Monthly Archives: October 2015

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 🙂