Nepal blog post 7 Pokhara

Everyday here is yet another intense episode in emotional ups and downs. So now for the story. When I came to Nepal it was of the upmost importance that I practiced meditation whilst here and go on my own journey.

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So here I am I go up to a small Buddhist enclave for a drop in session no one was there. But to my amazement I met 4 lovely German’s who were after the same thing as me. They invited me along we found the place.

At first my brain was saying this is silly this is ridiculous . There was chanting breathing exercise whilst seated cross legged. I cant say that did it for me particular. When we went to a lie down position everything changed. I felt my heart rate slow my breathing deepen. But alas after about 30 minutes it bought a few painful things to the surface I wasn’t thinking or particularly wanting to face. At first I was deterred but not now. There is relaxation at 4pm so I will continue to give it a go.

Pokhara is just a stunning place. Its very tranquil and peaceful . I like it, I just enjoy roaming down the streets going into shops seeing all the lovely handmade crafts. I feel at peice here.

I can see why its so popular , it has clubs great places to eat and im at the foot of the hymalaya . Next up is Tuesday , if the torrential downpour stops I will be going in a baloon. A silly dream I know , I have wanted to go up for a long time but alas the weather isnt looking promising. We shall see…

Nepal Post 2 An Australian’s reflection

YES I made it, well I made it to the end of the first week of the internship.

Why is it that hard might you say? Well, I have a new appreciation for what an immigrant goes through landing in another country, not being able to speak the language know the systems or communicate.

It is tough being an outsider here or anywhere where you can’t speak the language. Sometimes it feels they are making joes about me behind my back. But hey it’s probably my neurosis. Anyway the good stuff.

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The experience whilst hard is incredibly exciting challenging and ever-changing. If you ever want to do something like this leave your expectations at home and be ready for anything. not only am I shooting stories for VSN but I am training local staff. One day in a woman’s centre who teaches English to adults who have never had the chance.

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woman’s education centre

To being invited for dinner by one of my interviewees who is a homestay host. Eating and enjoying the company of her and VSN’s volunteers.

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Every day is so diverse I went out for a walk around Bhaktapur this morning and found myself in a precession of Hindus chanting an unbelievable eye-opening experience.

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Hindu ceremony

Next week I meet the director of VSN for whom I found out is the brother of the founder and the uncle of the current coordinator. I shot a piece today with the coordinator who spoke with such passion about the future of the Nepalese people and the role VSN can play. I will also be interviewing a fully robed monk in a monastery here in Kathmandu.

After a tough first few days I really feel like I am hitting my stride getting used to everything from the pace of life to the food and knowing the limitations of my equipment. My camera has overheated a few times. When it overheats I have to stop and cool it down. The heat drains the batteries which isn’t good.  On Sunday I am being taken up on a cable car to a mountain top shrine right up the cliff face of the Kathmandu Valley. It should be quite something. Till next time by for now….

Nepal post 1

Before I arrived I promised myself to post every day which is hard because of the sheer overabundance of stimulation one has when working in such a country but here goes.

Upon arriving in this far away place, you are confronted by the face your in a 3rd world country. The smells the cracked roads the disheveled buildings. But what becomes apparent is this place has a deep soul like no other I have visited.

Sitting here at my desk in the ancient city of Bhaktapur.I peer out the window to the sounds of tooting bikes and laughing children. Off in the distance, there are temples a thousand years old and behind that the base of the Himalayas.

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Before moving to Buktapur I was staying in the tourist center of Thamel. The streets are lined with sellers selling everything from sex to drugs to fine carpets and everything in between. The pace of life is rapid faster than anything I have seen in the western world. The streets are manic, with what seems like millions of bikes and cars spewing out smoke. There aren’t any road rules oh and did I mention there are cows asleep in the middle of the roads.

But for all this manic speed and oozing of the hoards of its human population. I am just taken aback by how the people have bent over backward to make my travels easier more enjoyable and safe. Their warmth just radiates through there smiles and personalities. Even in the bleakness of the forlorned grey cracking buildings the colors of the woman’s silks permeate and pop out from the sterility of the crumbling city.

 

The population care about one another and have a deep respect for foreigners, everybody seems interested in this tall white Australian, I feel welcomed and almost like I am part of a bigger family.

MORE TO COME….

