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Kella's Dharma

Well after 2 years back at home, the desire is there - to get back out there and experience a new culture... This time to one of the most magical places on earth...the Land of Snows...a country that captures my imagination, a land of beauty, mystery and spirituality....

Diary Entries

Friday, 23 May 2008

Location: China

The last few days we have been out in the countryside looking at tombs/mausoleum/pyramids.....Stephen has been studing these for the last 14 years so he was in his element. Myself, already seeing the pyramids in Eygpt, they did not impress me that much visually. However, structually/labour it took to make them was astonishing. The best tomb we saw was yesterday, that of Emperor Jing Di. (around 140BC) We were able to go underground and check out the on going archeological digs. We walked along side and ontop of the buriel pits.....definately the highlight of the last few days.
This is our last day here before we head over to Hong Kong....So I will be back in the bay on Thurs.....Now shopping beckons :)

Monday, 19 May 2008

Location: Xian, China

We experienced a very moving day, at 1428pm we were leaving our hostel (same time of the quake last week) when everyone stopped for 3 minutes silence. The entire city came to a stand still. Police stopped the traffic, utter silence. Well it was until the cars paid their own tribute and for the entire 3 mins sat on their horns....So for the next 3 days they have stopped the torch relay, stopped tv programs (all 50 odd channels are just showing the same thing- the quake news), all shows/performances cancelled- all in honour of those who lost their lives and have been left homeless.
We have since found out that over 1000 people died and countless still missing where we were....we were extremely lucky!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Location: Xian, China

So days in Xian are completely different from Chengdu. Much hotter/humid here- actually got sunburnt the other day! Nights we have been having severe thunderstorms and of course that means power cuts.....we have spend time at the big and small goose padoda's and visiting an endangered wildlife reserve.. (after seeing the panda's in Chengdu, was actually looking forward to this park but it was so depressing- small concrete enclosures for pandas, monkeys, birds etc.) At least we were able to see a Takin (cross between a cow and a sheep). The best part of the day, was the countryside, huge mountains looming eeriely out of the smog.
Today I had another brillant opportunity to lose Stephen. We took a bus out to the Terricotta Warriors. He got off the bus early to visit a tomb (just a huge mould- nothing to look at) while I kept going to the warriors.....we have all seen the photos etc, but they were still impressive. We eventually met up again in the arvo, which meant that I have had hours at the warriors so I know everything there is to know about them now...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Location: Xian, China

After a sleepless night (several aftershocks, some quite large- one huge one woke us up about 0430am), we decided to get up extra early to get to the airport. Many people actually were sleeping in the street or in the park across the street. Not too much traffic this morning, people are still very fearfull there will be another earthquake... I wasn't scared (yesterday, I had goose bumps for about an hour), only abit worried about being inside. The buildings over here aren't really structurally sound, looks like they would topple over in a breath of wind....Our flight departed at 10am, however there were no phone lines to check if the airport had re-opened as it was closed yesterday. We headed out anyway, into utter chaos at the airport, standing room only, thousands of people trying to get out of the city. We lined up with everyone and being China of course, no one believes in lines, so there was alot of pushing and shoving- so when in Rome......finally checked in 5 mins before our flight departed....no need to rush though, after boarding we were told we didnt have clearance as they were leaving the airspace free for the army and emergency planes etc.....After a very very long 5 hours of waiting within the plane, (thank god for my ipod) we were airbourne. 90mins later we were in Xian......staying within the old city wallls, very impressive, saw our first blue sky today! very exciting.....

