Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hot, Flat and Crowded

Our air conditioned motor coach whisked us north from Delhi nearly 200 hot and dusty miles to the city of Rishikesh. I snapped some shots of the villages and countryside we passed along the way.

Can you feel the dust stuck to my lipgloss?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Delhi, Old and New

The scent of India greeted me on arrival at the New Delhi Indera Gandhi airport. The air was thick with a smokey smog, a mix of burning trash, plastic, cow dung and petrol. Even from the air, I could see the congestion of people/vehicles with the roadways clogged with rickshaws, cars, trucks and buses all burning diesel, and all honking.

Outside of the airport, it was chaotic. So many people. So many cars. And humidity plus fog-like smog. The driver took me and two fellow yogis (each arriving from the United States on separate flights) to our hotel. Ahhh, air conditioning. While it was 10:30 p.m. in Delhi, it was about noon according to my body clock, I feel asleep in the clean air almost immediately.

My first full day in India was spent in Delhi and included a tour of a 6,000-year-old city. Comfortably removed from the masses in our air conditioned motor coach, we toured Delhi, Old and New. Our tour guide ushered us by India’s White House equivalent and other government buildings, temples and city gates (“please,” our guide insisted, “cameras out please wecannotstop cameras please”).

Among the views from the bus:

A solemn highlight was the visit to the National Gandhi Museum. Mahatma Gandhi has been a personal inspiration -- he embodied and applied ahimsa, or nonviolence, on a global scale.

Especially humbling was his small simple room with his bed, pillow and prayer beads. One wall held a case housing his remaining artifacts: eye glasses, his cane, cutlery and not much more. “Simplicity,” Gandhi said, “is the essence of universality.”

The remainder of my pilgrimage to India was a simply beautiful and enchanting dream.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time Changes

One of the first things a traveler to India learns about -- when ordering food, when making plans, when scheduling nearly anything, really -- is India Time. I’ve encountered similar phenomena elsewhere in the world and you may have, too.

Things here are delivered or arranged or simply happen when they happen. In my punctual, over-booked world, it took only a little while to get used to it. Once I let go and accepted this cultural pause, conditions improved immediately.

So, in the spirit of India, I’ll be posting my travel experiences in good time. On India Time.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Vision

For this month's book club, the lovely citylifeeats had a genius idea: collage! Hence, my current vision board (front and back images below) covers the file folder containing my India information ... lists, plans tickets and more. Simply beautiful!


Today, I leave on a pilgrimage for which I've spent the last several weeks preparing. To ensure my aching back does not interfere with the voyage and the 10 days twice daily of yoga, I visited Gui-Fang Chen . . .

. . . for the most effective acupuncture treatments. Now, I am able to twist side to side with ease again.

The post-monsoon season weather in Rishikesh will be divine, at least according to this forecast.

My suitcase is smartly packed with Flight 001's amazing spacepaks. The compression bags hold two weeks worth of clothing and fit into a carry on bag, which I'll check. The balance of my suitcase is filled with 15 skeins of yummy yarn for the girls and women of the Mother Miracle School in Rishikesh. On my return, I'll have lots of room to bring a little India back for loved ones.

Now, that's some yarn.

My companions for this journey? My journal.

A book.

And another book, this one on my iPod.

Plus, I'm bringing an intention for the retreat, a sense of adventure and an open heart. I'm looking forward to new experiences, the beauty of holy places and a deeper connection within.

SVP, join me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You Glisten, I Glisten

The crystals in this mala reflect the light within you and me. The one pictured is my latest -- the faux pearls are a richly iridescent and a luscious shade of gray.

Dites moi, SVP, you likey?