Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Delhi-McLeod Ganj, India: 30June07

Last stop at Delhi

I was kind of lucky. i met Mami, a Japanese girl, on the train from Varanasi to Delhi. i asked to use her room for shower and keeping luggage and she said OK. So i got a place to take shower before my night bus. We hang out a bit with breakfast and talked using my broken Japanese and her broken English. She is a baker, she makes cake back in Japan! We were almost the same age and it was a pleasant morning with her.

then i checked email and walked to Connaught Place from Paharagaj. It was just a 30 minutes walk and i finally tasted the India only McVege in the crowded McDonald. The coffee was so so. i started to miss the aromatic coffee back home.

On the way back, i met an annoying Indian young man. Probably only 18 and he just followed me all the way and eventually asked me for sex, even though i told him that i have a husband and kid waiting for me at the hotel. These people have no pride and obviously tarnishing the name of Indian people.

As usual, the private bus is always kind of disastrous. Not punctual and eventually i started to doubt whether they intended to get us to McLeod Ganj at all. One hour of waiting at the agent shop and another hour by another hour. After 3 hours, we were still in Delhi waiting for the bloody hell bus to depart.

In the end, the bus got us to some where and we changed to another bus. That oven-like bus broke down halfway and the driver managed to get it repaired. With the seems like continuously stops and reckless driver, somehow, we managed to get to McLeod Ganj at around 8am ,in one piece, and i took the 4pm bus from New Delhi!

Mami and me in a restaurant near to New Delhi Railway Station.

The restaurant staff making chapati.

The modern areas of New Delhi.

The vegetarian McDonald, find only in India.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 17 Dec 07

From Wild-West tin-mining town into a futuristic cities

Kuala Lumpur (KL) emerged in 1860s when a band of tin prospectors landed at the meeting point of the Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak (2 rivers) and named it Kuala Lumpur (Muddy Confluence). The lure of ore quickly turned KL into a brawling, noisy boomtown and the current affluent modern Asian capital.

Petronas Twin Towers, completed in year 1998 and the cost of USD 1.9 billion. Built by a Korean and a Japanese company separately. Height at 451.9m with 88 floors per tower. Designed by an Argentinian architect.
The only thing that is truely Malaysian is probably the concrete for construction. Even most of the workers are foreigners. :)

Sharing from my China friend, Qing Rong.
i knew her when i was in India.

双峰塔 原为世界上最高的摩天大厦(直至2004年台北的101大厦夺走了这一地位),美轮美奂,是国家石油公司的总部。这座钢筋和玻璃搭成的标志性建筑融合了传统的伊斯兰象征主义风格与现代的复杂精密设计。

KLCC - Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
Shopping... But actually it is really expensive for Malaysian standard.

Batu Cave, the Hindu holy site. Climb up hundreds of small steep steps to get to the temple.

Cameron Highland, Malaysia: 15 - 16 Dec 07

Cameron Highlands is Malaysia's best-known and most extensive hill station. The weather is cool and damp (altitude between 1300m and 1829m) and the fertile conditions make it an important farming area in Malaysia.
The cool weather temps visitors to exertions normally forgotten at sea level. However recent construction of hulking apartment blocks has somewhat changed the old-fashioned, English atmosphere.

Flower farm.

Hydroponic vegetable farm. 3 packages of lettuce for RM 5.

Strawberry Farm. Pluck your own strawberry. 1kg for RM 40, minimum half kg.

Cactus Farm. 6 or 7 small pot of cactus for RM 10.

Cactus Farm - Grapes!

Vegetable Farm - Tomato.

Night market.

Bamboo cake. Yummy.

Souvenirs stall.

The view from hotel. A lot of developments are going on. Probably not a very good thing to the valley.
Sometimes i would think, how much do we human beings need to destroy our mother earth so that we could kind of to enjoy the nature.

The hotel and the surroundings.

Tea plantation.

Lata Iskandar, the waterfall.

The tea plantation.

Monday, December 10, 2007

29June07: Sarnath-Delhi, India

Buddhist Pilgrim: Deer Park, Sarnath

i got a running nose now. i hope to be well soon. i woke up at six thinking to to join the monk in chanting but i couldn't see them in the big shrine hall! Well, they actually do their morning chanting in another smaller hall.
Then i took the breakfast together with the monks and it was the same as last night dinner. i particularly like the bun things. i drank some tibetan salty milk as well. It tastes good when it was hot.
The young monk, Tsering, went sighseeing with me and showed me around the temple main building. We walked to different traditions and nations of temples too. It was pretty much amazing that, in a small place like Sarnath, there are just so many temples built by so many countries. Korean, Japanese, Burmese, Thai, Tibetan and Chinese temples are all around. The Japanese temple as expected was the most beautiful one in Zen style. There are several other Tibetan temples as well, but the one that i was staying, Thrangu Rinpoche's temple, is the most impressive one with a very beautiful Zen style garden too.
i walked 3 rounds at Dhanekh Stupa and Asoka Pillar, making my 3 wishes. i remember my tibetan Buddhism teacher said, make a wish at the very first moment that you see the Asoka Pillar, then your wish will come true. i think he would want us to make a wish in regard to our spritual strike. :) Too bad that the museum was closed, so i didn't see the lion capital of Asoka Pillar.
i didnt feel particularly inspired or touched to be able to come to this holy place of Buddhist. This was especially true when people approached me and trying to sell me some 'genuine' antic statue, secretly. The impression that i had over Sarnath was however good. This is a definitely a small and clean town.
Now Varanasi Old Town (not Ganges River), top as the dirtiest place that i had ever visited. Even on top of Chennai.
The monks helped me to arrange an auto-rickshaw to go back to Varanasi so that i could take the night train to return to Delhi. i was heading to my 10 days meditation retreat at the Northern mountain area, Dharamsala.

In the monastery. The two Tibetan monks who speak better English and been there to take care of my needs and one of them even showed me around the tiny Sarnath town.
It was coincidentally the monk's summer holiday and there were not many monks in the monastery.

Place to Stay
Vajra Vidya House (Non-profit and runs by the monastery of Thrangu Rinpoche)

Khajuhee, Sarnath, Varanasi
15 minutes walk from Deer Park or the main town.
Fan, 2 single beds, attached bathroom, big, clean, including food: 3 meals with monks - 300Rs

The stupa behind is the 34meter Dhanekh Stupa, which marks the spot where the Buddha preached his first sermon.

Chukhandi Stupa mark the spot where Buddha met his first disciples.

The Japanese Temple.

The deer enclosure, deer park.

A tibetan monk was chanting in front of the Bodhi tree by Mulgandha Kuti Vihar.

Street scene.