Thursday, August 30, 2007


I do believe that this is Groenland...REAL ICEBERGS!!

The stage of "Poeta a Nueva York" (too bad I wasn't allowed to take photos during the action...)

This is the view from the Jose Guerrero gallery in Granada...I liked the floors, stairs and benches almost as much as the art!

The Alhambra - some incredible detail.

Yours truly in her summer dress!

Well, this is it. I'm signing off.
I've come back into Vancouver, welcomed by mountains, green, and sun. (and Stina's wonderful self at the airport!)

My last few days in Spain were heavenly. Andrew and I went to a show "Poeta a Nueva York" in the Alhambra outdoor theatre in Granada (quite a bit like malkin bowl, actually). It was a dance production based on Frederico Garcia Lorca's impressions of New York in the early 1930s. It definitely ranks in my top three awesome times in Spain...and actually, I found myself thinking about a course in French contemporary theatre that I took...learned about the "purpose" of theatre. And as I realised that my heart was fully engaged in the spectacle, I understood what all that talk about catharsis and importance of live art was all about.
ANYWAYS, Granada speaks my language. I will go back!

The flights were uneventful, I met interesting people, and slept fitfully in the Gatwick airport overnight (that makes all three London airports that I've crashed!)

But let me tell you how beautiful it is to be here...and how unexpected it is that I'm so overjoyed. I'm grateful! Nothing better than coming back happily and willingly!

Thank you to those of you who kept me company through this latest journey - communicating with you over the internet is something that I wasn't able to relinquish. (though giving up the cell phone was GREAT!) And I just feel so glad to have an outlet for these vignettes!

Until next time :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tom Waits and Malegueta

Laying on the beach in Malaga like a lizard, roasting, flipping, roasting...eating melty chocolate cookies...and listening to Tom Waits...mmmmm YES!

It´s been a beautiful thing, coming to Spain, and meeting up with Andrew Dong.

I met my ghost last night. In this plaza...where I have been 5 years ago with Emma...
And 5 years ago, as I filled in the last pages of my journal at the time, I wrote that I´d come back here to live.
And I still feel the same way! This place has a magnetism about it. I mean, maybe not the city...maybe it´s the people, or the language...both of which are beautiful.
(really - Spanish people are beautiful)

I´m not finding it difficult to adjust to this western lifestyle again. Perhaps it´s because I wasn´t gone for long enough.

Back home in 5 has started to creep into my consciousness...but diligently working on pushing it out...not yet!!

I miss India though. And I feel like I´ll have to go back...I´m so glad, though, to know it a little...and have it live in my head and heart as it will...

See you soon!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wasting time in Delhi

Hanging out in a lovely airconditioned internet place in Paharganj...darn it's hot hot hot and humid here! I'm caked in a layer of grime that I haven't been able to shake yet...waiting for my train to Varanasi...
Sooooo here're some photos!

The Tibetan cook at Rizong gompa, he fed us tea and Tsampa...a thick, filling raw dough.

This little girl watched me get ready for the day...studied the teeth brushing...the packing up...the eating...she asked me for a pen, I didn't have an extra, so I gave her a sleeping mask from the plane. She seemed pleased. (this was a family house that I stayed in during the "baby trek")

To protect from the sun. And what a lovely way to do it!

Yep, still me. On a walk in Diskit...through lovely fields. Post Dalai Lama teachings face.

Can you spot the three foreigners?? This is in Diskit, on the way to the gompa, after the Dalai Lama's teachings. Damian (one half of the lovely french couple that I tripped around with) is wearing the guesthouse father's traditional outfit. This was a BIG hit with the locals!!

The top of Namgyal Tsemo Gompa in Leh.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Road to Manali

I have a 'feeling picture' to share with you from my ride from Leh to Manali. (I wrote this in the jeep - very bumpy. Very illegible writing)

The mountains surrounding me on all sides are coated in short green grass, speckled with hardy wildflowers and slabs of rock. I imagine this is what Ireland looks like, less the jagged peaks and occasional distant glacier.
It's nearing sunset, the sky is a persistent blue, and white clouds play hide and seek around the mountain tops.
Looking up the side of the mountain I spot horses grazing. I look over the other shoulder and I'm confronted by an ever deepening valley.

A smile sits on my face, punctuated by wonder, gratitude and joy. I feel hopeful.

I'm in love with this planet. I'm in love with this life.

I wish I could bottle this up and send it to you!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Last days in Leh

"A man walks down the street
it's a street in a strange world.
Maybe it's the third world
maybe it's his first time around.
Doesn't speak the language, and he holds no currency.
He is a foreign man.
He is surrounded by sound
Cattle in the marketplace, scatterings and orphanages.
He looks around
He sees angels in the architecture - spinning in infinity.
He says 'hey! Hallelujah!'"

