Location: rishikesh, India
Namaste from Rishikesh!
I've been in town for three days so far, and I find it charming. In many ways it feels like this is my first encounter with "real India". Until now, traveling in the north of the country, I was surrounded by (mostly) Nepalese and Tibetans, and also Kashmirs. Now I am in the land of the Mighty Ganga River, Land of Babas and Sadhus, snake charmers and lepers. But there is a little catching up to do:
About three weeks ago I left Leh, in a Jeep with five other people- Or and Shani, who I had been traveling with from Bhagsu, and three more guys: Mitzafon, Yonash and Sila. We crammed into the "Little Blue Jeep that (usually) Could", and left for the Valley of Spitti and Kinour.
For two weeks we drove and slept along the way, sometimes in nice places, sometimes in road-side eating places called "dabbas" and we even spent two nights in a tent with pashmina-goat shepard in the middle of nowhere. It was a beautiful, interesting journey.
AND THERE ARE PICTURES! -soon I will add more.
Then we arrived in Manali. It was good for me to have some quiet time alone and walk around between the beautiful big Deodar trees and around the area that was green and gorgeous. Got back into shape with some "full-power" yoga and was ready to get on the move again.
The way here was not easy, but it's really good to be in one of the most holiest cities in India. Packed with atmosphere!
Location: Leh, Ladakh, India
Wow, friends! it seems like such a long time since I wrote from Bhagsu more than three weeks ago. I've been all kinds of places, all had really slow Internet, therefore no pictures yet (but I promise to make it up!) I'm well into my second month of traveling and I love it. I'll try and fill in and write just a little about what I've been up to:
I got on a jeep in Bhagsu with 5 other great people: Dotan, Ziv, Shani, Or and Michal and we made the long way to Srinagar in Kashmir. There we spent 4 or 5 days lazying around on a house boat in Nagin lake. It's so cool! there are lots of these almost 100 year old boats, all carved out of wood, Victorian style. It was a nice rest after the intensive time in Bhagsu and the hard ride. I kept up with Yoga as much as I could and got to read a lot. We took a couple of walks around town, and I was happy to have Dotan (who is pretty impressive as a guardian at 1.90 meters high) with me, as it's not the most welcoming place to be walking around. It was interesting to see pictures of a few Arab leaders who are not the best of our friends hanging up in shops. I found it quite interesting to see women dressed like they do in Iran, fully covered, and remembered again how lucky I am.
We then took a local bus up to Aru, a beautiful little village that looks more like Switzerland than what you would imagine India looks like. So beautiful, green, snowy peeks and lots of horses. We took a one day trek on horseback, which was great despite the rain... There are beautiful nomadic people, a kind of Gypsies that look a lot like the Afghan people you see in pictures. It was great.
The next few days were a bit frustrating, since we left Aru and were stuck against our will in Srinagar again, as we waited for 2 days for a bus to Leh, only to find out the road was "blocked" because of "bad weather". So we stayed for one more night, feeling desperate to leave no matter what on the next day. We ended up taking a jeep instead of a bus, getting permits for the journey from the head of the tourist office and head of the police, having army posts get notice of our arrival ahead of time so no one would keep us from getting to our destination. What actually caused all this was that it was a big pilgrimage holiday and there were too many people on the tight and high road. We made it all the way with no problems, except being caught in the middle of an angry demonstration of pilgrims who wanted to get through as well. After shaking our jeep and pounding on our windows they let us pass. All's well that ends well.
Now, the road from Srinagar to Leh, passing one of the highest passes in the world, is one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen in my life! I can't describe it, so you will all have to wait a little longer to see pictures. If it hadn't taken two days in a jeep, and I hadn't been sooo tired, I would have never wanted it to end.
So now I'm in beautiful Leh. Surrounded by desert, this quite oasis is all the things I love in one. Great food, great people, amazing views. Me and 3 other friends took a ride up to the highest motorable pass in the world- 18380 feet/ 5+ km- high, and road all the way down on bicycles!!! it was AWESOME!! Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!
The next day was the Dalhi Lamas' birthday and we joined all the Tibetans in the big grass park, were they all put up tents and and dressed in their beautiful traditional dresses and were very hospitable to me and my friends.
I spent the past 5 days in Nubra Valley, north of Leh. An unbelievable, but definitely real combination of sand dune deserts with wild two-humped camels, running springs with green grass beside them and huge snow covered mountains- all in one frame of your eye. Wow (Again- pictures will have to come in where words lack the ability to express it well enough).
Now I'm back in Leh again, and I will have to leave soon for my next stop- Manali- soon, but till then, I'll have a great time in this wonderful place.
Location: Bhagsu, Dharamsala, India
Well... today, after two weeks, I'm leaving Bahgsu.
It was wonderful. I did lots of Yoga (now I can reach my knees with my chin, and do the Scorpion pose, too!) I saw beautiful nature, mountains, waterfalls and forest. I spent time with great people in what feels like a big school. Everyone here is learning something- Reiki, Yoga, meditation, knitting, jewelry making, dancing, flute
playing, cooking. If Joni Mitchell is right, and we really
we are golden
and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden"...
then Bhagsu might just be on the way there.
