The Two-Minute Dalai Lama Smile

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#FrozenToHim #UpCloseWithHisHoliness #TheSimpleMan

Yes, he was my because in why Dharamsala. One word, compassion.

At the TCV for the Dalai Lama lecture

At the TCV for the Dalai Lama lecture

Hate is not part of their vocabulary. I had the chance to speak to some Tibetans about their story. How cruel the world had been. Not noticing that they, among other nations were suffering in the hands of their invaders for more than 50 years. But never did one of them say terrible words. Especially their leader, the 14th Dalai Lama of TIbet.

I have been following the lectures and engagements of HH. Those interfaith conferences were my personal favorite. So there I was, chasing the man who, despite of old age, was very busy traveling around the world to share words of encouragement and hope. The journey was not easy. I got declined through email (ended up attending a public prayer he led and it was amazing) and missed an event for 5 minutes. Every day I would walk around Mcleod and to his residence with so much conviction but to no avail.But patience rewarded me with something after almost 15 days of hoping. His annual discourse at the Tibetan Children’s Village. Little miracle.

HH from afar Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin (Tibetan monk friend)

HH from afar
Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin (Tibetan monk friend)

It was a three-day event and the slots were limited. Some of the people I met discouraged me because it was not really for international audience. He was going to speak in native tongue. So what? Meeting some students in the guesthouse, we planned our route to the venue. Ended up with nothing, all because I woke up late! My friends went ahead, but nothing could stop me. Managed to grab a seat at the back with the monks. Somehow, my eyes were better that day. For I could see his smiling face clearly. I did not understand most of the lecture, but my attention never took a dive. He spoke a few English phrases which I noted:

  • “Tibetan culture is peace and compassion.”
  • “Sense of oneness of 7 billion beings.”
  • words like:  forgiveness, sacrifice, karma and global warming
The crowd Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin

The mixed crowd from all over the world. Philippines, represent!
Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin

He spoke for almost two hours, or maybe three always with enthusiasm and big smile. People around me were laughing. Those listening to the translator in their radios did too. I was a mere audience enjoying the calmness of the crowded open space. By the time he ended, it was almost lunch. While seated, trying to get myself together, others went flocking to where I was. Darn, HH car was parked in front of me. And I was clueless. By the time my senses came back, He was almost there. I took Ceedi out (GoPro H3 cam) and prepared to capture the moment. I was about to start shooting, when, there, the man whose words were my inspiration, stood 3 meters away waving his hands, facing me with a huge smile. Myself died. Minutes later, finally, my fingers moved to film. Or should I say, tried to film.

The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet  during his lecture at the TCV, May 2015. Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin

The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet during his lecture at the TCV, May 2015.
Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin

Five months had passed since that day but the overwhelming emotion embraces me recalling it. Teary eyed with full of gratefulness. No decent pictures to share though, only in my heart. Life, I could not ask for more.

Special thanks to my friends from Loseling Monastic Guesthouse who showed me the map to TCV. Credits to my friend Tenzin Tenzin for all the pictures. And to VK for accompanying me to the event.And everyone else who assisted me. Love and compassion to all beings🙂

Ceedi trying to capture the moment Shot using: Go Pro Hero3 Silver Ed

Ceedi trying to capture the moment
Shot using: Go Pro Hero3 Silver Ed

Ceedi trying to capture the moment Shot using: Go Pro Hero3 Silver Ed

Ceedi trying to capture the moment
Shot using: Go Pro Hero3 Silver Ed

Watch out for my 8-Hour New Delhi Layover story soon…

TRIUND: The Implausible Affair

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#HimalayanTREK #INDIAfromAbove #TRIUNDforLOVE

Yep, that's him (Felipe of Vagamundeando) camping in front of the Himalayas Photo by: Felipe Villegas Munera

Yep, that’s him (Felipe of Vagamundeando) camping in front of the Himalayas
Elevation: 2895 meters above sea level
Photo by: Felipe Villegas Munera

Originally, no idea. It was a fellow backpacker I met in Rishikesh, Felipe (travel writer for Vagamundeando) who invited me to take this trail. I mean, I was in Dharamsala for spiritual reason; not to indulge myself for some touristic activity. Nonetheless, Googled it and, voila, okay, it was a NO but days after seeing my friend’s picture, somehow gave it a go. No pressure, but I had to take some trial treks for me to complete the entire trail. It was my first time to go beyond 2000 meters above sea level.

Something to conquer the fear of heights...

Something to conquer the fear of heights…

The thing about mountains, they are too high and my fear of heights was just impossible to conquer. It was like Earth eating me. Also, with asthma , precautionary measures should be strictly observed. Slow ascent and always listen to my body. From what I have heard, the trail can be done for one day (back and forth) and it was easy. The word “easy” was subjective though and it was about to be tested.

Trial trek to Triund

Trial trek to Triund

It was on the fourth day (in Dharamsala) that I have decided the inevitable climb. It actually happened on the 18th, the day before my departure to New Delhi. Fourteen grueling days of trying to reach the peak. We had to take things slow and sweet, raveling in the beauty of togetherness, lush green view and soulful sunset. We tried different paths from our hostel only to be disappointed in the middle of the ascent. My breath became too short, dizziness attacked me. At some point, I told him, I can’t do it, he will have to do it alone. But he had more confidence in me than I had for myself. I can’t let him down. I can’t disappoint my trainer.

Triund what? just another trial trek lol

Triund what? just another trial trek lol

It had to happen. We have booked our tickets to Delhi, and before leaving, we had to do it. The inevitable and impossible hike to the Indian Himalayan Ranges for one day! We started with breakfast, lol. I thought, it had to be something I like, since it might be my last meal. And at exactly 8:30AM, the walk (I will always remember) started.

So I had my lovely guards while doing a trial trek. When they saw me from the forest, they followed me until the first tea house.

So I had my lovely guards while doing a trial trek. When they saw me from the forest, they followed me until the first tea house.

The trail began in the little tea house in Dharamkot just beside the Dhamma meditation center, but since we lived in Mcleod, we still had to walk at least 1kilometer (from our short cut). From the starting point, we had to pass through a forest, couple of tea houses and the rocky death road. We passed by a commemorative rock where an experienced mountaineer had died and we were almost at 2500 meters. And yes, the view was stunning, but I was just too scared to pander. I mean, I was not scared to die, it was more of “my parents doesn’t deserve a cold lifeless body,” thought. So here I was, walking, focusing and sweating. One little step at a time.Like meditation.

