Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Penny! One has to ask what you were doing on the table? Hope you are getting around OK.
Yes- it's fun packing. Ulrike and I both leave on Saturday so we've been comparing notes and sharing the scales. Fun trying to fit everything in.
I spent the day shopping yesterday - no beads Penny. Found the Pote Bazaar but it's all seed beads. Bought myself a necklace and can't believe how I let myself get ripped off. Sometimes one wonders - but the salesman was good - too good. Then I priced a very nice bracelet - $160US. 'You have expensive taste' he tells me - this is a really good bracelet. Explained I only wanted something for about $20US for a gift - and after haggling etc he was going to give it to me for $20US. Can you believe it. I walked out the shop and a few minutes later realised I'd been had. Ha. When I left yesterday morning said to myself 'You are going to be conned by professionals - be careful!
Bought a few clothes and CD's and DVD's. Nothing much really - but had a great day. Books are soooo cheap it's hard not to get carried away. Did by Ken Follett's latest - is it End of the Earth - something like that. It's huge but can carry that with me.
Soooo - nothing very exciting. Walking thru the street or getting tossed around in a taxi - they are the sights you need to experience to understand. Watching the porters carry a fridge, wardrobe or bed on their back! The beggars. The cute kids. The Tibetan women with their prayer wheels and national dress. The little shops. The sidewalk markets. The temples.
It's amazing.
Back to packing. See you soon. Hope all well with you folk! Cheers. Joy

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Namaste! Cool and cloudy here today - hopefully some rain brewing. It's so dry and the air could do with a good clear.
Sorting and packing ready to catch the plane on Saturday. Don't seem to have bought anything brilliant but will need to send a box home methinks.
Things seem to be tootling along well at home - hope everyone is feeling fit, with lots of news to tell when we catch up next week. It will be strange waking up at home after the time here - I still pinch myself, amazed that I'm really here.
Went to another part of town and visited some Fair Trade shops that deal fairly with women (!!!) - that was great, and then wandered the historical area. There in the middle of it all was a set of steps down to water fountain affairs - and a huge line up of people with plastic kegs etc lined up to get water. It must take all day as the flow was small and the line long. Unbelievable - can you imagine having to cart all your water for the day! No long showers - no showers! How fortunate we are.
One day went up to Kopan Monastory - up in the hills above Kathmandu. Such a beautiful peaceful place - wonderful gardens, shrines etc. We really enjoyed passing the time strolling around - and then we sat for quite some time in the gompa - temple. It is the most amazing place - the decoration! Just overwhelming with carving and painting. Another special day.
Today I'm heading off for my last day of shopping -have been trying desparately to get some clothes but afraid if you're over 25 the range is limited. Of course everything is here but it's not that easy to find!!!
Poor Kathmandu - so dirty, noisy and smelly - but the most beautiful, friendly people! It is such a pleasant atmosphere and such a joy to walk the streets smiling and chatting.
Back to sorting, shopping, meditating, enjoying! Thinking of you all. Certainly appreciate the emails.
Cheers big ears! Joy

