Monday, March 26, 2012

An amazing eight hour trip back to Kathmandu and here we are again at the Padma Hotel - Mingmar and Rangi. Because we had no contacts we had to go thru a travel agent for the trek and paid way too much. If anyone needs a guide Mingmar is fantastic. He has trekked all areas of Nepal to high altitude - very experienced - and he seems to know everyone which is such a bonus. If you are thinking of Nepal and trekking please check things out first - Mingmar Sherpa His prices are sooo much more reasonable. Email is Web site

This woman is a single Mum - she made easy to understand signals regarding a worthless ex-husband. Now she weaves all day making the belts the women wear around their waist, the woven aprons etc etc. She is such a strong woman and works so hard - couldn't help but admire her.
It's a bit hard to see but if you enlarge and look carefully inside the door there is a man in the 'dental surgery' having his tooth pulled!!!!! Syrabresi.

Our homestay at Ling Ling.
Get to the top of the hill and Mingmar would say we're now going down to the valley! Isn't it beautiful tho.
Just thought I'd pop this one in in case anyone was looking for some re-decorating ideas. Pink is very stylish this year I thought.

Watched the women weaving - it is just incredible that it all comes together as it looks very complicated in action. The colorful woven wool apron being woven here is usually worn only by married women.

One afternoon Mingmar and Rangi got out their mouth organs. It caused quite a stir and we were dancing and generally feeling very fortunate.
Beauty everywhere. Russ was interested to see the terraces of wheat.
Rangi and Russ decided to help a woman cleaning her corn - I think she is quite amused.
Class room at the school near Thambuchet. Just seems incredible in 2012 doesn't it, with all the opportunities our children have available.
We loved Chilime and because Mingmar is from the area we were able to attend a wedding!
Just magic to be there sharing life in the village.

The Bride and Groom

What a darling pair. So young. The bride came down that day from another village on the mountain. They were given many gifts - several pressure cookers! Lots of rice wine flowed. The wine cup has a little bit of yak butter touched on the side for a blessing - you can see the butter on the side of the larger containers. What a privilege to be able to be part of the celebration.

A Tibetan Wedding

Dancing at the wedding. Joy is in there somewhere!
So many chortens along the way with messages from the past. They are a religious focal point in the landscape, and are believed to have a positive effect on the people who live nearby or pass through the area. I wonder if there are any relics contained within?
Lunch stop with our guide Mingmar. We managed to produce some tins of fish from Australia would you believe.
Just pick a point on the other side, focus on that - and don't look down!!!!
Rangi's belt fell apart so we had to improvise!
Yes - always need to throw in a picture of a loo.
Are we at the top yet Mingmar????
Sooo many swinging bridges - I'm quite chicken when heights are involved. Russ and Rangi thought they were great fun.
We'd be panting away climbing, climbing - and some amazing woman carrying such a load would go past.
Family at the homestay at Briddim. Russ, Rangi and I sort of center and our porter on the right. Beautiful family. Note the little souvenir shop in the background!
In the shrine room. It was Tibetan New Year - Losar - so many baked goodies to share. It's worth enlarging this picture as the room is so interesting!
It was just magic sitting in the kitchen around the cooking stove - it was very cold in the evenings. I was amazed to see so many pressure cookers but of course they make cooking so much easier due to the altitude.
Played a very interesting game called 'Para Shou' (I will win). We had no idea of the rules - and needless to say didn't win!!!!
Walked through many little villages - incredible.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Outdoor bathroom

Fresh air as you clean your teeth. It doesn't look terribly steep but drop your false teeth outside the gate and it would be a long walk down to recover them!
Tried to put photos up in the correct order but the system over ruled me again. This is our very special prayer flags after they were hung outside the meditation hut and retreat cave.

The porter and guide hanging our flags

This is the view from the meditation hut.

We trekked the Tamang Heritage Trail and stayed in homes in villages. Every day of the seven days was full of fabulous views, beautiful people, magnificent villages and lots of huffing and puffing up the mountain paths. It was hard work - but certainly worth it.

Street view at one of the villages on our drive up to the mountains.
Every where you look there is a snow capped mountain.
Native rhododendrons growing wild up in the mountains. No - we didn't pick these!

A gentle reminder that we all have to leave this life. Such a pity isn't it.
Pashupatinath - Nepal's most important Hindu temple area. A sacred area - and a polluted Bagmati river.
We were there at an important time and there were so many sadhus visiting - mostly from India.