Off  to the mountains! Photo by: Ville Kananen

Off to the mountains!
Photo by: Ville Kananen

NO TALK! Photo by: VK

Me to him: NO TALK! Shut up. U go ahead and I’ll met you there!
Photo by: VK

Then we met a local tourist. He had map and itinerary in his hand, Triund was just part of his four day ascent. He was supposed to literally cross the Indian Himalayas to meet his friend. He was maybe in his forties, healthy and was excited to reach 6000 meters. While I was catching my breath. Life was unfair, lol. Then there were couple of more tourists descending, telling us it was a short trek, maybe 1-2 hours more while were walking for almost 2 hours. After another two hours, some tourists said just an hour, but after an hour, nothing yet. Hopeless. Doubt started creeping into my system. Finally, after four hours of endless walking, I saw the peak. Almost there. Maybe an hour more. Himalayan lunch as remuneration. Off I went, steeper and more dangerous now.

Took us 4 hours to reach the top. Rough rocky road Photo by: VK

Took us 4 hours to reach the top. Rough rocky road
Photo by: VK

See those rocks? Photo by: VK

See those rocks?
Photo by: VK

And there I was, teary eyed when I saw the snow mountain, half covered by clouds. Darn, Himalayas, too close. The cold breeze cloaked my fragile body. Hunger came in. A revolution of emotional and physical nuisance erupted. There he was, holding me and shouted, “ we made it.” And yet another whisper to inform me that my shirt was drenched with sweat. , Arrggggh, I had no extra. Well, he got one, so yeah, that number 23 was not only Jordan, LBJ  and Beckham’s, it became mine, my Snow mountain jersey.

Ahuh, tears fell down! Darn, I was alive! Photo by: VK

Ahuh, tears fell down! Darn, I was alive!
Photo by: VK

"The snow glows white at the mountain tonight...Let it go" Photo by: VK

“The snow glows white at the mountain tonight…Let it go”
Photo by: VK

Yes to lunch and the chilly afternoon of just gazing at the stunner. VK had an idea of crossing to the snow, another 4km walk. I had to say BIG NO. I was in no position to do another ascent. We were contented to have our noodles and enjoyed the moment along with other tourists and campers. The state of solitude and gratefulness. “Muchas gracias.”

Happiness came back! Ahuh ahuh! Triund what? Photo by: VK

Happiness came back! Ahuh ahuh! Triund what?
Photo by: VK

"It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."  Photo by: Felipe Villegas Munera

The Dhauladhar mountain Ranges View from Triund
“It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
Photo by: Felipe Villegas Munera

**Did I say this trail was almost free? Ahuh and yes, it was easy to follow. Prepare for expensive food on the way. And if planning to camp, cost around $10USD/night/person. This can also be paired with other endpoint around the Himalayan ranges. No need to hire tour guide.

Special thanks to Felipe and Ville for the photos used in this entry🙂

Lost up North

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#TibetIsThisYou #NineteendaysAtTwoKHigh #MyBikiniKindaLife

Welcome to AlmostTibet

Welcome to AlmostTibet

I’d lie if I didn’t dream of one day making it to Tibet. May be I used to be from there. I don’t know why I have been fascinated by this little country up above. I have been planning my journey to experience it but I think I won’t. Nepal – Tibet border was too expensive for a frugal tripper. $1500USD for a week. NO WAY! Beijing-Lhasa train connection, only allowed to Chinese passport holders. All foreigners are required to join a tour. Who needs to go to Lhasa when I’m in Tibet! I mean, India with Tibetans.

With all due respect to historians and et al, I would like to point out that for me, Tibet is not a Chinese territory. It is country invaded by the latter for more than fifty years now. With its own culture, people, and bloody history. And by far, the Tibetans are the most calm and peaceful people I have ever met. Even after the Chinese brutality that led to the Tibetans leaving their own country, fleeing to seek refuge from their neighbors, the serenity of their culture is such a gift to Northern India. There I was, excited and scared inside the bus enjoying the picturesque sight of the Indian Himalayan Ranges greeting me with a cold snowy chills slowly letting go of gravity. Off to Dharamsala, the center of the Tibetan government in exile with an elevation of 1400 meters above sea level. No plans, not hostel, not so much information in the middle of a misty night under the mercy of faith. The bus dropped us (mostly tourists) in the main station. Far from my expected stop. No worries, we, the tourists had the same goal and destination, to experience Tibet and meet His Holiness, the 16th Dalai Lama. So can you imagine my excitement, when I heard one group talking about their unexpected encounter with HH while walking along the streets of Dharamsala.

Mcleod Ganj

The upper Dharamsala, with an elevation of 2000meters and houses most of the cheap accommodation and the Dalai Lama Temple. And this was my/our home for the next 19 days. We did not have pre booked place to stay, so we ended hiking along Tipa Road in search of a cheap and clean accommodation with our backpacks! We were so lucky to find the only available room in a monastic guesthouse run by Tibetan monks. For 300 rupees we had our clean beds with toilet and fan. Not to mention our lovely neighbors! Best accommodation ever! According to their manager and the tenants, the place was usually packed with students (monks) and pilgrims.

The neighborhood at Mcleod Ganj

The neighborhood at Mcleod Ganj

We decided to stick to Mcleod Ganj while exploring the nearby villages. After arrival, we hurriedly walked to the Dalai Lama house along the temple road. We were so lucky that we arrived five minutes after the Dalai Lama had finished his talk. Hai! It felt so bad. But hey, it’s not the end, VK met a monk who introduced us to the secretary of the Dalai Lama. He was kind enough to inform us that HH was having a three day retreat and will not be participating in any event. But maybe after three days, we can meet him but we need to send a formal request. Also our housemates told us that His Holiness usually visits the Tibetan Village nearby during his free time. We might just end up bumping into him. And that gave me hope.

Mcleod Ganj Main Square Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin

Mcleod Ganj Main Square
Photo by: Tenzin Tenzin

So what to do? hahaha walk walk walk! Surprisingly, the energy was different. The daily walks I had were peaceful. I mean, not so much touts only the honking cars of the local tourists. Goodness, was I in India? We enjoyed the Tibetan experience eating in local restaurants and talking to these wonderful Tibetans. History would portray these people that they have been in so much pain, crossing Tibet to India. But never did I see any anger in all of them. We made friends with the guys from the computer shop, Shangri-la Restaurant, Coffee shops, sellers and shop owners. They were so accommodating and always smiling.