Monday, 12 May 2008

Location: Earthquake- Chengdu, China

ok, so for the moment I won't mention the last days activities, including more panda's and the Grand Buddha...We just had an earthquake.....we were in a taxi coming home thru the "downtown" area, stopped at a red light. All of a sudden hundreds of people were running onto the street yelling and screaming, pointing to the sky. We looked up at the closest high rise, thinking that a plane had crashed into it....the building was shaking uncontrollable and people were struggling to remain upright. Then our taxi started shaking and we could hear things crashing behind us. Our driver was pretty cool and calm at first, until it must have hit him. He tried to drive us fast away from the high rises but we could hardly move as the streets were over run with people....utter chaos. Back at our hostel, we weren't allowed inside, finally we reached our room (3rd floor) - no damage, the only damage we could see are broken tiles on the stairs and in the hall ways....apartently the centre was quite close to us, measuring 7.5....(the feeling people were saying was like they were riding a wave) they keep rushing us outside every 20 mins or so, poor things are so freaked out.....ohhh no, gotta go outside again......

Friday, 09 May 2008

Location: China

First things first- Stephen was found. At 10pm after many beers, a dvd and helping some staff with their english assignment, I hear all of the staff yelling "Uncle Stephen, u home, u not lost"- he strolls in without realising that I was worried sick that something had happened to him, being the 1st time I have left him exploring alone.....he's not saying where he went, I think he went to one of the sleasy girly bars, - like the many sanchi boy and daniel took me to last time.
We went to the Sichuan Opera last night. Very Very impressive. Not at all like the opera we all know. There was 4 short skits, langauge wasnt a problem as we could understand all their humour. The best of course was left to last, people are dressed in traditional dress with many different face masks with which they change in the space of seconds.....magic.
Trying to get out to the largest budda today, but its raining......

Tuesday, 06 May 2008

Location: Chengdu, China

Its 6pm and Stephen has been missing for hours....no joke, we went out this morning to the people's park and he wanted to go on this useless quest to find bike shops (he had no intention of buying). After walking for ages, I tell him that I'm going downtown shopping and will meet him back at the hostel. That was at lunch time......
At the people's park we went on this crazy underground fun walk thingo (have no idea what to call it)!U go underground in this like tunnel (like the london tube) and then its like something from a horror movie, but really really lame. It's dark and things (that have seen better days) jump out from no where and scare the crap out of you. luckly i had a small torch, and even though i knew what was comin, I screamed the house down everytime. It didnt help thinking that there could be gremlins down there.....
I have come down with the cold Stephen had...tryin hard to fight it...stephen got some chinese med's but as they were spacing him out, (maybe he shouldnt mix them with beer) decided to give those a miss!!!
Yesterday was a highlight of our trip so far.....we finally got to see the PANDAS....we went out early morning as they are most active- feeding time..actually was more there then i thought....massive, cuddly, beautiful creatures...the enclosures were large, but you could see that several of them were institutionalised. the adults were quite lazy (what do yu expect on a diet of bamboo) but the babies were so active/playful....could go out there every day!

Saturday, 03 May 2008

Location: Chengdu, China

Stephen is still sick and its raining, so yet again, another relaxing day, have plenty of time on our hands now we are not going to Tibet...... yesterday we were talked into having an ear cleaning ritual and a massage....well I had to be talked into it.....especially the ear cleaning, they just have skewer like instruments with different attachments on the heads.....very scary!!!!! kept thinking what would happen if they pushed too far and the things were not clean...oh well too late now..... the massage was interesting, at the end (i wasnt expecting it) the man threw me over his back and into the air, cracking my back in the process....something I wouldnt try again anytime soon....
Stephen has abit of an issue everytime we order food. They take our order, then come running back tryin to explain they don't have what he ordered.....this happens 4-5 times each meal.....lol
we have been shopping quite a bit, not sure how I am going to pack everything back into my bag......at checkin in Brisbane my bag was 14 kg and Stephen's was 6kg.....had to explain that i needed all 3 pairs of shoes and many changes of clothes....
coming up.....pandas, chinese opera, largest budda!!!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Location: China

