Monday, November 21, 2011

Nepal and Tibet

I loved Nepal. I'd go back in a heartbeat and I really would like to do the Annapurna Circuit. Nepal is a beautiful place and I only got to see a very very small part of it. The first day we were there I hit a brick wall in terms of my energy. I just could NOT go on another visit...I needed to sleep. So I went to sleep as soon as we got to the hotel at about noon and basically slept through to the next day. I felt better after that...but man, I needed it.

This is probably my favourite picture of the trip:
We visited Swayambhunath, otherwise known as the Monkey Temple. It was, of course, a beautiful site...but what I found most enticing was the monkeys. I call the above picture "Monkey in full flight". Hee hee. He was sitting on that roof behind him. I zoomed in for a closeup and just as I clicked, boom he jumped! :) Awesome! So then I fed him half a bananas. That same day we visited Bodnath with it's huge stupa. It's an amazing site too. Of all the sites we visited, I think it was the one with the most "presence". It just has...a feeling to it. A feeling of joy and peace. I can't explain it. Here I am at it:
We visited a temple in the square are I filmed a Buddhist monk prayer: Have I said yet in this post that it was amazing??? :)

Tibet is a simply beautiful place. Look at this:'s just so sad! We went to Potala Palace and 3 or 4 monasteries. All of them were fabulous, incredible, AMAZING! But... empty. I've heard all about the Free Tibet movement, of course. But I never understood it. Now having been there...yea. Tibet left me with an overwhelming sadness. Our guide, native Tibetan, was not allowed to talk to us about certain things. It is illegal for them to possess their own flag or to talk about their spiritual leader. It's just wrong.

I highly recommend India and Nepal as places to visit, but I cannot recommend Tibet. It's beautiful, but what's happening there is just wrong.

Picture gallery up

I've started to get my pictures up. There will be a LOT of them!!! :) When I'm home I'll have a much easier time of it, but for now, this is what's here. I haven't had time to name all of them, but I will... :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

End of the tour

I haven't been able to update as much as I'd like. It's been a fabulous trip though. I've started a set on my Flickr account (lookon the right-hand column of this blog and you'll see a link), but there are only 6 pictures in there. I'm hoping to have time later today at the airport to upload more, but if not i'll have to wait til I get home. I highly recommend India and Nepal to anyone and everyone. Tibet....well, the landscape is amazingly beautiful and the Tibetan people are fabulous...but it's just such a sad place.

I'll be back later....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Some pictures - not in order.

I'm still SOOOOO surprised at how long it takes to upload the below is the most you're going to get today. :) WE're back in Nepal after 3 days in TIbet. Have to say, not at all sad to leave Tibet. It's just a really really sad place. Nelap is great. We're here for a couple days, so hopefully I can come back and update with words. :)
The Himilayas from our plane into Lhasa.

Our tent at the desert camp at Pushkar Camel Fair Camel Fair Sunset on our camel ride

Icky catfish at a sacred site. They really grossed me out. Chandra at the Rat Temple. That rat approaching my toes nibbled on my toenail! :)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunset camel ride

Last night we had a camel ride at sunset. It was fabulous. right now we're in Jaisalmer, in the Great Indian Thar Desert and we went out to Sam in the dunes. It was amazing. I'll upload photos as soon as i get a good connection. We saw a fabulous Jain temple in the fort here yesterday. Such intricate designs and amazing craftsmanship. You know, I realize I'm using the word "amazing" a lot....but really, nothing else fits! :)

The hotel here, the Rangmahal, as the best pool yet. Before the camel ride excursion we had some time to rest and relax. I spent it all by or in the pool. Beautiful. Today we're off to Jodhpur, the "Blue City". Then on to Pushkar and the PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR!!!!!! :) Look it up, it's..... AMAZING!!!!! :) Hee hee

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rat Temple and a palace

Wow, talk about contrasts! :) Yesterday we did two fabulous things. We saw the Rat Temple and stayed overnight in a palace! I mean, how much better does it get? :) I've been excited about the Rat Temple ever since i found out about it. The rats are sacred and live there. They've lived there for several centuries, and do not carry disease. Pretty amazing. In fact, the nearby town has not suffered from any plagues, even when other towns in the wider area have. You can't wear shoes inside, but you can wear socks. I thought....since I'm here, do as the locals. So I went barefoot. If a rat touches you, you're considered blessed. Well...several did sniff me, and one nibbled on a toenail. I'll admit, I like rodents, but that did freak me out just a little. The one that nibbled on me is the one approaching my toes. it was really amazing. Some in our our group had a really hard time with it, but everyone went in.