One of our fave breakfast place

One of our fave breakfast place and one of my fave breakfast buddy (next to myself and familia)

Our early days in Mcleod were physically hard. VK got terribly sick and we suspected it was either altitude sickness or mosquito related disease (he was meditating outdoor before arriving in Dharamsala). He had to stay indoor and was closely monitored. And everyone in the guesthouse was helping us. They even cooked for him. Never asked for any additional fee. It was just pure kindness and my heart melted. Also the people in the street when we were asking for directions and forex rates. No hard selling. Not so India lol!.

Then there was the manager of the guesthouse who always asked me which tv channel would I want to watch every time I hangout at the lobby. Or gave me the English newspaper. One morning I sat and spoke to him. He told me about his story. He crossed the Tibet-Nepal border through the Himalayas at an early age to escape Tibet. He hasn’t seen his family for more than 20 years now and he just learned the death of his mother through a phone call. Now he has his refugee card that would allow him to go back home but if he comes back, he needed to get a Chinese passport. My tears came rushing. Maybe hundreds of thousands have the same story as his. But never did I hear him curse China. The staff (some monks) even took our laundry when it rained. Lent us utensils and provided us inside information from the Dalai Lama’s schedule.

DCIM112GOPRO

At the Tibet Museum located inside the Dalai Lama Temple.

Some days were just too lazy to walk and stayed in the guesthouse doing yoga, reading and VK started sketching. Or meditating. Often though we would walk around, watch people and went to the temple for the hope of meeting the Dalai Lama. But for a week we were just not lucky. Anyhow, life must go on for us. So we decided to stroll beyond Mcleod and we never regret that decision

His Sketch while in Mcleod

His Sketch while in Mcleod

  • Dharamkot

A smaller village home to the more hippie culture located few kilometers north of MCleod Ganj. First, we took the long route following the Dharamkot Road sign. Uphill trek for an hour and ended up at the tea house near the Vipassana Center. We loved the forest. I mean, Ville loved it. We even found a spot for our meditation. And discovered the path to the infamous TRIUND TREK! As we decided to go back to Mcleod, we uncovered a shorter way! wohooo! But we had to be careful with the monkeys or them to us! If only I can share the best and worst of Dharamkot…no maybe not at this point.

Off to the forest of Dharamkot

Off to the forest of Dharamkot

The sunset view at our spot in the middle of the forest

The sunset view at our spot in the middle of the forest

So near yet so far...Himalayas

So near yet so far…Himalayas

  • Bhagsu

Another cold breezy waters of the Himalayas. The road to this village is on the opposite of Dharamkot. No one can get lost since most of the honking cars were going to this direction. Goodness, if not for the waterfall, won’t even dare to go. The traffic was bad and the noise was so unlimited that we had to go up farther awayl to find our own space. It was also an uphill long walk and a stressful one. But as I took the same path again and again, I have gotten used to the noise and the dust from the tourists. Funny though, most of the people I saw walking or walked with us were either monks or foreigners. Ha, yeah backpackers love walking. We also found our new friend, Indian young artist Sakshi!!! Sorry but I can’t share her story as of the moment. But, our meeting opened a new perspective of their culture.

bhagsu 2

On the way to the waterfall

DCIM111GOPRO

Dipping in Bhagsu

bhagsu 3

#bikiniKindaLife

We met her in Bhagsu Photo by: Sakshi

We met her in Bhagsu
Photo by: Sakshi

Okay the waterfalls scene was a bit awkward for me. I’ve been wearing bikini for a loooong time but this was the first time I felt scared from all those unlikely stares. I forgot, I’m still in India. It didn’t matter though because I just didn’t care at all. I felt safe and belonged. It was like re-living a former life familiar to me. I could walk, eat and shop by myself with a huge smile. Constantly going from one shop to another without buying anything, contented of just looking, admiring. Just like how my heartbeat to my almost Tibet life.

our secret spot in Bhagsu

our secret spot in Bhagsu

Notes:

  • nearest major train station is Amritstar in Punjab
  • there are tourist buses that leaves Delhi and Rishikesh every day costs 700-1200 rupees each
  • Kangra Valley is a nearby tourist attraction
  • take a tuktuk from the train station to the bus stand around 50-70 rupees for the trip
  • Mcleod Ganj can be reached from lower Dharamsala by shared jeep, taxi, tuktuk and local bus.fee depends on your choice and negotiation skills. For share taxi, we paid 200 for the one way trip, shared jeep and local 20 rupees per person.
  • food is cheap even eating in a restaurant. rice + veggies = 100 rupees shared for 2 people
  • overcrowded during Indian holidays and summer season.

watch out for my Dalai Lama experience and Triund Adventure

Holy Waters of Ganga

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#ThePilgrimageWithVK #ChasingWaterFools #MyBikiniKindaLifeInIndia

What is India without one of the world’s largest and most polluted body of water? Okay, enough with polluted. The sacred river to the Hindus. This holy river starts from the Himalayas and crosses to the Indian soil until Bangladesh and associated with relevant Hindu ceremonies. Honestly, before heading to see the Ganga and experience its holiness, I had so much hesitation. I have heard stories of traveler dipping and getting sick. But as soon as we got out from the bus and landed in Varanasi, my energy changed. It went bad. The stingy, noisy and over crowded holy city just took away my sense of ME.

The Devil face excited to experience Ganga

The Devil face excited to experience Ganga

Strolling around Varanasi Photo by:VK

Strolling around Varanasi
Photo by:VK

From the bus/train station, we decided to stay near the Ghats to witness the Pujas. We took a rickshaw and paid about 60 rupees for both of us. The interesting streets of Varanasi teeming with people and things being sold greeted us.And yet again, got scammed by an Indian man who said he owns a hotel and near Vishwanath temple with clean ac rooms, wifi and cheap. I knew he wasn’t telling the truth. But hey, I was not alone.Yes just upon arrival in the “hotel”, it was clear that, he was not connected with the hotel and asked money from us because he “helped” us. Oh my Indiaaaaa! Whatever. The room was so so, AC room with toilet at 750 rupees. Non AC with squat toilet 300 rupees. Took the AC, it was just too much for me…I mean the place.

One of the Ghats in Varanasi

One of the Ghats in Varanasi

Too much exhaustion, I ended up snoozing to dreamland while VK had to get us food in the dark alleys of Varanasi. Yeah, at least I got to be a patient for awhile.

The next day, I gave it a try, a stroll and hopefully a dip in the holy river. Not until I got to experience the hottest event of my life. Forty three degree Celsius even before lunch! It was just crazy! So we ended up hanging out somewhere that served a very special and authentic drink.