Friday, June 19, 2009

Namaste! Good to see you've called in Jo! One week to go so have to make the most of the time left! Had a couple of days laying lo with the 'bug' so feeling a lot better. Fortunately I didn't get it really bad but some have been really ill. Seems to just work it's way thru and everyone has to have a turn! Did flake it on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night ~so fortunately I must have went down gently as no lumps or bumps! Woke up looking at the ceiling wondering where on earth was I? Ha. No damage so lived to tell the story and feeling better! Part of the experience.
My window is up from the water filtration system for the monastory ~noticed it's been leaking into the next door paddock and reported it thismorning to the monk that seems to be helping run things here. He assured me it was OK ~so had a magic morning watching the locals come to fill up their water containers, have a wash and play in the mud. It really makes you stop and think when you think in the middle of a big city people have to cart their own water!
We are so dashed fortunate! According to Buddhist philosophy it's all due to our Kalma ~but in many cases I find that very hard to comprehend.
Kathmandu is really hanging out for rain ~ I guess all of Nepal is. A filmmaker is here returned from a trip into Tibet and she said it is the same there ~ very dry. Apart from everything else the rain clears the pollution so my view from the room isn't quite the same anymore ~quite hazy. Can't help but wonder what is going to happen to this place ~so many people, so much corruption, so many cars, motor bikes, pollution, rubbish.
See in the paper thismorning there was a large torchlight demonstration in the centre last night ~ the government is having a lot of trouble sorting itself out. One of the German guys here asked me at breakfast what I thought about the Army Chef ~ hmmmm. Said I'd have to meditate on that one as wasn't sure what he meant. Couldn't get the joke! The conversation went on about him being re-instated etc ~ and I ended up asking if it was something to do with his cooking. Anything possible here! Turns out he was talking about the Army Chief!!! We've had a lot of laughs about accents. Really making some interesting friends ~ such interesting stories many of them have to tell.
Hope everyone is going well! Better get ready for lunch - terrific food. Momos, Tibetan soups, vegetable curries etc. We're so lucky!!!! Love Joy

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back again

Hello Penny - and Judith. See you've checked in. I've asked Christine for your email Penny - didn't bring it.
Well - I published that last post as a safety measure as I didn't want to lose it again!
At the cremation grounds there is a place for people to come and pass away. I'm not sure how this one works but in Varinasi one has eight days to die and if you don't pass in that time you have to move out! Can you imagine - so people refuse drink and food to hurry the process. Compare that to the fact that our biggest percentage of spending in health care is in the last three months of life in Australia!
There is also another area here for older people who are old and soon to pass away - one of the Spanish men staying here went and visited. He has the kindest heart and was relating the story of how happy they were to have a visitor and how they laughed and cried together. It was very touching - but don't imagine an old folks area like home - a large room without about 50 people, hot dark and humid. How blessed we are.
Ulrike is just looking on her laptop and seeing pictures from the last few moments on the Air France plane - it is nice to imagine that it just blew up suddenly but not so - hard to imagine the terror of their last few moments.
Everyone here has amazing life stories to tell - they speak several languages - seemed to have had so many lives they've done so much! We are like a big family here now and it is a great atmosphere.
Great to chat! Hope you are all well and happy - and love an email here and there with some news from home.
Namaste! Love Joy


There is nothing nicer than walking down the street being greeted by 'Namaste' and hands together in the prayer position. Everyone is so friendly - this is a very comfortable environment. Of course this doesn't count the frustration of trying to use a computer with power failures etc. I'm in a room at the centre with three computers - I'd nearly finished a long post for the blog and just before I sent it the computer screen went black. It wasn't a power failure as it didn't happen to the others in the room - oh well! Stay calm - but I'm a bit lazy on doing it all again. I kept saving but can't find the save!
Everything seems to be tootling along fine back home - Russ has been doing orders and has sent out all the magazines etc that have been arriving. Hear that the Barbara Willis class in Adelaide was marvellous - can't wait to see the results!
We've had a few days off and classes start again tomorrow. Ulrike and I had a big day shopping etc today - but rumours are circulating of another strike so maybe we'll be having a day at the centre. Last strike we walked into Thamel - a good two hours! The shops were shut but one let us in the side door and we had a magic time browsing around - and then were the only two in the restaurant. We did get to see a lot more with no traffic - no cars tooting! We won't be walking today tho as it is much hotter now.
Yesterday we went for a trip out of town - it was good to see the countryside and a different view of life from Kathmandu. Every sight is to be savoured - it is all so different and amazing. The will to survive and make a few dollars drives life - and everwhere along the footpaths is someone with something to sell - or the gear to mend shoes etc. Lines of little stores all trying to sell something. So much poverty - and frustrating when so much help has been given to the country and so much has been wasted.
Yesterday's paper had an article about the use of child labour - with stories of six year olds working in the quarries. Imagine how it feels to see a woman loaded up with rocks or wet concrete in a basket on her back. Such a struggle for so many. How fortunate are we.
The previous day I walked to a little town called something like Pashmanitath - don't have my book - but it has some nice temples and a cremation area. I didn't find the cremations confronting at all - it was interesting to watch the ceremony and I felt the old lady about to physically leave the planet didn't mind teaching me a lesson. It certainly reminds one how short life is and how we have to make the most of it!
I'm going to post this now just in case! Then I'll do a little more.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Morning Kathmandu!!!!