View on the street - don't you love the wiring!

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Did I say I'd be back soon??? Obviously I lied. We've been and arrived home again - it was all so amazing and eventful I didn't have time to get blogging. Bit sad in many ways as it's a great trip diary for us to look back on.
The trip was truly remarkable - to be so fortunate as to be able to travel around someone else's country on all sorts of weird and wonderful modes of transport, on indescribable roads, fly 12 kms up in the air and arrive home safe and sound is such a blessing! The people of Nepal are just incredible - so genuine, so welcoming, so friendly - and generally so poor. We are so fortunate - and it does feel sad to be there amongst so many people who don't have the opportunities we do. Then when time is up hop on the plane, return to our privileged lives and leave behind such poverty and so many wonderful people who just need an opportunity to make things better for themselves.
Came home and became so aware of the ailments associated with affluence!!!! Got on the bus and sat opposite a very obese woman who nibbled all the way. She was such a nice person - so interesting to chat to. We became great friends really in such a short time - but when she couldn't get out of her seat I felt so sad for the struggle she must have in her life. When she finally stood up and tottered in the aisle I thought she was going to fall on me - survive Nepal and then die of suffocation by my new friend on the way home!!! A couple with four children got on the bus and he was telling his partner in no uncertain terms that if she didn't 'you know what' lift her game he was going to 'you know what' right out of there. Then got off the bus in Pirie and a young woman carrying a newborn told her young son to go and get Dad as I ain't 'you know what' waiting around here all day. It just made me feel ill! Then - off to the shop and in the car park a young man was giving his partner hell. He used every bad word he could muster and started pushing her around and swearing and cursing. Honestly - what is wrong with out society? Nepal has pollution, shocking roads and poverty but they do have respect. I know there is domestic violence there but not an angry word did we see - not one harsh word to a child. Beautiful Hindu women going off to their little street statue in the morning for Puja, making a small offering to start the day. The Tibetan families get up really early and do their 'Kora' around the Buddhist Stupa, saying their mantra asking for blessings and preparing themselves to be a good person for the day.
I've just added the image of the Stupa at Boudha on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It's such a peaceful area compared to the rat race of Kathmandu.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The fact that we are heading off for a month on another little adventure has inspired me to write for the blog again - to let you know that I will be away even tho I will be answering emails and Alice will be doing her best with orders etc.
Cloth Paper Scissors, and Quilting Arts will be coming in together - so they will both go out as soon as they arrive. Art Doll 1/4 etc is rather late - the envelopes are addressed, the invoices completed etc - so Alice will send out. Was really hoping they would be here in time but sometimes they are here a few days after I order and sometimes they seem to take the long way round to get here!
Just going thru the mail and enjoying the letters and photos received - it's magic reading about everyone's exploits! We are very fortunate.
If you get a chance have a look at the Great article there on STUFF. I've spent so much time looking for things lately that the article was very thought provoking! Am truly ashamed of myself with all the projects I've started and then put away unfinished! They surround and haunt me! Aaaagh - what can I do!!!!
Have lashed out and decided to do a journal on this trip - I've made feeble attempts and Jaslyn has given me two great booklets that she has started for me. For the trip purchased a Strathmore journal - Mixed Media so will see how it goes! There are so many exciting examples of people's work on the net it's very inspiring! Strathmore have free online classes - I've been doing the one by Traci Bautista - Doodles Unleashed, Mixed Media Techniques. It's been fun - and of course I've had to go out and buy STUFF. Ink, oil pastels, set of watercolor paints! All sitting in pristine condition waiting, waiting............
Rangi is going to do a journal for school as well - so hopefully we can fit in some watercolor gear, pastels etc. Have packed my bag finally - and it's looking good. Over the years have learned to leave most of what I've laid out behind!
It's good to be back blogging again. Be back soon!

Christmas party was a great success - we love to over do it and treat each other to magic little surprises. Kaye says it's the highlight of the year - and we really did have a great sharing time.
Above is a sample of gifts I received - great little group.

Can't believe I'm back into blogging mode again! Have been trying to set up a blog for Rangi - at the moment he's under my blog site as he's too young to be accepted on his own. I'll keep trying on that one.
So much has happened - of course! We've had a magic class with Pam Grose last year - I'll add a photo of the works under construction!