This where the late afternoon puja happens

This where the late afternoon puja happens

The Bhang Lassi experience. A yogurt milk drink with weed! Okay no, not for me. VK tried it. Not a fan of weed, I mean, I don’t do weed. Not my thing. So I was there to witness and document it. Plus, I wasn’t ready to take too much Indian bacteria. I was dealing with tummy problem already. It wasn’t that bad according to VK. Things went slow. The Cannabis side effect.

That greenish drink is the legendary bang lassi

That greenish drink is the legendary bang lassi

Ganga and the Hindu Pujas are synonymous. So we wanted to see it across the river. For a fee of 50 rupees each we can paddle to the other side, take dip and then watch a puja. Was I ready? BIG NO. I was dealing with tummy issues and the hotness of the place. So I skipped it, but he went. Or so I thought. He ended up hanging out with a bunch of locals selling weed, which was according to him overpriced and smelled like horse shit. Wow, now that was new!

Missed the Puja, but not totally. The view from our AC hotel room

Missed the Puja, but not totally. The view from our AC hotel room

So nothing happened in Ganga. But I was eager to feel the energy of the Ganga river. Yeah, the safest way to do it, was where all the pollutants do not exist. Up in the mountains. But the Himalayas were yet far from my sight. Rishikesh, another sacred city.

RISHIKESH, INDIA

Located at the foot of the Himalayas. This town is also known as the YOGA center of North India. Two birds in one trip. Or so I thought. Yes, it was my spiritual decision to reach this town based on recos and purpose. If I didn’t make it in Varanasi, maybe I can do the Ganga holy dip here. And I just didn’t do the dip. It was splendor.

Way better to enjoy the spiritual river

Way better to enjoy the spiritual river

We went by train to the pilgrimage town of Haridwar but I didnt really bother to stop by. My goal was the hippie town. From Haridwar train station, the bus stand was just across, maybe a two or three blocks walk. We paid 600rupees each for a train sleeper seat. It was a grueling and grilling 18hour train ride. Believe me, the journey was worth it. We arrived early in the morning and was greeted by a beautiful and cold sunrise. Sorry not in the mood to take pictures. I was just reveling the moment. We were seated in the local bus on the way to Rishikesh with our new friend, the Aussie Timmy. It was literally following the waters of Ganga.

Small town but confusing for someone who was tired and no concrete plan. We were three now. We want to stay in an ashram but there were too many. We didn’t have the energy to go around asking. So we ended up getting a place from where the rickshaw dropped us. Yeah we still had to take the rickshaw from the Rishikesh bus station to the backpackers area. It was because of my idea that maybe, the further we go, the cleaner the water. India to me: Seriously?. We stayed near Laxman Jhula, a popular yoga and backpackers hub. We got a room from the main road for 500rupees per night for three people with toilet. No wifi. Who needs it when there were so much to do.

The Ganga spirit

The Ganga spirit

Food was amazing but not too cheap unless we eat raw. Like eating veggies straight from the market. Or meeting a bunch of hippies who live in the forest for like a lifetime. And I am not describing the Indian Babas. I’m talking about foreigners roaming around and telling stories about how they found meaning in life while visiting India. And yes. decided to stay in India, for good. Couldn’t blame them. I, too was falling. There was something pulling me towards the freezing waters. The fast current didn’t stop me to take a plunge and whispered my little prayer. Was it my imagination? I was totally enjoying the cold water. I was rejuvenated. Enchanted Ganga.

Yeah, India, here comes my bikini!

Yeah, India, here comes my bikini!

Everyday Ganga day! despite the freezing water

Everyday Ganga day! despite the freezing water

So what happened to the yoga certificate? Gone. I was too busy meditating and meeting people while hanging out at the river.SOLO. Yeah me time. A lot of it. My company? Timmy was busy walking to the other side. While VK finally met his guru. Indian Baba. He was busy hanging out with him. I wasn’t into it. I met my meditation teacher in Bohdgaya. Not interested in someone who doesn’t share the same values as mine. But I was happy he found what he was looking. Guess that’s love. Happy for someone else.

View from The German Bakery. overlooking the Ghats and ashrams of the other side

View from The German Bakery. overlooking the Ghats and ashrams of the other side

Solewandering. Walk to the otherside

Solewandering. Walk to the otherside

A little bit of yoga

A little bit of yoga

This could have been my paradise. But something happened. India, you never failed to scare me. I was doing my usual afternoon Ganga immersion when there were others. An local guy and a foreigner woman. Well, we started friendly. Conversation about life, relationships and labels (background). Until out of nowhere one baba came by and joined us talking about marriage. He was telling us, he fell in love with the other woman. And here came this guy, asking me to marry him. Goodness! This wasn’t my first time to be asked but it was scary and weird. We, women walked out. That was it. I needed to move. There was no way I’m hanging out here for long. I made my decision.But I couldn’t find my teammates. I knew somehow he was with his teacher maybe meditating in the cave. So I decided to speak with Timmy, and voila, we were going to the same destination, Dharamshala. To meet the Dalai Lama!

VK's teacher and yes, a French man who has been visiting India since God knows when Photo by:VK

VK’s teacher and yes, a French man who has been visiting India since God knows when
Photo by:VK

Goodness, India, it was not about the destination, nor the journey anymore. Not even the experience. Not just the people but most especially, their stories. The woman from Ukraine who have been living in the jungles of India for the past three years. Relying on friends’ help and the ashrams. Or the unlimited babas who were trying to convince me to go with them. Arggghhh. But the one that touched me was the story of the Russian woman who fell in love with India. She has been staying in India for twenty years and renews her visa every year. The only way to get a residence visa is to marry a local. Well, she has been asked so many times. She told me, her favorite reply was, “don’t bullshit me.” Why? Because most if not all of these men wanted to take her to bed. SEX. According to her, most Indian men see tourist women as porn stars or easy. She was speaking in a subtle and calm. While I was secretly hating that idea. The stares, eagerness to ask for facebook contact and the unwanted conversations. Oh dear India.