100 'awesome points' go to anyone who knows who sings this.
Answers must be submitted by August 30th, and you will be sent your complimentary 'awesome gift' within the following two weeks.

But really, actually - this song has left an imprint in my imagination for many years now. And I think I'm the closest I've ever been to finding this place. To being there.
Less the angels in the architecture. Unless Buddhas count.

I've just returned to Leh from walking. I started feeling concerned that I don't have much time left in India (I have...9 days - but travel between here and Varanasi will take me 2.5 days there...and one day back)...and wrapping things up here...Anyways, I was feeling like I have no time.
And then life just sort of goes - and I can worry all I like, but things work out perfectly. The way they should.

I caught the bus today from Rizong to Leh (I ended up walking with a Spanish man - 54 yrs old...full of energy. We walked from Likkir, but we started quite late, and so ended up staying in a family's home about an hour away from our destination - Yangthang. I shared a room with the aunt)...anyways, we made it the next morning, and then made the walk to Rizong monastery - BEAUTIFUL walk.
I caught the bus back and rode on the roof - this was so very local. I was joined shortly by the same family that I rode up to Likkir with! We shared apricots, peas, cookies...and we all had to squish back into the bus before we entered Leh was perfect.

Dad gets married today! (though I don't miss being home, I think about home quite a bit. What constitutes my ordinary life, I suppose. The foundation for this current fling!)

Anyways, I'm having a heck of a time trying to book this train ticket to Varanasi. Jeepers! Gotta go sort this out.

Best to you.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Enfin, des photos!

A man spinning the prayer wheels. You must do this in a clockwise direction. You also must walk around holy monuments in a clockwise direction - even if they're in the middle of the street. Akin to our aversion to walking under ladders.

View of the sunset from the roof of the guesthouse. Yes, I was the crazy woman on the roof.

Most of the guesthouse fam. Mother, Nilsa and I. Lovely!

(I've been speaking french lots these days. So now in my head is a meli-melo of language and expression)

This is purely for photo's sake.
To Nubra valley tomorrow morning at 5:30! Hurrah!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mandala in Lamayuru

Oh hello dear folk.

I've just returned from a brief trip to Lamayuru where mostly I just hung out in the monastery.
I walked in after the very intense busride and saw a group of monks preparing a mandala. I've never seen this, though I've heard - it's an incredibly colourful and careful process.
I sat and watched them for nearly two hours, listening to the rattle and shake of the knives on the instrument that drops the pigment...and the hum and murmur from the monks in prayer at my back. It was a truly beautiful moment.
I was offered tea, and snacks, and friendship (it's true! one monk, Gyatso, asked me "will you be my friend?") Well OKAY!
So I was given a tour of the two other temples followed by milk tea and apricots.
I went back this morning for the 7am puja and had breakfast with them.

The busride back to Leh rattled my sense of calm...what with the NARROW escapes from CERTAIN DEATH on the mountainside by ONCOMING TRAFFIC. Jeepers. But it turns out that that's just the way it's done. So suck it up, Princess.

Anyways, I had a lot of time to think on that there bus, and realised something. I am, in fact, a walking contradiction. (isn't that a cheesy punk rock song?)

I love talking to people. Sharing stories. Smiling, and being a 'regular'.
I love being anonymous. Being quiet.

I love having a home-base. Somewhere to return to. A family to be accountable to.
I love arriving one day and leaving the next. No questions asked.

I love sharing an adventure. Making a shared story.
I love the solitude and autonomy of adventuring alone.

Now, I suppose that none of these things have to be exclusive of the other. They just highlight this need for an equilibrium. To know which route is appropriate for the moment. I am surprised, though, to feel anti-social at all. I know it will pass - probably has something to do with the smelly, shaky busride.

(that being said - I love your emails, please to be keeping them coming!)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Willie Nelson and Momos

I was sitting in a Tibetan cafe yesterday for lunch, and I think that, in honor of my american-seeming presence, the waiter threw on some real homestyle music. Just a little Willie Nelson. Really, who can go wrong?

Let me tell you that it brought a smile to this face! REALLY incongruous...sitting down eating Momos (these potsticker kinda things) and watching Ladakhis and tourists walk by to the sweet strumming of old timer country. Love-ly.

I'm still in Leh - loving it. Actually being a total brat and holidaying it up! I walk a lot, and sit and watch a lot. I was going to be heading to the Nubra valley tomorrow, but instead have been offered a ride (free!) with the father of the guest house - cause he's going up as well (I think to see the Dalai Lama also?).
So I'll take the ride!

Shopping for gifts here is a total nightmare and the only kink in my otherwise peaceful time. I think I'm being consistently overcharged, even when I talk them down 2000 rupees! Exhausting. Oh well, c'est la vie!

I'm realising how busy my "regular" life is: and how nice it is to simply wander, and talk, and write aimlessly. Maybe I'll keep this calm. That would be nice!
(maybe someone can remind me of this in late September?)