To Tansen

Beginning is here.

After passing the border, I chose Paradise Hotel immediately to the right , there I changed Indian rupees to Nepali. The hotel is certainly not paradise, but I was pleased with simple room. From the balcony I watched movement of people and vehicles across the border. Quite interesting timepass. India is very close, just 50 meters. But already unreachable for me, Idea 3G stopped working, and I don’t have Indian visa.

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India in 50 m is close yet unreachable
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Clumsiness

In morning I was leaving hotel for breakfast. Near entry I was passing group of three men: two Nepali, a guide, and the other owner of my hotel, Mr. Gurung, and one Asian man with Japanese features. The tourist was about to trek to Poon Hill (famous for Himalaya views), so he was waiting ACAP permit office opens at 10:30.

We talked a little bit, the Japanese was interested where I live in Russia, as it’s too big, I explained. Like many Japanese his English was not good, and Mr. Gurung translated what I said.

I was surprised. Probably before he worked as a guide for Japanese trekkers, and learned language. I gave him a compliment
- Oh, you speak Japanese, wow!
But his joy was short-lived as Japanese intruded:
- He speaks badly, strong accent.

We all politely laughed, but Mr. Gurung felt a bit uncomfortable. He wanted to please his guest translating me, and look what he got.

Maybe making others feel clumsy, uneasy has something to do with gender, as I noticed men are more willing to make others feel uncomfortable than women.

Or maybe I’m wrong.

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children do not feel clumsy at all

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From Dharamsala to Nepal via Delhi

From Dharamsala to Nepal

It’s my 5th time in Nepal in just 4 years. Indian visa was ending so I bought tickets on bus from Dharamsala to Delhi, on train to Gorakhpur in advance and then planned to hire jeep to Nepali border.

Любимая Дарамсала, вид из моего окна
My favourite Dharamsala, view from my window
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Wanderer’s life is back

Turning away from grim realities of Tibet I’d like to turn to local life – it’s back with a vengeance!

Today was one of the warmest days of the season in Dharamsala, surely higher than +20C.

Just a month ago the main square of McLeod was like this with few Punjabis exhilarated by snow, white wonder.

A cafe in my place opened finally today. I ordered pizza for evening, Mohan (owner) makes pizza exactly like in Pizza Hut, with fat panbase and thick fillings.

I also bought tickets, for bus to Delhi then train to Gorakhpur – soon I will be on the road again.

I will report everything unusual I’ll see.

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Hunger strike in McLeod

Today I went down to McLeod Ganj, the place where Dalai Lama lives.

Unfortunately I didn’t take camera with me, I could make a picture of big tent in Tibetan colors set up on the corner of main square next to the oldest building in town, Nowrojee House.

Tibetans filled the tent and were sitting on hunger strike to protest China’s policies in Tibet, where spate of tragic self-immolations by young monks continues. Last sad news came in the morning.

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This picture of 1st from recent immolations. Tapey, monk from Kirti monastery, set himself on fire on February 27, 2009, then he was shot dead by Chinese armed police.

After Tapey more than 20 young Tibetans ended their life with such gruesome method, most of them in 2011.

Tibetan exiles in India watch plight of their brethren in Tibetan areas of China with desperation and come out protesting Chinese policy.

Soon India hosts BRICS summit and president Hu Jintao is expected to visit New Delhi.

Tibetan protests make Indian police & authorities extremely nervous, they keep vigil and try to thwart Tibetan demonstrations not to embarrass their dear guest Mr Hu.

You can read further about recent self-immolations and implications for Tibetans and Chinese policies in the region in Man on Fire, article by Bhuchung Tsering

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Life grew in water

Recently in my home in Dharamsala there was no electricity for many days because heavy snowfall damaged electrical wires. Trying to kill time I reread the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, or rather their Russian translation in two volumes of “All about India.”

Indian religion is incredibly vital & naturalistic, almost all deities can be found among natural phenomena. Many gods related to water, god of rain, god of thunder, goddesses of rivers and lakes. They are deeply revered and extolled as the most sacred creations.

Waters are divine, “they take away all filth, I’m out of them cleaned and undefiled.” Besides the utilitarian properties of water are highly valued: its purity, healing, effects on vegetation, animal health, and therefore on welfare of people.

In the documentary “House – a date with the planet” there is an episode illustrating importance of water for Indians, especially nowadays due to depletion of underground water sources.

Due to climate change and population growth Indian civilization is becoming increasingly fragile, dependent on the strength of annual monsoon rains as Russia depends on oil prices.

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Cambodian ballet dancers

Cambodian ballet dancers

I was in Angkor Wat several times and once I saw a group of Cambodian ballet dancers posing for tourists in the last courtyard near the main temple. Tower was closed that day but view of exotic dancers was more than rewarding for missing chance to climb upstairs.

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