It was an honor :-)

It was an honor🙂

Notes:

Varanasi

  • train and bus station are just facing each other
  • The Pujas are held every afternoon around 6pm
  • AC double room ranges from 750-900 rupees per night
  • rickshaw from stations to the Ghats cost 50-80 rupees per trip
  • Street food is recommended from 40rupee dal to expensive meals
  • 2-3 days stay should be fine

Rishikesh

  • Haridwar is the nearest railway station
  • bus to Rishikesh leaves every 30mins
  • tuktuk from Rishikesh station to Laxman Chula cost 200 IDR per trip
  • have a prebooked ashram, hostels etc
  • Food 100IDR per decent meal
  • water rafting adventure is available priced at 800rupees per person

A Mosey with Buddha’s Life and Love

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#ThePilgrimageWithVK #FromBirthToDeath #PrinceSiddharta

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

The first time I came across Buddha was during my pre-school activity visiting a Taoist temple in Bacolod City. The golden statue where some people bow to. For me, it was a religious rite. Never have I imagined that after 21 years, I’d be given a chance to know him. The man who lived, understood and shared a life that encompasses  lifetimes.

Let the Pilgrimage begin!

Let the Pilgrimage begin!

According to the Vipassana Meditation retreat I attended, there are four important places to visit to complete the The Buddhist Pilgrimage. Lumbini, Nepal as his birthplace. Kushinagar,India his deathplace. Sarnath, India where he first taught Dhamma. Bohdgaya,India where he attained nirvana. Yes, most pf these sites are located in India, a perfect place to be in a spiritual adventure!

Lumbini, Nepal

Coming from a week of holidaying in Pokhara (pls see previous post), Lumbini can be reached through either a local or tourist bus ranging from 1000-1200 Nepal rupees. From Kathmandu, ticket ranges from 650-1200 rupees with travel time 8-10 hours. We came from Kathmandu to pick up our passports from the Indian Embassy. The journey was interesting and total test of faith. Half way through the bus ride, we discovered that our laptop was missing! For the first time, we lost something in Nepal. The bus driver was kind enough to close the bus and brought everyone to the police station for the investigation. It turned out that there was another passenger who lost his brand new HP netbook! Everyone tried to look for the missing gadgets and one woman told the policemen that there was someone who went inside the bus while we were having lunch. He was not a passenger of our bus but she didn’t mind. Sh@t happens once in awhile.

Lumbini is a small town so everything can be reached through foot or bicycle. Since the bus dropped us near the entrance of the main site, we just walked a few meters to the backpackers area. It was off season, there were enough rooms that can cater to the different budget of travelers. The temples can also accommodate backpackers with a reasonable fee. We decided to stay in a good hostel for $6 a night for 2-3 persons.

Accommodation: Temples inside the main site costs $4-5 per person with 2 meals. Guesthouses $4-8 double fan room

Food: $1.5 per meal

Bike Rental: $1 whole day

Entry fee to the birth site: $2 for two days.

It was meant to be a couple of days stay but ended up leaving a day before our Nepali visa expired. A meditative stopover before heading to India that became a very interesting encounter with some unlikely personas. The French and Yemeni couples we always met at the same restaurant. The French woman Maya who was very vocal about her dislike with Vipassana that ended us almost sleeping outside our hostels. And the hippie Stefan, who shared a spiritual journey from his out of body experience.

Cycling around Lumbini

Cycling around Lumbini

DCIM111GOPRO

The Ashoka  Pillar

The birth site with other pilgrims

The birth site with other pilgrims

Days of cycling, watching the sunset and the unending “I am leaving you,” drama. It was a birthplace of both spiritual and personal meditation that started my experience with love. The wheel of unconditional love, just as how Prince Siddhartha once taught.

sunset in lumbini

sunset in lumbini

post meditation discussion

post meditation discussion

Kushinagar, India

Buddha’s  death place and the nearby site from the Indian-Nepal border. Crossing the border in Sunauli, we took a local three hour bus ride to Gorakphur and paid 100 Indian Rupees each. From Gorakphur, we took another bus to Kushinagar and paid 50 rupees (each) for an hour ride. The area was surrounded by different temples and limited hostels. We tried to stay in a cheap hostel but it was fully booked. Thank God! We ended up in Burmese temple with some pilgrims and monks. The temple accepts pilgrims coming from different areas of the world. They didn’t impose fee but it is highly recommended to give dana (donation) for the maintenance of the temple. It was actually just beside the “holy cremation site” of Siddhartha’s body. The room they provided was basic. We had our own bathroom. With so much kindness, they also provided us with food along with the pilgrims from Myanmar. This was our first exposure to India. And it was okay for a couple of nights and days of trying to understand and misunderstanding each other.Yeah, somehow I had a thought of leaving again. Haiiiiii, it was not my fear of India that stopped me. Not even conscience. It was something else that I couldn’t fathom.

The only picture I had in this place

The only picture I had in this holy place

Sarnath, India

Kushinagar, India

VK

VK in Kushinagar

Here I met some Thai pilgrims and a Vietnamese monk who were also completing the pilgrimage. They stayed in the Thai temple. We meditated for a few minutes and shared our experience. I have learned that the Thai woman is connected to the Suan Mokkh Meditation Retreat Center who knew the Abbot of my first meditation experience in Koh Samui. Small world.She was with two monks (one Thai and one Vietnamese) and a girl friend. We had so much fun talking that I ended up forgetting I was with someone. Who actually befriended a bus driver that agreed to take us to Bohdgaya for free the following day as long as we can manage to wake up early. Too bad, we woke up few minutes before he left us. So we were meant to take a plunge to the real India!

Sarnath (Varanasi), India

Okay, if this was not part of the pilgrimage, I would skip this place. Oh myyyyy gosh. This is the REAL INDIA. Anyhow, somehow I have managed to survive the 8 hour ass flying bus ride from Kushinagar to Gorakhpur to Varanasi loosing only my patience and comforter (blanket). So here came incredible India outsmarting us. We asked a bus personnel if there was a train to Varanasi from Gorakphur. And HE SAID NO TRAIN TODAY! So we believed him and went to the bus station to take a ride to our destination. Only to find out from some fellow passengers that there were 2 trains to Varanasi. Cheaper and shorter, just around 150 rupees for 6hour ride as compared to the 180 rupee trip we took. From the central bus and train station, we took another local bus that brought us 2km away from Sarnath. Then a tuktuk to the site.

sarnath india Photo by theberntraveler

sarnath india
Photo by theberntraveler

At this point we knew that we can stay in one of the temples near the holy ground. There were alot to choose from. We first went to the Burmese temple but it was closed. Then Mahabodhi  Society temple with minimum charge of 300 rupee for a basic but not so clean room. And then finally, the Tibetan temple! wohooooo! Clean, spacious room and we were surrounded with monks for 300 rupees per night. Plus a nearby meditation hall. We settled in and walked around. There I knew about the Dalai Lama’s schedule. Whew! And a surprise from mother nature, a tremble from underneath the core of the earth. I thought I was just hungry, but no, it was too strong that I froze in my bed blankly waiting for mercy. As I looked outside, the monks with calm smiles on their faces assured me, it was going to be okay. We felt the same earthquake that hit Nepal.