My Taiwan adventure Part 1

Last year, I was planning a trip. I wanted a bit of a challange , to go somewhere where my fellow country man didn’t go. I choose Taiwan. I have often being asked why Taiwan . Well its untouched by western tourism. Its absolutely beautiful , rugged and full of culture . The people are incredibly giving, friendly and respectful. Yeah I know everyone says that about different countries they visit but here it is the truth.  So fast forward to this year. I decided to return for a second visit. I took my mum with me. We first visited Hong Kong for a few days which was fascinating. But here is a tip , don’t go in June it is insanely hot, coming from a Australian winter.

So were at Hong Kong airport and were delayed hours flying out of Hong Kong, then we board the plane and we sit on the tarmac for another 30 minutes. A 6pm arrival into Taipei becomes a 10pm arrival. So mum goes to get out of the tarragon in Taipei. Tired affected by the heat she puts her foot down , twists her leg and wack. She has wrecked her knee.  We didn’t know this of course at the time fast forward to the Friday so two days later, I decide its time to get her to a hospital. So here obviously that is an easy task. When you are in a non english speaking country , its quite a task indeed. So I had to research international clinics, and I even found one which had reviews.

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So we go down stairs to get a taxi to the hospital . Upon leaving the building mums knee completely gives out and she collapses . We later learned this is when her meniscus is torn completely of its bone.  Two complete strangers who were locals came to our aid. One flagged down a cab telling the Taxi what hospital we wanted to go to in Chinese and the other helped me get mum up into the car.   The kindness didn’t stop there. Once we arrived at the hospital the attendant ran and got her a wheel chair.

That day was both one of the most unluckiest and luckiest at the same time. She saw a GP who wanted her to see a orthopedic surgeon. As luck would have it a orthopedic surgeon was in an office next door and could see her. The luck didn’t end there there were also cancellations in the MRI department so she could have a scan. Normally a scan could take up to 2 weeks to be done. Upon reconvening to view the scans it was decided she would have surgery as her knee could go again at any time. Just to show how quickly things move. She entered hospital on the Saturday night and had it done Sunday morning and was walking 3 or 4 days later. It was incredible how quick such a nasty event was corrected. There care, attention and quality of surgery was amazing. Now 3 weeks later back in Australia she is walking without any aid .   Lesson here always make sure you have insurance . We were covered and her medical costs alone we in the $10,000 range which were paid before she even left the hospital.

 

 

 

Back from Europe 18months reflections on that time period.

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I am now 18 months back from my big adventure. I lived and worked in England for over a year and was only cut short by the industry I am in work wise and diminishing opportunities there. I miss London a lot. Yes I even miss the weather the bad food and the traffic.
What did I love about it? I loved the sense that nothing was predictable and anything was possible. I got to do things I only had dreamed about. I got to see a Beatle play a club. I got to see some of the greatest treasures of the world at the british museum .

I also loved the feeling of being close to everything the world has to offer. I fell in love with southern England namely Cornwell. Had clotted cream ate far to much fudge and was offered a cup of tea and a piece of cake by an elderly couple staying in St Ives. I celebrated my birthday with 60,000 music fans at the Hyde Park calling on a sweltering London day. I saw plays and even went to the theatre built into the side of a mountain in Cornwall. Never was I more creative photographically and in my work.

I walked the cobbled roads of Paris , dreaming in the warm glow of the sun.

I climbed a glacier in Switzerland pushing my body to its limit.

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Then Splendored in the majesty and history of Florence and Venice.

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I have heard native inhabitants of different countries refer to a spiritual belonging an attachment to place. I felt very at home in England. I am half english having been born to a father of british decent. I have always loved everything English the music, the history. If it was English I have felt attached to it.
I consider myself slightly eccentric and different in my beliefs and tastes. The exciting thing about living in England then traveling is you find all sorts. The typical rude brit but then you find incredibly intelligent out there friendly people. I lived with a few in my time there. I guess the point of the post is to say, for me anyway. I am at my best as a person when I am challenged . In fact in my time away from all the emotional and physical comforts I was used to, I became more diverse more spiritual and grew a deeper understand of what its like to feel like a minority. Basically home comforts make me lazy. When I was out of my comfort zone I did things I never thought I would ever attempt. The feeling that comes from this increases confidence makes one better socially and makes one well rounded. I can only wish my friends and family could get to the level of consciousness I felt its feels pretty good.

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