AND THERE ARE PICTURES!
One of the many highlights was the Friday noon Free Dance at the OneNest. About 70 people, dressed in all colors, hair in dreadlocks, or not, long or short, up or down. Some with colorful Tika on their forehead, all bear foot. Some smiling to themselves, many smiling to others. All high- you'd be surprised- hardly none on drugs, but on DANCE. To the sounds of Irish, Disco, Trance and every kind of music you can move to. No ego, no judgment, all together, but each in their own way, in their own space. We danced for a few hours of pure joy and music. The after- effects of this miraculous thing, except for sore knees, is that everyone seems to be smiling to each other, even now, 4 days later. Or maybe it's just me. Ether way, it's sweet! This should happen all over the world.
I'm off tonight, for a 15 hour long jeep ride. Lucky for me- I'll be crammed into that jeep with my two good friends- Dotan and Ziv, and a few other people. See you in Kashmir!
Location: Upper Bhagsu, Dharamsalla, India
Yesterday I took a walk to McLoud Ganj with the girl I share a room with- Adi. The walk is a really nice one, and as you get closer to the town you can see many colorful Tibetian flags hanging on the trees and houses. Beautiful sight. The city of McLoud is actually quite noisy, as it stirs with Tibetian monks and nuns, Indian merchants, tourists and pilgrims to the home away from home of His Holiness the Dali Lama. He had just left town a few days ago, so we didn't get a chance to see him, but I got to see him in Israel, so I wasn't too disappointed. We had great sushi at the Japanese restaurant and I also found out that you can volunteer teaching conversational English to Tibetian political refugees, so I might go back to do that in a couple of days. I've been in this incredible little town- Bhagso for 4 days, and there is just so much to do here, I want to stay forever. I started a Reiki course today so now I have Reiki in the morning with Usha and Yoga in the afternoon with Bhooma.Both teachers are really wonderful.I'm loving every minute!!! There is also an extra bonus: Dotan, whom I've known since he used to pick on me in first grade, and Ziv- who I've also known for ages- two dear friends, are both here, so it just makes it extra special. Wow, I'm so lucky!! And there are pictures, too!!
Location: Dharamsala, India
so, it only took about 16 hours to get here, but it was worth it! Didn't get much sleep in the bumpy sleeper bus, stopping quite alot, breaking down (slept right through that one, though!) but when we finally arrived in the small city of McLoed Ganj, it was a whole different India than what I saw in the two days I spent in Delhi. Beautiful mountains, snow-covered hills, pine trees. Me and another girl got a room up in Bahgso, a bit farther up from McLoued. It's also quite remarkable! pretty cold here, though, which doesn't help with the cold I already cultivated in Bangkok airport. There was even a rain storm that soon started to hale- great big balls of ice, it looked like they were being tossed from one of those machines that serve tennis balls! I hope tomorrow has good weather, and I'll take a walk down to McLoued. There are so many thing things to do here! Yoga, cooking, meditation. There is a big chance I'll stay here for a while. Pictures soon.
LIFE IS EXTRAORDINARY!
Location: Delhi, India
Oh My God!! I'm in India!!!
Leaving Cambodia wasn't easy, and the hardest thing was saying goodbye to Omry at the airport the night befor I left, when he flew back to Israel. The first thought I had when I got on the plane was "wow, so many Indians...". not one backpacker in sight. it's cool though. from the moment we landed I couldn't stop smieling. I'm so exited.
The pre-paid taxi drivers almost punched eachother over the ride, but I was just standing there with a smile. I'm in India! After a little scam-attempt- which I got out of pretty easily, I got off on a dark street in Main Bazzar. 11pm. I Looked around and couldn't see any backpackers... only Indians. And yah, cows. But I think I was prepared for the worst, so ut all seemed so good and easy. I was just walking around, happy as a clam. A little walk and a turn down an alley and I got to Ajay guest house. I was soooo tired. After I cought up with mom in Boston and Omty in Israel, I was off to a good night sleep in my little room, where a little cute mouse welcomed me to Delhi.
I woke up and took a short walk down the Indian version of Lakeside. it's beautiful!
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
OH, IF YOU WANT TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE LAST 6 MONTHS- GO TO
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
so finally- I have my Indian Visa, my flight ticket: return from PP to Delhi. AND JUST IN TIME! because I leave in two days :-)
Yesterday was the last KLC activity- concluding a year of activity with the local kids, some street-living, and/or street-working in Beung Kak- lakeside, our home. It also wraps up a year in my life. When I leave it will be exactly a year since I came here as a backpacker, and my life took an unexpected twist. How lucky I am for that little twist...
It's been an amazing year- discovering Cambodia- a wonderful country with beautiful people. Meeting Omry, by luck, chance or destiny. Starting KLC, learning so much about this place and my self. Making new friends from all over the world. In October visiting Israel and catching up on my family and its' newest members- Inbar and Nitai. In November and over Christmas- spending time with Gal and Roi, and mostly in malls, learning great lessons in life. I got visits from Gal and Liron, From Dani, Gitit and Nitai. And there was a whole Cambodia chapter 2.
So now I'm getting ready to go.. new adventures await in my new destination- INDIA!