looking!) 1- in front of a building @ T.I.P.A. 2- TIPA front gate 3- my cell provider 4- fav chai walla 5- I think I'm on Bhagsu Rd. 6- scenic view of Lower Dharamshala 7- in front of my hotel 8-10- in my hotel room
TIPA facilities (TIPA is the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts)
The large brown sphere hanging in the centre of the pic is, I am told, a bee nest. I had thought it was a birds' nest.
HDR landscapes
View taken with a different iphone "camera". Nicer colour and contrast.
Also, while I am having the time of my life, I miss you all! And even though I want this trip to continue forever, I look forward to seeing you all! Tashi Delek!
If you know anyone who wants to follow this adventure, please share my email with them! The more the merrier! It's fun having followers! Obey me! Obey me! 😄
I nearly forgot to mention: Last night while at the Pema Thang Losar Tea Party, there was lightning visible in next valley. The lightning was below my sightline! IE: we were above the lightning!
The rain has just started coming down hard! I am going to hide in my room til it lets up a bit!
Plan of the Day: My little brother is missing my beautiful coutenance (hahahahaha), so he has requested me to get some selfies! So, today I am going to wander McLeod Ganj and look like a self absorbed Westerner!
Today (at 6 AM), Kushok has gone to say long life prayers with the other monks of Namgyal for the Dalai Lama. At the Dalai Lama's home. They will be gathering each day for a week to say the prayers! I would encourage all my Dharma brothers & sisters to rejoice in their efforts. This would also be a good time to recite your own prayers for the long life of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
A new day! And day 2 of projected 3 day rain! When I went to open the window drapes, there was a pair of tan monkeys on the ledge! They did the nasty then took off!

19 February 2015

An old fashion squat toilet
Tonight at Pema Thang Guest House, the guests were treated to chang & dinner. Very yummy chang (Tibetan wine made from rice). And some beautiful Tibetan music performed by Sonam (Kushok's cousin) & Choekyi (Pema Thang mgr.). Choekyi has the most amazing voice: pure & clean tones with deep strength! Pity I cannot share the recording I made!
I have more and better pics on my fancy camera but until I get to a computer, I cannot post them. But I will!
My apologies if my politics offend anyone. The word politics come from Greek. Means relationships. And that is what it is to me: How we relate to each other in our daily societal lives. Everyone gets to question and examine everyones politics because we all affect each other PERIOD Okay, I'm off my soap box! Love you all!!!
About Losar at temple: First saw 2 monks debating, next there was a wordy bit in Tibetan. Then 3 teenage Tibetan boys in nobleman costumes did a sword dance. Last and most importantly, tea & desi! I got 2 servings of desi but no tea :-( I have to say that I like GSL desi's sweeter! And has more of that root and raisins (and butter! Yum! Butter!). Lots of beautiful chubas, male & female! Even one man in Khampa style (hair rope braid)
I am hugging my heater. I love her!
Okay, I have broken down and have gotten a heater! Only because everyone is expecting 3 days of rain! I even bought a wind breaker / rain coat (forgot mine at home!). When the rain slows, I plan on returning the heater! Lol! Also saw a big grey monkey again today! Norgyun tells me it is Snow Monkey! Now if I can find one who will pose for me!
Tibetan chubas for Losar. The gentleman in the 5th pic is wearing a Khampa hair braid.
Wandering goats (mutton on the hoof)
More flora...kind of. On my walk after temple, I saw these thistles. Notice the profusion of wicked spines. Makes ours look almost cuddly! I also saw 4 dandelions. That made me very sad. Dandelions are an aggressive European weed, and I dislike the way they crowd out others. Hmm, I think there may be a metaphor in that!
Had a wonderful talk with this man about GMOs. My position: no one has demonstrated any legitimate health concerns. The real concern is environmental, and also economic. MOST farmers on the planet are seed savers. GMOs make that a crime WITHOUT an equal economic benefit. GMOs REQUIRE CHEMICAL INPUTS. More cost, less profit. We get fat by starving the people who feed us PERIOD!!!
Pictures of the path out of Namgyal!
This morning I went to the Namgyal temple. Although I arrive after it had all started, it was a real treat. Everything was in Tibetan so I don't know what was said but what I saw was cool! Okay, just figured out limit to word posts! Continued...
Completed Losar offering at the front desk of our hotel.