Keep Calm

Keep Calm

Just like the rest of India, despite being a holy Buddhist site where Buddha first taught Dhamma after attaining enlightenment, the place was surrounded by poverty. Beggars everywhere. Children asking for money or food. Parents bringing babies to beg. It was such a pain to watch. At some point, I didn’t like to walk around anymore. Not until I met, a fellow Filipino! Wohoooo! We were at one of those temples when I saw someone whom I can tell was ASEAN by ethnicity. I told VK (who was talking to an old man) that I think I found another ASEAN and I was guessing either Indonesian or Malaysian. But the moment we spoke to each other, I knew he was a Filipino. A researcher by profession, B became my tour guide and my temporary company. Yeah another argument came up about hiring that old man as a tour guide.  Thank you universe for sending me B! An afternoon of well deserved break from VK that started a friendship beyond India. We decided to hangout until he left to see the ceremony in the Ganga River. It was my first time to speak my thoughts about our trip in India. About how we manage things. Being a team.

Team Sarnath Photo by: TheBernTraveler

Team Sarnath
Photo by: TheBernTraveler

Bohdgaya, India

Prince Siddhartha attained nirvana while meditating under the Bodhi tree with the moon as his witness. I was hoping for the same. And hope was all I did.

Just behind the Mahabodhi Temple (we dont have pictures of the main temple because of the 100rupee fee we want to save,lol) Photo by:VK

Just behind the Mahabodhi Temple (we dont have pictures of the main temple because of the 100rupee fee we want to save,lol)
Photo by:VK

Coming from Varanasi, we took a train to Gaya station for about 90 rupees with no sure seats for a four hour journey. I thought it wasn’t too bad. First train ride. The sight of crowded and filthy train station lured my imagination. Well, it was not far from reality. Only that, there was someone who helped us buy our ticket and find our train. Even gave us sleeper seats that we can use for our entire ride. I had my first stranger touch experience. I almost erupted with disgust and rage, but I calmed down fearing that I would be thrown out of the train if I said or reacted to what transpired. I came by but with caution and the thought of KARMA.

the Indian neighborhood

the Indian neighborhood

Upon arrival in Gaya station, the touts were just argggghhhh craziest. Every person just informed us that there was no bus or shared tuktuk going to Bohdgaya. I knew this was another scam that we need to pass through. And we failed. Too much discussion of being a team. Ended up paying 180 rupees for 25km journey. And another scam came right after we got out of the tuktuk. We were suppose to pay entry fee of the tuktuk which would make our total bill of 200 rupees. Atleast this time, he said NO. And yet another scam. Two guys approached us telling us that Thai temples can’t accommodate us because we are not Thais. No way. So we got inside the first Thai temple we saw located at the back of Mahabodhi Temple beside the Bangladesh temple. The people were accommodating but unfortunately, the temple was fully booked because of the influx of Thai pilgrims coming for the Full moon celebration. So we were planning to check out other temples like the Bangladesh, Tibetan, Japanese, Bhutanese and Burmese but somehow those two Indian guys convinced him to check out their “cheap hostel with wifi.” I was not in the mood to do so. I was protesting. I knew it was a scam. Gosh India, please stop. In the middle of our walk, I stopped. And they stopped. He yelled at me, “let’s just see this.” And I said, I’m leaving you. Our next exchanges ended up with me loosing. Which also meant us staying in the guesthouse for 400 rupee fan room with toilet and no decent wifi. For a week. Days followed with my protest. I even packed my bag and planned to run away. There were some days that I spent by myself. Or him going somewhere alone. Until another scam came in. Argh! With the same guys. They offered us a tour, they said it was free. Until yeah the real deal came in. Overpriced weed and Buddha tour which included three sites visited by Buddha during His wandering in Gaya. It was too much already, I had to say NO. But again he insisted and offered to pay 70% because they were his friends. And I was not part of the team. BS.

The Gaya Desert, on the way to one of the caves where Buddha meditated

The 1000rupee tour package: The Gaya Desert, on the way to one of the caves where Buddha meditated

The Banyan Tree

The 1000rupee tour package: The Banyan Tree

The 1000rupee tour package: One of the oldest tree in Bohdgaya

The 1000rupee tour package: One of the oldest tree in Bohdgaya

The only good thing that happened was the main temple made up for all the shitty scams. There was a sense of belonging. Security. A voice telling me that everything was going to be okay. It was such a relief. Maybe it was still worth another chance. To be there. Accept things as they were, objectively.

After a week of silent protest, finally, we have decided to move to a temple. And yes things were starting to fall just right.We met people who helped us in our journey to understanding our experience in meditation. A deeper grasp of how it can free us from suffering. It was at this time I had my chance to walk around the temple by myself. Saw places alone. Meditated alone. And this was made possible by the Thai temple Wat Pa Bhuddha Gaya (for a small dana, the room came with a free breakfast rite with the monks and volunteers). How I missed my own company.

Celebrating Buddha day!

Celebrating Buddha day!

Yes, the pilgrimage was almost complete. We also celebrated and meditated during the Buddha day. We had the chance to share the experience with our new found friends and my teacher. We were ready to move to our next destination when something happened. He wanted to stay longer. And I don’t. I won’t. He was telling me he liked the place and blah blah so I said, okay. My next destination was the holy town of Rishikesh. Maybe it was time for us to part. It was not going to work. He found his place, I was still completing my adventure. He was not interested in getting train tickets and I was so eager to move. Even had the guts to tell me to get it on my own since it was my plan. It was Indian holiday and train tickets were sold out. But I needed to get one. I made a plan. I’ll get him one ticket  with a different travel date and escape. I was so ready to do it. I was telling the travel agent about this. But I was just too weak to do this scam. I just can’t. The fear was eating me and told the agent book me two slots to Rishikesh.

With my teachers and VK at the Wat Pa Bhuddha Gaya Temple

With my teachers and VK at the Wat Pa Bhuddha Gaya Temple

These four equally important places in Buddha’s life, showed me how I deal with my own existence. Running away. I was always trying to avoid complications, arguments and issues. Either I leave or allowed people to leave me. And I didn’t even care. EGO. Buddha and the universe was teaching me to face my very existence and the root of my suffering. MYSELF.MY EGO.And somehow, in all its weirdness, I woke up embracing the idea, that I could not run away from Love anymore.

