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A blog among others to keep a diary over important and not so important events around Jing An Park, shanghai.

3 months travel is about to end

Diary Posted on %PM, November 25 2008 17:22:28

Conclusion: I recommend EVERYONE to take a three month break and go travelling. The important thing is not where you go although travelling through China and India, two of the oldest cultures in the world having beautiful Nepal in between make things easier

Travelling for a bit of time makes you think, reflect and travel a bit in your mind .. some might even call it soul searching. you become more connected to what is going on in the brain when you are not preoccupied with work 9 hours per day. You start to remember things and in the ashram (where we had special clensing food) the dreams were also very vivid and strange 🙂

I will not go into details about any conclusions but it was indeed an interesting experiance. When you are on the road you also meet people who has been travelling for a looong time (years) .. some go by on money from home, some work as fruit pickers, some arrange swingers club meetings irregularly .. the ways of making the travel dough seems to be as many as the travellers out there. It makes you realise that office 9-5 is not the only way to go by .. (don’t worry I kind of like a desk 🙂

Another reflection I have made is that you get into some sort of a routine .. I am not comparing it to the job routine but you achieve things daily, eat breakfast, go finding places, sometimes checking things online and exchanging money etc.

So what about highlights?? Well .. Xining in China is wonderful! the food in Urumqi is amazing. Trekking in Nepal is always a highlight and in India I must say the Ashram stay in Rishikesh was really cool, plus the golden temple in Amritsar, taj mahal of course and also Khajuraho. In the south Hampi was a truwe favourite with its temples, ruins and interesting stone formations.

anyway .. time to go back to Shanghai

Miss you all
/Mats



South of India

Diary Posted on %AM, November 22 2008 00:01:44

Mumbai – Goa – Hampi

Lots of time has passed and I have hardly been online .. oh well here is a quick recap. We went from Dharamsala to Delhi to Mumbai and spent a week there checking out the metropolis, not much to write home about actually.

After that we head south to Goa, the hippie place to be in India when the north is too chilly. We did not expect too much but found a nice place to stay that was clean AND on the beach, two somewhat contradictionary facts. We spent most of our days walking, reading and eating some nice homecooked food from the hotel owners wife .. mmmm her fish curry is fantastic!

After Goa we headed west towards Hampi and this is where we are now. It is a city among ruins, granite boulders and temples. Very scenic and very nice. We spent the better part of today walking around enjoying temples, a wedding and a boatride across the river.

We will stay here until monday and then it is time to finalize, summarize and leave India for this time and head to Shanghai for a while .. we are looking forward to some chinese food 😀

All the best for now and see you soon
/Mats



Dharamsala

Diary Posted on %PM, November 05 2008 20:42:16

We are now having a very peaceful week in Dharamsala .. We are actually in the tiny village Dharamkot which is set about 500 vertical meters above Dharamsala and surrounded by mountains. We are approximately 2000 meters above sealevel and the peace and quietness here is amazing! It is also a popular place for eagles and hawks and we daily see dozens of them circling in the upwinds

In order to by food and entertain ourselves we walk 3 Km one way to McLeod Ganj which is a hippie hangout/Tibetan refugee camp (creates an interesting mix!) We usually get some bread, fruit and curd there plus some occassional shopping and yesterday we watched “Dark Night” (Batman! mom) in a homemade cinema .. we were the only ones there and could pretty much choose what movie we wanted to watch.

Today we walked from here down to Dharamsala, passed the Tibetan administration centre and visited their small but nice museum (they had a nicely done Mandala (temporary art made of sand))

Tomorrow we are hiking up the mountains for a proper 360 view of them and on saturday we are heading to Mumbai for a week there.

All the best
/Mats



Dera dhun – Chandigar – Amritsar – Dharamasala

Diary Posted on %PM, November 02 2008 16:00:54

Last couple of days has been BUSY! We have done 4 cities in the same amount of days and with a daily 6 hour bus ride it does take its toll!

We reluctantly left the Ashram on Wednesday and took the bus to Dehra dun (basically just to make the trip to Chandigarh shorter 🙂 and there we visited a nice Tibetan enclave with a huge stupa and some interesting paintings inside.

The next day we departed to Chandigarh to see the Nek Chand Rock garden .. an amazing place built up by industrial waste by this legend Nek Chand. He started in the early 60s and when it was discovered in 1973 he had already made 10000s of statues and sculptures. It is a true joy to walk around exploring the place with sculptures around every corner.

After Chandigar we head to Amritsar by bus and more shaken and stirred than needed we landed in Amritsar by mid day. The main attraction there is the golden temple which turned out to be a true highlight .. its a small temple covered in gold and surrounded by a yard of marblish houses. What makes this place special though is the atmosphere, everyone is very welcoming .. you can stay and eat for free and it creates a very very friendly feeling. The golden temple is the holiset place for the Sihks and there are loads of big, bearded men in turbans. We spent a few hours here until sunset basically and then visited the Sikh museum .. a painted display on the grim Sikh history.

WE left Amritsar the next day and took trains and buses to finally reach McLeod Ganj (Dalai Lamas residence) and after some looking we found a very nice room with nice views over the valley .. the town is 1800 meter above sea level so it gets a bit chilly at night.

We weighed ourselves this week. Lai has pretty much maintained her weight but I have lost 8 Kilos! I am now 80 Kg flat … hmmm! I am not feeling bad or anything though, just have a slightly skinny look in the mirror nowadays 🙂 I guess eating vegetables only and walking a lot, sometimes with 25+ Kg on your back is an efficient way of loosing some weight

We will stay here for a week and then head down to Mumbai next weekend for some Bollywood treats

All the best
/Mats



More Yoga

Diary Posted on %PM, October 26 2008 13:10:25

Yoga 2

Perhaps I was a littlebit harsh on the other people in my last blog .. most of them are ok although there are an element of new age present that I still sometimes find hard to cope with .. oh well!

