Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Oracle

We're still waiting for everyone to recover before we can leave for our trek. People really need to be in peak condition, it's a ten day trek with two passes at about 17,000 feet. I'm siked. We've been going around the surrounding areas and have seen a lot of crazy stuff. A couple days back we went to go see this oracle. The Dalai Lama has visited her twice, so she's pretty respected. We got to see her remove an evil spirit from this Islamic woman. That was ridiculous. She was grabbing her head and wacking it and yelling. She brought out this whip and just started hitting her. Apparently it worked, though, and the spirit was made to leave for one year's time. We've seen a lot of really cool monasteries. The picture is of the group at the Shanti Stupa that we hiked up to. It's not a long walk from where we are in Leh. We just got back from a town called Dah. The Dahrds have been there since about 200 B.C. The place looked straight out of the middle ages. Everything was made of stone, there are no roads, we had to walk up there. The religion they practice is a strange mix of paganism (spiral dances, rock worship etc.) and Tibetan Buddhism. It was a little lower than Leh, maybe 9,000 feet, so it was a little bit warmer and there were grape vines. The people there make they're own wine, unique in India. Seems like all the UW and Western kids should have started school by now so I hope you all are having a great time. Peace.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


If anyplace is the opposite of Delhi it is Ladakh. It is much quieter and the air tastes much better. We're staying in the city of Leh which is at 11,000 feet. I felt fine the first day, but after that the sickness came. I spent two full days in bed, as did most of the group. It was probably a combonation of altitude sickness and food poisoning. I am feeling good now, though. The people here are very friendly and their favorite word is jullay, which means just about whatever you want it to. You will even see people walking by themselves just muttering it over and over again. We are staying in a guest house (small hotel) just outside the main part of town. It is nice, it has toilets and electricity (sometimes). The town is mainly little shops, restaurants, and trekking offices. This is probably just about the most beautiful place I have ever been. The mountains are magnificent and the scenery is scattered with stupas and prayer flags because most the people here are Tibetan Buddhists. Foriegners didn't really come to Ladakh (which by the way is the region that Ley is in and itself in the state of Jammu & Kashmir) until the seventies when they built the road. So the culture here has been very preserved. It is often called "little Tibet" and is considered to have the purest form of Tibetan Buddhism. It has modernized rappidly, though and there have been a few problems. It is much dirtier now, and people's living conditions have declined. Right now we are waiting for the group to recover so we can start our trek. Until then we are just hanging out enjoying the town, last night we saw a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in Ladakhi. Hope everything is good in the states.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hello From Delhi

My first day in India was awesome. I threw up in the morning and then at night I ate a pepper so hot it made me cry...and I loved every second of it. Breakfast today, a masala dosa and a couple cups of chai was some of the best food I've ever had, and it came to grand total of 29 rupees, about 65 cents. We went around town all day, learned some Hindi and saw some great buildings. We climbed to the top of the Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India. And Colin, if you read this, you would love the Jains, they're a bunch of extremely peaceful nudists. They even have a hospital in their temple for hurt pigeons and other birds. The streets are crowded, as expected, but I was told they drive on the left side of the road here. No. They drive on the left side of the road in London. Here they simply swerve to the left when another car is headed strieght at them. Anyhoo, Delhi has been awesome but I am really excited for Ladakh. (PS I didn't get sick from being in India, it was the maleria meds. I'm switching to Neem which is a local natural drug.)
Alright, well the power just almost went out so I better go. I miss you all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Hey everyone. This is my first try at this blog thing so I hope it works. I'm in Brooklyn living with Amelia, my sister, now. It's awesome. Today she had to go to class so I wandered around, went to the Michel Gondry exhibit. It had a bunch of sets from his new movie The Science of Sleep. Weird, but sweet. Anyhoo, Jonny you would be proud because today I ate a hot dog that was wrapped in bacon, and topped with melted cheese and a fried egg. Plus the place had a Galaga machine.Hooray for Galaga. I'm having a great time, but I'm super excited to get to India.