Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Hello everyone. We had a great Halloween party last night that consisted of bobbing for apples and watching lord of the rings. It was fun, but I still missed trick or treating. Anyway, tabla has been going great. Ashok, my teacher, lives out in the middle of nowhere, about a half an hour walk. It's a very peaceful place and great for playing tabla. I'm learning slowly, but surely. It's a great feeling to be making music again. We've been talking to a lot of Tibetan refugees: monks, doctors, and revolutionaries. It's been great. I'm learning a lot about the Dalai Lama's middle way approach to peace with China and hearing a lot of people say that it will never work. Many people feel that compromise with the Chinese is not an option and that action needs to be taken now. Tomorrow I'm going into a ten day silent meditation retreat. I'm excited, a lot of time for reading and meditation. I hope all is well at home and I'll talk to you all in a week and a half. (And yes, that is a monkey eating a banana. I saw it on the way to tabla.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Diwali is an Indian Holiday that makes the 4th of July look like Chanukah. Huge firecrackers and fireworks going off left and right. We went to our Delhi coordinator's house to celebrate. The celebration involved a lot of eating a the blowing up of a huge squash. Awesome. After that, we hopped on the train for Amritsar to stay at the Golden Temple. The city was crazy, more crowded than Delhi. The Sikh faith has some amazing traditions, though. We stayed at the temple for free, and also ate meals there for free. We spent one evening helping out in the kitchen. Me and two other guys helped serve food to the masses. It was super busy and loads of fun. Than we hopped on another train and then a bus to make it to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama. We will be spending about three weeks here. After one day I'm already in a homestay. The house is just three rooms so it's nice and cozy. We all start our ISPs (Independent Study Projects) tomorrow and I'm siked. I'm studying Tabla (Indian drums) and Tibetan language. Anyway, I've got to get back to my homestay family or they'll start to worry. Bye bye.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal really is the most amazing building I've ever been in. It just feels really crazy to be in it, no picture can come close to capturing its beauty, but I think this one comes close. We got to Agra (home of the Taj) by train. It was my first train in India and it was awesome. Really cheap and actually pretty comfortable. We rode in sleaper class which means there are three bunks on top of each other to lie on. Chai wallas come around and so do venders selling everything from sandwiches to small toys. I picked up a rubik's cube and so far it's offered hours of entertainment.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


We had ponies with us on the trek and I figured Amelia'd kill me if I didn't ride them, so this one's for you.

Dinner Tent

Here's a picture of the whole group in the dinner tent on the trek. There was great food the entire time.


Here's me in the Himalaya.


This is my tent in the morning one day on the trek. It was a nice surprise to wake up to snow. This was the day of the 17,300 foot pass. It was beautiful the whole way up.

The Indus

Here's me in front of the Indus.

Man Day

Trekking altogether was an amazing experience, but one day in particular will stand out in my mind: Man Day. We had a hard day out walking and while relaxing in the dinner tent we had no idea what was in store for us. I went to use the bath room and when I returned I found most of the group asleap on the floor whilst Tracy was singing quaint songs. I panicked and looked the other way, is that, why yes that is, the trekking staff is starting to make the beginnings of a huge bonfire. I quickly turn and go offer my help. Galen and I quickly went of the wrestle trees. We worked for hours, maybe days, jopping down the largest trees we could find...with our bare hands. We made the largest pyramid of wood you have ever seen. It was then time for dinner. The usual massive amounts of food were brought to us, and then, just when we thought it was over, a four inch tall pizza came out (no joke). After we feasted on the pizza and usual desert of raw carcass, we went out for the bonfire. We doused it in kerosene and let it go. Thus ended the greatest day to ever come into existence.

My House

This is my homestay house in Phey. My room was on the top left with all the windows. It was really fun getting to be the foriegn exchange student. It made me wish I had one in high school.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Update On Various Illnesses

We've all been having a great time in India, despite the fact that at least half the group has been sick more than half the time we've been here. You heard (if you read the g-lab.org blog) about the vomitous cavern that was the Chube Guest House, but living with an actually family adds a whole new twist. So two nights ago I was enjoying a nice sleap in my home stay supposedly fully recovered from my run in with the Chube. Then all of a sudden I wake up at three AM. "Oh man, I think I may have to throw up," I thought, "In fact, yes I do. All right, how the hell do I get out of this damn sleaping bag." Seriously, it's like a chinese finger trap, you can't get out of that thing when you most want to. I finally got out but that bath room was way too far away. My options were limited, but I stand by my decision. I made a dash for the potted plants in my room. I filled one up and then moved to the next. But that wasn't so bad, it's what the next night brought that's the winner. With that throw up came some diareah. Not so bad unless you again find yourself trapped in your sleaping bag in the middle of the night. I made it out and grabbed my roll of TP and my headlamp. I ran as quickly as I could to the Ladakhi toilet, which by the way is a hole in the floor. I whipped down my pants as quickly as I could, just in time. But unfortunately in my hurry my TP slipped from my hand...down the hole. I was left with a dilemma. I seriously don't know how my family wipes, there's not even a bucket of water or some newspaper clippings. With no rocks in sight I made the best of my limited options. I ran bare-assed back to my room and stock of extra TP. I'm pretty sure no one saw me, but one can never possitive when most of the family lives on that floor and windows are not a sparse commodity. Anyway, I hope all is well at home and I look forward to more fun Indian adventures.