Our days in Chengdu have been quite lazy.....Stephen is not coping too well with the smog/pollution. Apart from not seeing too far into the distance, it is not affecting me. We have visited a few temples, markets and drunk a lot (and I mean alot) of tea in the traditional tea houses that line the temples.
In the Wenshu Temple, I had abit of a spiritual moment.....I decided to lite several incense and have a few prayers towards the buddist temple...felt very surreal, until I was interrupted by a group who couldnt stop staring and wanting me to pose in their photos....I didnt really have this problem the last time I was in China, but everywhere I go, its like I'm alittle celeb...they don't really pay attention to Stephen, i think he blends in more with his skin colour.....after the temple, we waited like an hour for a taxi (peak time) so in the end we decided to walk home....5 kms later lol (and we all laughed when Stephen said he was bringing his gps.- wouldnt have made it home without it). Loads of beer followed that walk...Stephen actually gets more bearable after a few beers....
We have done the hot pot dinner thingo. For those who don't know, its when you have a gas stove on your table and order rare meats and vegies and you have to cook it yourself....loads of fun last time I was here with the boys, not so this time!!!! too long a story for this one....

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Location: Hong Kong- Chengdu, China

After 1 night staying at a Ritzy Hotel on mainland Hong Kong, it was again time again to get back up in the sky. Back to the airport for a flight to Chengdu. It feels like we have been living in the skies, eating only plane food for months, the last 2 days, i have had a constant headache....
The entire journey so far has seen Stephen gushing in awe of everything he sees- from high rises, traffic, planes and of course his "honey's" - the women! Its kind of embassing until I realise that I probably was once like that years ago (except for the women) maybe I have become to immune to the new sights and have become to expect these things. In any case, I have resolved to fix this and to see everything through new eyes......
The smog hits Stephen as soon as we arrive into Chengdu. Population is like 15 million, alot larger than i thought, but this town is really growing on me.....At our hostel we learn that Tibet is still closed! Major disappointment, this was my only real reason for the trip, but there is always next time!! We are actually staying in the old tibetian quarter, so we are surrounded by tibetains, monks, amazing smells and sounds........our first dinner here, we tried Yak Meat.....mmmm not bad!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Well the day is finally here! Months of speculating whether it would happen or not is past us! and well honestly, we have no idea what will happen when we arrive. I guess that is what makes travelling so exciting....Lets hope we get thru customs, thanks to Renae every airport in the world is on the look out for us....Do we look like terriostist's Renae????
Most of my family have bets running on how long it takes me to lose my cool with the Super Uncle! Lets just say, that they are on a sure thing :)
The flight felt like one of the longest I have ever been on....What with Stephen giving me a running commentry every 5 mins on our speed/location etc and watching him trying to adjust the time on his watch for like an hr...........anyway, all I can say is thank god for beer and the high volume on my head phones.....


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Recent Messages

From Judy M
thanks for the commentary and photos, good to see someone is in control of Uncle S! Amazing (scary) coincidence to be there at the time of the earthquake! Have a great trip Cheers
Response: lol...funny that he is uncle S to everyone!!
Message from S: See you on the barge!
From Jan n Peter
Been 5 weeks since I have been here. Keep up the news which I have just seen and keep an eye(and ear) on SJ with an iron rod. Glad you r having such an exciting trip.Love youand cheers
Response: yeah rell suggested a toddler lead...seriously thinkin of buying one as well as blinkers, he's too busy checking out the women to do anything!
From Mac & rell
Hope all are safe & well. About time you returned as you seem to be creating havoc over there- cyclones in Burma etc. We're on the road on 21st.' looking for more sapphires! We're enjoying the great photos you posted. Better tie a toddlers lead to SJ !!
See you soon- Cheers
Response: well, we escaped the earthquake...just...must be a sign, always around when things go bad, london bombings, getting flown out of bolivia via the army, etc,etc....
From Bobbi
Drank some prune juice this morning and I'm a zero..for the past hour..uh-oh....gotta run....xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
Response: lol....dont worry i still use that old measuring system....back in oz at the end of the month...miss u heaps, u and melissa def made travelin the middle east! maybe 90-100% I will see u again...lol. lova ya babe
From jane & mick
thank you kel...enjoying your travel log and photos..have a great trip..lots of love
Response: Hi u 2, great to hear from you, think of you often. with love..x
From Bron
Hey Hun,
Love the Panda Photos, So Cute, Hope you are well, and have a Great time on your Adventures, Chat soon
Bron
Response: hey u! how is good old london town! when u headin back to sa? say hi to the man for me :)
From Juto
Hey Kelsta!! miss you heaps and so jealous of your trip!! by the looks of it your trip is going good... i've only looked at the picutres.... man you can drink... lol. If i get enough time today at i'll read thriough your little story... man it's nearly a novel!! lol. I'm starting to freak out and I can stop thinking of my trip to England and Europe. It's all setting in now.... :l Anyways have a great time... I know you will.... talk later.
Response: hey pumpkin, miss ya heaps too, ur the reason i had to get my ears cleaned!!!!! full of your endless chatter! lol
From Toni
Hey Kel,