18 February 2015

Fake Tibetans on Chinese TV. And the performers are lip-syncing! Sorry for the bar..the TV in my room is a CRT!
Rain has more or less finished. Cedar wood smoke and freshness wafts through the air! Okay, I just got to say: Come visit Dharamshala! It is too unique and wonderful an experience to miss!
I went for my morning chai at the dhaba by the taxi parking lot. After I ordered, a monk came up and ordered chai for himself and 2 elderly nuns, then he went and sat down on the street benches there. The walla finished making my chai, so I paid him for mine and the monk & nuns. So, I got to chat with a monk who is a teacher at the Dialectics School. Told him about Kushok & GSL, showed them pictures of our temple, Kushok, and my two delights, Paema & Tenzin. He was quite pleased that my kids have Tibetan names, so then I told him about Geshe Kaldan. So many freakin' cool situations here!
Right now I am watching a propaganda program from China. The costumes are Han styled pseudo Tibetan. The performers are very Han looking and they have Chinese opera make-up. The music is Han without one single Tibetan sound. I guess it is the Communists version of a Losar celebration. Sad. The only nice part of the set is a massive chemar bo. And there are no khapse offerings! The language they are speaking sounds like Tibetan but it's not quite right. The enunciation and rhythm are off. Could be bias on my part but I've listened to enough Tibetan to be very familiar with its sound! Thank Buddha, I get the real thing tomorrow!
Today turned into a shopping day! And after spending a whack o' rupees, I had a woman and child come up to beg for groceries! Not rupees, groceries. So, I paid for oil, rice, and milk powder. I really hope it wasn't some scam, but hey, I waste a lot o'money any way!
And here is the fellow who got most of my money today! Got gifts for my sweeties (Susie & Paema), some souvenirs for friends, and a gift for someone else! Then he wanted to sell me a box he said he carved! Very nice but too expensive for right now! So, he says take it, you can send money later from Canada! So I got a box too! Lol! And a dinner invite to his families home in the valley! I guess I made a friend!
And these two ladies also begged of me today! The elderly lady keep up a steady stream of Hindi the whole time, patting my head and stroking my arm! Lol, I am a soft touch.
Flora of Dharamshala part 2
Flora of Dharamshala prt 3
A nice view I found this morning! It is very quiet here today. A lot of shops look like they will be closed today in preparation for Losar. Also caught a glimpse of a big grey monkey. Different than the tan coloured ones. Hopefully I will see him again!
This morning I had a visitor! The second pic is for scale!
Another new day in the Ganj! Last day before Losar and I am less than 20 mins. away from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Mind blowing! So there was no rain last night! It is still chilly this AM but not as much without the rain!