Into the routine of up at 4.30 a.m. and watch the world wake up! Truly amazing view from my balcony - looking right across the valley to the mountains. There are more dogs than any one would like to imagine - and their communication thru the night can get a wee bit daunting - try to imagine they are a chorus singing together and it is a bit more bearable!!! Watch the women hang their washing on the brick walls around the little paddocks at about 5 a.m. Little kids then head thru for their karate lesson - and later to school. In one area they do a lot fibrework - like spinning - so that is also interesting! It all happens out on the ground. In the park the other day we saw people with their sewing machines, working away quite merrily as if it was quite normal to sew out in the open in the dirt!!! There is a chubby monk who comes onto his rooftop and feeds the birds - it is all quite surreal with the drums and chanting from the monastery from 4.30 a.m. Rains almost everyday! What more can anyone want - but am also aware of the poverty here and the beggars and the rubbish everywhere! People are so nice! It is hard to get out of the habit of thinking someone is going to rip me off - but they are so friendly and pleasant, and many seem quite happy in their poor surroundings. Seeing three women with picks in a big ditch was confronting! Working very, very hard in their beautiful coloured shalwar shameez.

Went and picked up my new clothes yesterday - their are some fantastic outfits at the centre as people are from far and wide.

Our teachers at the centre are wonderful - whether you are Buddhist or not it is very thought provoking and sometimes quite confronting. The 'big guy' - His Eminence, is a bit of a rebel and really makes you think about your ideas and why you are here. It's marvellous!

So - feeling refreshed and invigorated! A lot of meditation which is good - so verythankful!

Hope all is well with you folk at home. Heard about the Air France plane crashing and can't help thinking of their last moments of terror! Awful.

Wonder how the Barbara Willis class is going in Adelaide - everyone will have a marvellous time!

Take care and talk soon! Love Joy

Monday, June 1, 2009

We start the retreat tomorrow so the internet room will be closed - I may get down to town but may not get away much! Ten days and it will be pretty full on.
Walked MILES today - there was a transport strike so no buses, no taxis - everything was SHUT. Met a woman from Venezuela - she's terrific - so we walked into Thamel - no one could believe we walked there and back - took about two hours each way so they were impressed. It was great as we had the road to ourselves - no taxis and cars tooting us and producing fumes. The pollution is very bad! Ulrike wanted to go to a bookshop there - so they let us in! We were the only ones in a HUGE shop that sells everything - it was so interesting - movies, crafts, textiles - and BOOKS and MORE BOOKS. Then they did lunch for us - the only ones in the restaurant. What a day! By the time we walked back we were ready for a shower and a rest.
Good to get some exercise. After our shower it was induction -so many from all parts of the world! Even someone from Kazikstan! - we were in a HUGE big shrine room - plenty of people.
Very poor country tho - that part of it is very sad. The Tibetans are gorgeous - lots of traditional clothing, smiles and hard work. It's nice to go into a shop and not have the 'I'm going to get ripped off' feeling like in India! Ha.
Yesterday went into Bouda and shopped and looked around! Ordered some clothes to be made and picked up tomorrow. Couldn't speak English with the woman in the shop but we had a lot of laughs together!
After 8 - ooow - going to be a late night! Ha. Better run.
Hope all well! Lots of wonderful fabrics and craft items.