At the temple's cafe hanging out. discussing our personal experiences with meditation

At the temple’s cafe hanging out. discussing our personal experiences with meditation

Note: I am no Buddhist nor an expert in Buddhism. This is based on my experience and personal understanding. Please do not use this as reference.

Why, India?

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#WhereInIndia #HowToIndia

Just because its #IncredibleIndia🙂

India is more than just Taj Mahal. It is a vast challenging land and culture that overflows with adventure suited to different personas of the world. No wonder, women solo travelers flock to this tricky country. Yes, despite being tagged as one of the most menacing nation, we have come to accept the challenge; to survive and enjoy India. More so, with its socio-philosophical diversity (in all its superlative form), it is home for the important archaeological and religious sites in Asia. And infinite reasons to uncover the reality beyond the realms of what the television and internet show us.

The Taj Mahal Photo by: Fanni

The Taj Mahal
Photo by: Fanni

VISA

As of April 2015, the one month Tourist Visa on Arrival for all Philippine Passport holders have been lifted. Prior to arriving in India, one has to obtain a valid tourist visa. In my case, I applied when I was in Nepal. It was hassle free.

  1. Go to the Indian Visa online application website http://www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa.
  2. Fill out and print the form.
  3. Bring the form with your 2×2 picture and a photocopy of your valid passport and Nepal Visa (Nepal Visa should be valid until the tentative release date of your Indian Visa) at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu located in Lainchur Area (walking distance from Thamel) just a few meters away from the British Embassy. Line starts at around 7am while the office starts accepting application from 9am to 12NN.
  4. Visa fee starts at $50 for 1-3 months single entry. Pay the required amount based on your desired length of stay.
  5. The officer will give you a receipt and the tentative date of the release of your visa. Claim your passport and Indian visa on the said date from 4:00PM-5:00PM.

** steps 1-2 can be skipped. Just go directly to the embassy, there is a small shop that can arrange this for you. Come early so the submission will be on the same day for a fee of $6. Would like to recommend that if you plan to visit India after Nepal, upon arrival in Kathmandu, apply for an Indian Visa immediately. Processing may take 10-15 days. Also the validity starts upon the approval (not on the day of arrival in India) of your visa.

Crossing to INDIA

Sunauli Border, India

Sunauli Border, India

The easiest way to cross to India is thru a flight which can cost around $70-120USD. The cheapest to do this is crossing the Nepal-Indian border in Sunauli.

  1. From Kathmandu, take a bus to Lumbini. For local bus, we paid $8 that takes 8-9 hours. Leaves at 7am.
  2. Get down at Bhairahawa.
  3. Take a shared jeep to the border, Belahiya (Nepal side).Pay 50 Sri Lankan Rupee
  4. From the terminal, walk towards the border (just follow the crowd) and have your passport stamped.
  5. Literally cross towards India!!!

From Sunauli, buses travel to Gorakhpur (nearest train station) and Varanassi. Less buses travel after 1PM. I would suggest to take this route in the morning.

MONEY TALKS

The Indian Rupee is more expensive than Nepali. Its literally twice the former.

Current Exchange rate: $1USD= 66 Indian Rupee

Food: literally a dollar per meal is possible. Fruits are cheap. 1 liter of bottled water cost 20 rupee.Train stations provide free and clean drinking water (experienced and recommended by my friend theBernTraveler).

Experience the Dal Mania

Experience the one Dollar Dal Mania

Accommodation: can be free up to couple of days provided by Sikh and Buddhist temples. Most of these temples accept dana or donation. A decent room or dorm bed can start from $3 to $5 per night.

Transportation: depends on preference. Commuting around India is cheap. For inter-state travel, trains are preferred. Check the Indian railway website for the complete schedule and prices http://www.indianrail.gov.in/train_Schedule.html. It is advised to get an Indian sim to be able to use the railway online booking. Or one can use the Tourist booth in the stations. Please book in advance to avoid hassle and extra fees.

Safety: Surprise surprise…just be extra careful with luggage and money. For women, I would like to suggest not to wear revealing clothes to avoid those scary stare. Most of them will just look at you.Some will try to talk or touch but its always avoidable. Walk away from touts. Bargain decently. And be selective. Instinct helps.

Silk Saree day with Pooja

Silk Saree day with Pooja

Shopping: The Indian women have the most colorful wardrobe that I have seen. I fell in love with their stuff. Cheap and comfortable. Mostly made of cotton. Best place to shop would be the local markets. Do not bring too much clothes to India:-) because I bet, you will have to either suffer from over baggage or trading them to the lovely sarees.

Itinerary

India being an enormous area to immerse, it is good to plan the journey based on the length of stay, weather, current events and budget. For me, India was both a spiritual jaunt and an adventure. I even prepared a checklist (apart from the yoga teacher’s training I intended to attend and finish):

  1. Taj Mahal walk
  2. Watch a LIVE Cricket Game
  3. Attend a Real Indian Wedding
  4. Watch a Bollywood movie (with English subtitle)
  5. Trek to Dharamsala
  6. Complete the Buddhist Pilgrimage
Buddha Statue Bohdgaya, India

Buddha Statue
Bohdgaya, India

Oh dear, India, why have you done this to me? You have changed my perspective. Two months with you was too short. Maybe its your way of telling me, “hey solewanderer, you ought to come back, very soon.” While the rest will tell me, “you are crazy!” I say, Namaste!

Nepal: Drive to Memory Lane Part 3

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Holiday-ing Pokhara

#NotSOsolewandering #JustChillCheap

So ten days of silence, what to do? Time to take things slow and practice meditation, at least not ten hours of sitting. Where to? I know, touristy places are not my thing, but who can resist this trekking town? Nah, I mean just trying to trek again to get a closer look of the Himalayas. By this time, my Nepali Visa was about to expire. Hehehe, just another reason to visit Pokhara (this town has immigration office for visa extension, more relax place than the Kathmandu office). It was also a perfect getaway to wait for my Indian visa approval.

 

So Pokhara is just 8 hours away from Kathmandu in a winding and rough journey accompanied by scenic view of the countryside. Upon arrival at the bus station (tourist bus station is located near the airport and Fewa Lake, whereas the local buses only stop at the town center), there are auto rickshaws and a bus that goes farther to the mountainside that pass through Fewa Lake and the backpacker area. Or if you are up for an adventure, go for a walk, like we did.