17 February 2015

The end of another delightful day in Dharmsala! I saw lightning flashes in the distance, so I expect rain again. To everyone following, I have added some photos from our days in Majnu Ka Tila: A visit to a fabric shop and a tailor A visit to a Losar khaptse shop A some other bits and pieces! Please enjoy and thank you for following! It adds to the delight!
Cool pic: Losar offering at the front desk of our hotel. 8 "pungo amchok" donkey's ears, not sure but probably also "nya sha" fish, can't recall the Tibetan but there will be a turtle on top, and several "wish fulfilling jewels"! For the 2016 Losar, Gaden Samten Ling will have pungo amchok!
Winter flora of Dharamsala part 1
Today I bought books! And to all GSL'rs, note the cover of Tibetan Religious Dances. That's Kushoks friend and classmate Migmar, who now lives in Calgary! Lots of books available in Dharamsala. Interestingly, those published in India are very reasonably priced. Those from Western publishers are at the same price points as North America! So, I looked for Indian editions of NA publishers! Much better prices!
At the monastery, the child monks were busy with the dialectics of play!
Kushok turning the prayer wheels
More friends of Kushok
In the Namgyal compound there is a beautiful monument to the monks (it may also be about the laypeople) who have died from self-immolation in protest of the continued suffering of the Tibetan pepole. It was created by a Chinese artist and sponsored by another Chinese person.
This morning we went for a walk to Namgyal Monastery. Met many friends of Kushok!
The Wild Life of Dharamsala. Of note: the picture full of trash has a pretty kitty, the photo of 3 dogs (the 2 dogs are trying to chase the 3rd from their street). Lots of birds here! Mostly crows (Mahakala). The crows are different from ours, in that they have smaller bodies and bigger wings. I have seen a few bright green parakeets!
The wild life of Dharamsala part 1
Woke up to the sound of rain this morning. And clouds everywhere! And now a short time later, it has stopped. So very fresh and clean!
Morning in Dharamsala. And Kushok catching up on email.

16 February 2015

Its almost 6:30pm. There is a gentle rain, the scent of wood fire and incense drifts in the window. Too freakin' delightful!
The solution to loss of appetite: tsampa, sweet tea, and fruit! The big bag is my tsampa.
Yahoo! I thought my stomach might be turning on me but instead I definitely have a bit of altitude sickness! Kay nangi maray! ("It is no problem!")
Some random images
There are a couple of friendly dogs here at Pema Thang. The gentleman at the desk says the fluffy one is a Dokhyi (Tibetan Mastiff). Couldn't get him to pose though!
More valley pics!
One of the most interesting parts of traveling is seeing what different and interesting plants I can find! Here are a few in McLeod Ganj. I like the tenacity of plants on walls and cliffs!
Out for a bit of a walk with Kushok and Sonam in McLeod Ganj. The walk made it obvious to me that I've a bit of acclimatizing to do! So far, I love this place...and I've barely seen anything! It was pleasant seeing Kushok run into old friends!
View from Kushoks room. Maybe the rain is visible.
Just realized that it is raining!
Out my window
The view from my bed
This is actually my 4th day in India; it is my 1st day in Dharamsala! We are at 1738 meters. Its a bit overcast where I am and a bit foggy across the valley. The trip up by car was a gut wrencher. Endless switchbacks and bumpiness. Yes, I was extremely car sick but I managed to keep it in! Got to the hotel (Pema Thang), got to my room and laid down. Couple hours later felt calmer, went for a bit of air then bed. I thinks it's going to take a day or two to acclimatize.

15 February 2015

Some interesting pics from the drive to Dharamsala

14 February 2015

Discussing with the tailor, the chubas to be made. The sewing machines they use are treadle machines. Hand cut with scary-big scissors. A tiny shop. Oh yeah! They had treadle powered serger! Pretty cool! I also got measured for my my chuba! I really wished our dear friend Mavis was with us!
Choosing fabric for womens chubas with Kushok, Sonam, Sonam's wife & daughter. We also picked out fabric for my new chuba! While we looked at fabric, they brought us chai from the chai walla! I love the chai wallas!
Losar offerings: 1- pungo amchok (donkey's ears 2- nya sha (fish) 3- (wish fulfilling jewels) 4- (turtles) 5- (endless knots) 6- more nya sha (fish) I photographed these in a shop near Majnu Ka Tila. They sold nothing but these!

12 February 2015

This mother and child were begging at Majnu Ka Tila, Delhi. The baby is sooo cute!
My good friend David Brown. He met Kushok & I at the airport in Delhi when we arrived.
A few Indian buses for my sweetie Susie!

22 December 2014

My daughters cat Squeak (she (daughter & cat) are in Edmonton...i just like the pic!)