The Ashram itself grows on you though, it is nice to get into that early morning routine with yoga, meditation and then breakfast. It is also really nice to be in a very clean, quiet environment where you don’t have to think about what to have for dinner or lunch.

Rishikesh itself is pretty nice .. people don’t bother you too much and the setting is nice along the Ganges river. Yesterday I made a half day river rafting trip and although the rapids were not huge (3-4 of them were alright) the experience was nice, we swam (in Ganges), jumped from cliffs and tackled a few rapids on our 26 K journey .. highly recommendable although slightly cold.

On tuesday we are making a move from here, it is one day delayed due to Diwali (on tuesday) whish makes monday into a huge travelling day. On Tuesday we are taking the bus to Dehra Dun and then further to Chandigarh and Amristar.

Keep breathing .. OMMMMMMM

/Mats & Lai



Yoga

Diary Posted on %PM, October 23 2008 19:44:40

We landed in Rishikesh a few days ago and got the last room in the Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram. We are paying about 90 RMB per day and person for meals, yoga and room. It is super clean and have a nice garden and an ok view although the mountains are more hills oin this side of the himalaya.

The routine is this:
05.30: Wake up
06.00 Yoga (2 hours)
08.00 Breakfast
12.00 Lunch
16.00 Yoga (2 hours)
18.00 Dinner
21.30 Light out

This week though the yoga at 4 pm is cancelled because the Yogi is occupied with a Yoga teacher class. The class is basically a loud bunch of women and one Irish guy .. the main nationalities are canadiens and Japanese.

At first we were a bit put off by the yoga teacher group since they were pretty loud and they sucked at Yoga (they still do) and I am about average in the group and I am stiff as a stick after 40 days of backpacking. The second thing was the food which is basically rice, Dal (cooked beans) and some other cooked vegetables plus Chapatis (bread) for every lunch and dinner.

Oh well the Yoga is good and the Yogi is so far the best Yoga teacher I have come across and we have actually gotten used to the food and although its not really a culinary experience to consume it, its actually gives you a good feeling afterwards. Lai also managed to impress the teacher during the first class and will have some private lessons tomorrow and on monday. I am prefectly fine with one Yoga class a day 🙂

On some evenings there are additional sessions to enhance the interpersonal development (we are in an ashram after all) and last night we basically chanted (said OM) for 20 minutes and then did some meditation. This sounds like a lot of bollocks (and it mainly is) but its quite nice to just sit quiet and meditate and the OMing actually sounds really cool when 40 people does it at the same time … no worries though we are staying at our wits ends over here

Tomorrow I have signed up for some riverrafting (Rishikesh being next to the himalayas and the Ganges offer quite easily accessible RR at a low cost 🙂 and it will be nice to do a bit of outside the Ashram activity for a while

On Monday we will head further west



Stomach

Diary Posted on %PM, October 19 2008 20:19:48

Guess I did not knock hard enough on the wood yesterday because as soon as I’d finished the blogging my stomach went soar and las night was a bit painful (arriving in Delhi at 11pm) .. The main suspect is my own hands who might not have been washed properly … oh well .. more wipes next time

The good news is that I am recovering (KNOCKING HARD!!) steadily and it is very soon time for something else than soup and tea

Our train leaves tonight to Haridwar and tomorrow morning we should be on a bus to Rishikesh 🙂

All the best

/Mats



Taj Mahal

Diary Posted on %PM, October 18 2008 14:40:09

After all the erotic exposure in Khajuraho we went by bus to Orchha (an ancient capital with castles and everything) .. we only spent 2 hours here though on our way to catch the train to Agra which in retrospect was way too short. The place is amazing even at mid day and you are free (after paying the entrance fee) to roam around the palaces as you wish 🙂

In the afternoon we got on the train to Agra .. we got AC seaters which meant you basically got the whole cabin for yourself (you share it with a few foreigners and one or two rich looking indians in turbans 🙂 .. the tickets are less than 10 USD each for a 3 hour ride so its well worth it and you get your own waiting room.

We arrived around 7pm thursday night to Agra and took a rickshaw to the Taj area and booked ourselves into one of those shabby backpacker places next to the monument .. We then discovered that Taj is closed on fridays .. hmmmmm .. we then decided to go to Farsikpuhr sikri on riday instead.

FS turned out to be a nice visit, built by the Akbahr the great in the 16th century it was only usd for 15 years before abandoned due to watershortage .. its a really cool ghost town although densly populated with really annoying kids who insist on being the best tourguide in town 🙂

india and stomachs .. (knock on wood) our stomachs has so far been good, really good in fact, we are careful though and wash our hands often and eat only freshly made food. A thing we realised is that we are spending way less than expected .. we happily get by on 100 RMB (about 100 SEK) per day and person and this is good since we do plan an extravagant grand finale of our trip at the Andeman islands (far east in the indian ocean)

This morning we woke up dreadfully early to finally visis the Taj Mahal, we got to the east gate before 6am and lets just say we were not the only ones with the same idea today .. after quing for more than an hour (on an empty stomach) we finally stood infront of it. It is impressive and truly amazing .. hard to describe really and also very hard to capture it with a camera. The proportions, the artwork the garden surrounding it .. just perfect!

Oh well .. now we are back in the real world again and will chill as much as possible today before getting on the 8.30pm train to Delhi tonight. We expect a very short stay there and then Rishikesh here we come .. I can’t wait to do a bit of exercise although its not going to be basketball but Yoga 😀



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