Sounds like you are having a great time... I am missing you like crazy, especially at work... but it feels like i have not spent that much time there since you have left but i am sure that i have.

Enjoy the rest of your trip and how did you go handbag shopping in Hong Kong??? LOL!!!

Have fun take care and travel safe...
Love you lots Toni
Response: hun, only had 1 night in HK, we are havin a wk shopping at the end in hk, dont worry i wont forget ur request!!!
From Peter Lougheed
Will try to keep up with your journey, keen to read the Uncle Stephen entries. Not much happening here.Perfect weather. We are about to start major renovations here at Pomona.
See ya.
Response: i thought of you guys today- travellin with stephen reminds me of Mr Bean, but with volume....lol
From tania
Hey Kell, not sure how i ended up with your journal accounts, think gaz sent it to me. What a brilliant adventure, guess taking YOUR uncle stephen with could be considered an adventure in itself. You guys keep havin an 'interesting' time. love the photoes of the temples think i would be doing the 'gushing in awe' thing like stephen though. take care and be safe. lv. Tania ps you better say hello to stephen for me
Response: he's YOUR uncle too, i hear your takin him on the next one, i think 5 weeks with him will be enough for me to last a lifetime...better not say anymore, he is reading this
From Mac & Rell
Pleased U R having a nice time. Really enjoyed reading your notes & photos. Keep up the good work & drinking!! Anita & Jon own new bakery called "Twisted Loaf"- All well here. Love to you both.
Response: It must be time u were back on the road again? hope to see you at home soon. xxx
From Me Aka Lil Sis
Omg it looks soooo awesome!! I am really jealous :) Luv the page... U shld b a novelist!! hehe. U turn it into a great lil story. I finished my book the other day n have to wait for the new one to arrive. So ur lil journal has to fill the gap!! lol. Get writing :P That sux about Tibet :( Always nxt time like you said... N U can take me this time!! :P Why dont you put on a "I luv Monks" shirt n sneak ova the border or wateva. lol. That smog is crazy! I have a theory about why its not affecting you... Cause your used to hanging out with me on a Fri night!! hehe. It was excellent training for this situation :) That hotpot thing looked fun... Ok well I betta go b4 I write a novel :P
So dont eat too many cats!! hehe. Take Care xo
Response: Lil sis, what can i say!!! miss ya heaps, ash must be leavin soon:( the monks seem to love me, must be the blonde hair, i seem to pull them in by the hundreds..lol....send me an email, u must have some goss for me....im cravin for some
From Karen Armstrong
Hey Kel....so that's why you have been so quiet on the email front, you are travelling! Sounds like you are having a ball but not sure how long you are there for?????
By the way I am not at DGP on your mail list anymore.... So lots more photos pleas and speak soon.
Take care honey.
Karen
xx
Response: hey hey kaz, travellin def reminds me of my london time, without the red wine.lol, here for another few wks, home on the 29th