But after, to make up for that, we spent the night in an honest to god palace! In the 90's the Indian government offered palace owners who were having a hard time keeping up with maintenance, a loan to renovate/update and turn it into a hotel. Then only 40% of that loan needed to be paid back over 20 years. So, we stayed in the Laxmi Niwas Palace Hotel in Jaipur. It was AMAZING! here's mom and dad at dinner in one of the two courtyards.

Not only that, but the hotel owners' son was getting married this weekend. So last night was the first of three days of celebration. they had 640 guests last night, tonight there are 5,000!!!! It was amazing to see. Not only did we get to see a high-class Indian wedding, but it was at a real palace. Awesome.

Today we drove to Jaisalmer. We're really in the desert now! As a treat, they took us out to the ruins of an ancient Brahman village that was abandoned in the 1800's to watch the sunset with cocktails. I tell you, each time I think it can't get does! Rats, palaces and desert sunsets with cocktails. I'm a happy camper!

Tomorrow we're off to tour around Jaisalmer in the morning, then to the village of Sam in the dunes of the desert and a fancy dinner in the desert with traditional Rajesthani folk dancing! We're here in Jaisalmer two nights, so hopefully I can update again. It's taken 45 minutes to upload 2 pictures!!. Then it's off to Jodhpur and finally Pushkar for the Camel Fair. I'm so excited for that. I've been gone less than a week...sure feels like longer.

Hmm, evidently the rat temple pics will NOT load. Sorry, you'll have to make do with just the one above pic. Ill try again soon...

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Oooh, so much to say but not too much time. It's 9:25 pm and I need to still pack up and get to bed in time to sleep and get up at 6 am! :) Ok, here's a quick overview (our days have been so full that I haven't had the time or energy to use the computer).

Flights went really well (thank you Xanax!!!!!), got in at 11:30 pm, napped in a lounge until they came to pick us up at 4:30 am, drove to Agra, checked into our hotel, slept a couple hours and then hit the Taj Mahal for sunset. No picture can truly do that building justice! It is absolutely amazing. No other word for it. By the time we got home, all I could write in my journal was "too tired. Update tomorrow". Yea...hasn't happened yet! Sleeping like a rock! :)

Next day we did Agra Fort and can't remember the exact name, but it's also called the "Ghost City". Then we drove to Jaipur, got in super late and crashed. Now let me tell you something about Indian driving and roads. THEY'RE INSANE!!!! I have some videos that I'll eventually post, it's taking your life into your hands. Other people in our group who have been to Cairo, Bejing. Lane dividers are mearly suggestions and if you drive the wrong way on the highway, well, they'll get out of your way! :) I spend my time looking out the SIDE window, not the front!

So today we got up early and did the Amber Fort, The Jaipur City Palace and the Observatory. Again, everything is simply amazing. This is an amaing country and I'm having a TOTAL BLAST! Ok, that's all I can give you. Gotta go to bed so I can get up and do it all over again. I'll just add that my fellow travellers in the group are just great. Most are my parents age, but I have not laughed as much in the last year as I have in the last two days. Twice today I was reduced to tears by laugher and I thought my mom was going to pee her pants once. It's been great!!! :)

Here are a couple pictures to tide you over. Of course, since this is my camera, I don't have many of me. Till next time... (if any of the East Bend staff are reading this...print off the picture of my and show it to the story time kids, if you want) Me at the Taj

Part of our group

Mom & David on the elephant ride up to the Amber Fort