View from Angel Hotel, 800meters from the tourist bus station.

View from Angel Hotel, 800meters from the tourist bus station.

The plan was to spend a weekend but we ended up staying for a week?! We did not even trek,lol! What happened? We just fell in love with Pokhara and each other, lol! We as in Me, Ville and Yan Ga. Yes we.

FEWA LAKE

Nothing beats the morning walk or sunset stroll in this place. Just bring your drink and sit down, watch people and time go by. No swimming allowed. But we were not contented, we decided to take a day to cross the other side to see the World Peace Pagoda. Which meant paddling our own boat and a little bit of trek.

Sunset at Fewa Lake. Not in the picture...San Mig Beer

Sunset at Fewa Lake. Not in the picture…San Mig Beer

Our Captain ready to take us to the otherside

Our Captain ready to take us to the other side

So we rented a boat around 500 Rupees for half-day use at the south side of the lake, which meant paddling all the way up for almost 20-30 minutes,normal speed. No problem, our captain took control, and we (the girls) just sat back and relaxed. Coming back though was not easy. It was another adventure. We were about to cross back when it started raining. I mean thunderstorm. The calm lake became a ferocious beast, with waves trying to devour us. Yan Ga, being a non swimmer, was agitated. The waves were bigger and stronger and I felt bad. I was starting to worry…about my GoPro, lol! Anyway, I had to step up and help Capt Ville to paddle, to use the waves to our advantage (thank you surfing and diving for this). It was not easy, every paddle came with a prayer. I mean, people can rescue us, but no way, there’s no way we were allowing the waves to beat us. Seated in the front, while Ville was at the back, I found myself pouring all the courage and strength to every paddle and shout “to the right, or now left, paddle hard.” It was exhilarating but, hey, we made it to the shore, just next to the original boat parking. Whew, that was close.Or not.

the Calmness before the storm

the Calmness before the storm

WORLD PEACE PAGODA

After 30 minutes of paddling, we parked at the foot of the hill where the short trek starts. It was a thirty minute steep climb passing through the forests and a cafe. The view was stunning in with its pure simplicity. But the walk was just not for me, hahaha! By this time, I have convinced my teammates that trekking was not for me.

Fewa Lake view half way to the World Peace Pagoda

Fewa Lake view half way to the World Peace Pagoda

We were just so unlucky that we came just before the thunderstorm. It was cloudy but the pagoda itself showed important facts about the life of Siddharta Gautama Buddha. A good place for a short meditation.

World Peace Pagoda View Point

World Peace Pagoda View Point

WORLD PEACE PAGODA

WORLD PEACE PAGODA

the cloudy trek to the pagoda

the cloudy trek to the pagoda

SARANGKOT

Okay fine, being a team player, I have decided to do a one day trek with Ville and Yan Ga. Just one day, no more. As advised by our hotel, this trail was the easiest, easier than the World Peace Pagoda and no chance to get lost. The reward of this trek was a view of the whole town with the Himalayas. So I had to go. I went.

Start of the trail, Fewa Lake

Start of the trail, Fewa Lake

End of Fewa Lake

End of Fewa Lake

The trail started at the Fewa lake going north. Just follow the lake and then ask around. Yeah, we just did what the hotel staff said. Until we met a Nepali who was running an orphanage and offered us ride to see his place and promised to give us the short cut direction to Sarangkot. We gave in, only because of the orphanage. We spent time playing with the kids as well as helping generate ideas for fund raising to support the education of the children.

View from the orphanage

View from the orphanage

A cute student at the orphanage

A cute student at the orphanage

the prabhat orphanage

the prabhat orphanage (if interested to help, please zoom the picture for the contact details. Donations are very much appreciated.

After a few hours, it was time to bid farewell to our friends. And started a “short” trek. But who said it was short? We ended up in local villages with only students spoke English. What a way to get lost in a hot afternoon with no lunch. We just walked towards wherever the locals told us to.

Walk to nowhere

Walk to nowhere (photo by: VK)

The trek included walking through the gates of the local villages, who helped us

The trek included walking through the gates of the local villages, who helped us. Photo by VK

Although it was a fun trail, I would say, it’s not for everyone. It was still a steep climb to 1592 meters high. Nonetheless, worth the pain. It was such a relief to see how simple the life of the villagers. They gave us drinking water and directions with a pure smile. It was almost late afternoon when we had a glimpse of the destination.

Almost there Photo by: VK

Almost there
Photo by: VK

It was yet again another unlucky day as the Himalayas were too shy for our cameras. The clouds were too much but then again the view of Nepal towns were enough to quench our thirsty eyes. No sunset view either. But we were still happy we made it alive and hungry.

Sarangkot View point

Sarangkot View point

Common you Himalayas come out!

Common you Himalayas come out!

Yan Ga with sincere happiness

Yan Ga with sincere happiness

And so after so much picture-taking and late lunch,we had to rush going back. By this time we were exhausted and decided to take a bus. Too late though, the last bus just left. What a luck! So we started walking going down and met another tourist. I was so curious about the trail back, so I asked him. Wow he answered with weird expression, 1.5 hours to reach where we were which was just 200 meters below the view-point (from Fewa Lake). Short cut it was. Because of this, I tried to convince my friends to trek down. Both declined and decided to hire a taxi instead (10USD). No way! It was then an old pick up truck passed by and I immediately flagged it to ask if we can hitch. The driver agreed as long as we pay 100 (1USD) rupees each and we will stay at the back of the truck. Both disagreed but I jumped in already, lol! Not bad for a one dollar bumpy and fast ride🙂

Hold on tight!

Hold on tight!

So what happened to the other days we spent in Pokhara? Well, we just walked around the lake, relaxed and played. Yes to playing like kiddos. It was a shame that we were not able to see other beautiful places nearby. We just loved waking up to the cold breeze, ate and just chill. We were not bored at all. Sometimes we would walk to the end of the lake and ended up shopping lol. You know, hemp stuff!

at a nearby park

at a nearby park

kiddo

kiddo

okay we're just kids trying to be adults lol

okay we’re just kids trying to be adults lol

oh another playmate

oh another playmate

A week in this lovely place and we did not even do much because we were too busy being happy lol! In its simplest form. Sometimes, wandering is not about the journey nor the destination, it’s the moment. Every breathing moment may it be alone or with company.

Team Pokhara Photo by: VK

Team Pokhara
Photo by: VK