Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Mango Sticky Rice (Thailand 2010, part 3)

May 11th, 2010 | No Comments

Almost 6 weeks after arriving in Thailand, I finally achieved a beer in a hammock. We were not allowed to drink during the month-long yoga course. The day the course ended, after we said all of our goodbyes, I made my way back to Haad Rin. My German and Swedish friends that I had made during the massage course were still in town, and I was fortunate to catch them as they were leaving the very next day. Lisa offered me her hammock while she and Kristin said goodbye to the island. So with my book, a Heineken, and depleted adrenal glands, I boarded my canvas chariot. My final sip of beer went down with the last yawn of the sun, and my eyelids fell in kind for a well-earned nap.

Yoga In Thailand (Thailand 2010, part 2)

February 6th, 2010 | No Comments

The monkeys were out this morning. Arching my eyes to match my back-bend during the morning yoga class, I searched the trees for movement. Wild monkeys are like streakers at a football game, they appear out of nowhere and you think you see more than you actually see.

Coconut and mango shakes (Thailand 2010, part 1)

January 11th, 2010 | No Comments

Ah, now that is just what I needed – a coconut and mango shake. Some days it is coconut and pineapple, and sometimes I might throw in a little papaya, but tonight this combination was speaking to me. My other satisfaction for the day is that after a week in Thailand I finally got into the water. Yesterday I finished my Thai Massage program, and tomorrow I move up the island to the site of my one month yoga course. Today was my opportunity to jump on a boat, do some snorkeling, do some swimming, do some fresh pineapple-eating, and circle the island of Koh Phangan, my home for 6 weeks in the Gulf of Thailand. Sometimes life feels like you are dating a contortionist – everything is possible. I can’t see how one can feel otherwise while enjoying a coconut and mango shake.

Airport lounges

December 23rd, 2009 | No Comments

I submit that for the vast majority of North Americans, the thrill is found not in the journey, but solely in the destination. If we accept this premise, then the airport is the place that no one wants to be.

India Anonymous: Calcutta 1 year later

December 6th, 2009 | No Comments

Um, hello,

It has been 1 year since my last Limca. My family has been very supportive of my transition from India. Some days are easier than others though.

India – delayed reactions

September 2nd, 2009 | No Comments

February 22, 2009

My last India travel diary entry was sent with time remaining in Calcutta. Collecting the final stories for my own purposes, I felt the need to round it out with some post-game reactions.

Calcutta: New Year and new perspectives‏

September 2nd, 2009 | No Comments

January 1, 2009

Something so simple as a gecko on a window screen can be hypnotizing. In Vancouver we laugh at tourists taking photos of raccoons in Stanley Park. How ridiculous must we seem in this setting cooing over camels? I regretted not taking a photo in Kathmandu a couple years ago of a bull standing on a bridge. That no longer seems like a unique experience, as cows are more common on the streets of India than Starbucks cups are back home. The transition West across Northern India was tremendous. We exchanged dried rice fields and Neem trees for vast seas of Sarson (green & yellow mustard plants), and increased our sightings of monkeys and parrots, and finally, camels and wild peacocks. While still in the ashram I ate the bitter leaves of the Neem tree to ward off mosquitoes, and the branches are used in everything from toothpaste to very effective skin care products. The people changed as well. The average size of the people in Bihar and Jarkhand is much smaller (which I assume is simply due to less access to nutritious food), and moving west the skin is darker and the facial features are finer. Consistent across the whole north though are the water-resistant, fire-retardant, Kevlar pink napkins.

Northern India – orphanage to the fog‏

September 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

December 31, 2008

The journey across Northern India has been a wonderfully entertaining and exhausting symbiosis. This just means that the recaps are fewer and father between. Expect 2 lengthy ones in short order. We left our protagonists in Bodhgaya, affected by both the Bodhi Tree and a local orphanage. After hitting ‘send’ on the last email, a Canadian contingent went back to the orphanage to try and make a difference. The boys’ rooms had mattresses and blankets, however the girls’ rooms consisted of wooden bed frames, and over 20 girls per small room. We have been steadily increasing our knowledge of the serious discrepancy between the sexes in India, which includes the understanding of how girls eat last in a household, and are therefore the most likely to be malnourished. Our attempt to balance the scales in our minuscule way was to buy 10 mattresses just for the girls, along with 2kg of carrots, 2 kg of potatoes, 1 kg of eggplant, 2 kg of apples, and 40 bananas. Pam and Tarik deserve the credit for leading the charge here, collecting donations from our entire group, and delivering the goods in person.

This one time, at ashram camp…

September 2nd, 2009 | No Comments

December 23, 2008

Namaste from Bodhgaya, India!

3 weeks without Internet access means that this is going to be one long travel diary. Let’s start with where I am right now. This morning I meditated beneath The Bodhi Tree. This in and of itself was worth the trip to India. This tree is a direct descendant of the tree that the Buddha himself attained enlightenment under. Much like Machu Picchu in Peru, there is a palpable energy about this place. 2600 years of Buddhist pilgrims opening their hearts in this one spot will do that I suppose. Even after our harrowing 6-hour car ride yesterday, my first breaths in this town filled me with an energy that had me bouncing off the walls. I found that I was very emotional this morning as we entered the grounds at dawn, but sitting under the tree centered me completely. This extra grounding came in handy as we then ran into a woman that we had met at the ashram who took us to the orphanage that she was volunteering at. Nothing entertains the kids more than seeing themselves in photos, so we took a lot of them. A few of us are planning to return to the orphanage tonight with food and what applicable clothing we can find in the market as a gift. It has been an overwhelming day, and this was all before noon. Bodhgaya is like Tibet, but at an altitude where you can actually breathe. I love being surrounded by all of the Tibetans that are here. They truly are beautiful people.

In-flight Mafia

August 26th, 2009 | No Comments

August 12, 2009

Air Canada Jazz flight from Toronto to Hartford

I have never been intimidated by the flight crew before. Oh sure, he was nice enough. And I am sure that he is making a tremendous contribution to society since his release from prison. But the lone steward on this 37 seat plane can probably kill me in eight ways. Surely at least one involves asphyxiation by little bag of nuts.  The pre-flight safety speech was like Joe Pesci’s “You think I’m Funny?” scene in Goodfellas. I was afraid to look away. Oh THAT’S how the seat belts work. Yes, I understand. Short of a fire, damn right I will remain in my seat with my buckle fastened until we have come to a complete stop at the gate.