A Travellerspoint blog

An end to the journey

Our last full day in India saw us waking up to the first bit of rain we had seen here. Kim, susie and i went for a walk to try and find a top that kim liked, we didn't find the top but did discover a cute shop where we found tops that said 'same, same but different' we were stoked!
We couldn't do anymore shopping as we were headed to the maitri trust to donate the clothes we had brought over from Australia. While there we discovered that they not on looked after mums and Bubs but took in stray dogs, when asked how many they had at the moment we were informed there was 99! They even had a dog named Sonya. They do very good work there so thank you to Judy and michelle for donating as the clothes will be used. The photos are of some of the kids that were at the clinic for a checkup, they give the mothers formula and vitamins and educate them on how to care for their babies. Some of these mothers are very young, one girl was only 14. There was a little boy who had been left by the side of the road and one of the village women adopted him and takes care of him, I was trying to talk to her but the language barrier proved too hard, the little fella still looks in a bad way so hopefully the clinic will be able to help him.
The trust also does a lot of work for leprosy and TB. We had a tour of the grounds got to meet the kids and then we were off to the Roots Institute to have lunch and listen to a talk by Jon Landow the author we had met in the cafe the other day. He was very sweet and remembered us and I could have listened to him all day, he has a real gift for conveying the message of Buddhism. When the talk finished I bolted for the toilet and kim said he had asked where I was which I thought was lovely and so i went back and thanked him for being such an inspiration.
Kim and i were supposed to go to the orphanage to listen to a recital but we were wet and muddy and felling pretty miserable with the conditions so we walked up the road in the mud and the dark to find a tuk tuk which we did and so be an the scariest trip I have had in India so far. So picture this it is raining, the road is slippery, the guy doesn't have his windscreen wipers on and there is traffic everywhere and then he answers his phone!!!! Kim and I couldn't stop laughing.
We made it back to the hotel, dumped our bags and went into tow to see if some books we ordered were ready and to pick up our outfits from the tailors, the bookstore was a bust as he wasn't there so we headed to the tailors and picked up our outfits which were gorgeous and decided to put them on for dinner. They llked great except the pants cord hadn't been threaded so we had to tie them in a knot.
Everyone loved our outfits and we had lots of fun wearing them. Our last supper in India was bittersweet, it has been an amazing journey and i am so grateful for having been given the opportunity to experience it.
After dinner, Norboo, Kim, Kat and I did our now traditional chocolate run, we also had arranged with Brooke to get some more beer, although there was a miscommunication and we ended up with 7 bottles instead of 4 and so Brooke managed to get 3 sent back :-)
Had a quick beer with a bunch of the girls and so ended another day in India.
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Posted by sonya13 04:37 Archived in India Comments (0)

Elizabeth Orphanage

Today was another free day and so after the teachings this morning we decided to organise the delivery of the blankets to the Elizabeth orphanage that we had visited yesterday. But before I tell you all about that let me tell you about Raj. Raj is a 19 year old indian guy we met on the first day trying to sell us some CDs he was very Flirty and charming but I soon set him straight and told him I wasn't going to give him any money and i was happily married. Every day he has come back for a chat and we have talked about cricket, life in Australia, religion and his desire to do something with his life. I really wish him the best and hope he does well as he seems like a nice kid, so spare a thought for Raj tonight and wish him well :-)
Now back to our mission to get blankets and rice to the orphanage. The first problem we faced was getting the blankets to the orphanage without all the street beggars knowing what we were doing as we had already discovered the chaos that could create. So we recruited some empty suitcases from people and stuffed blankets inside and Narboo organised to use the hotel bus to cart us all there which was better than walking as that would attract attention. We arrived at the orphanage and i am sure the people who run it thought we were moving in but they were very happy to discover the donation of blankets. The husband and wife team who run the orphanage started it when they were at a clinic one day when an abandoned baby was brought in, the couple was unable to have children of their own and so took Elizabeth in' somehow this gesture grew to 32 children including Matthew who was left in a rubbish heap by the side of the road. It was wonderful to be able to help them today.
After delivering the blankets Narboo, Kim, Kat and I went with the Rev to buy the rice and lentils. We managed to buy enough to feed the orphans for a month.
By this stage we were shattered, it had been a hot, tiring and emotional morning so we went to our new favourite restaurant for lunch and i had veg and cheese pakora which was delicious!
We were heading back to the hotel when this young Indian guy came up to me and said 'do you want to buy a CD.? You said you would buy one tomorrow and I replied well I lied and it stopped him in his tracks lol- you have to understand that these guys are relentless and hassle the hell out of you and after I said that he laughed and started talking to me about cricket and practised saying gday mate so we ended on good terms.
It was really hot and humid today and so we came back to the hotel for a bit of down time. We had heard about a little cafe called be happy that is run by a Canadian lady who married a local Indian Guy and who had Banoffee pie, now I hadn't had Banofee since Dharamashala and so was very excited. We asked Venerable Nam Dag and Jan if they wanted to come and they said why ot so off we went. This cafe was like an oasis clean, air conditioned and yumm pie! After the pie we went back to the
Elizabeth orphanage so Nam dag could meet the children. The kids were awesome as usual and they showed me their school work and they all took turns at saying hello my name is .... what is your name and pleased to meet you in english. It was very sweet and i am hoping I can do more support them in the future.
When we got back to the hotel Brooke informs me that she has ordered a couple of tall bottles of beer and invited me to have a glass with her which I readily accepted!!
It was a great brew and was just what I felt like after this hot humid day. Norboo informed us (Km, Julie, Katand myself) that he was shouting us dinnerso off we trot to the Green Restaurant so named because it is painted green. After a delicious meal we went for a walk and decided to end the night with tea and dessert at the Shiva restaurant. It was another lovely evening with terrific company. I can't believe we only have one day left!
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Posted by sonya13 09:40 Archived in India Comments (1)

Same, same but different

I had a terrible nights sleep last night, I think I was over stimulated by yesterday's events but I made myself get up so i could go to the temple for the morning teachings. After the teachings, kim and i decided to do some shopping, we went away from all the t ouristy places and found the locals area and enjoyed looking at all the produce and spices. The best thing about this area is that you aren't harassed by the locals trying to sell you something. We found a little man that sold the traditional Indian tunic and pants set for only 250 rupees, these were selling for double that in the other sections of town so we were feeling very chuffed with ourselves. We then had to find a tailor to sew it for us after a bit of asking around we found a very serious guy who took our measurements, charged us another 250 rupees and said it would be ready tomorrow. His offsider seemed s bit concerned that the outfits we had chosen were for a wedding but I reassured him that no one in Australia would mind and that I was already married. We got our receipt from the tailor and it says delivery date was the 4th so after trying to communicate to him that we were leaving on the 4th and would need it in the morning we were 50% sure he understood. Luckily when we walked out we spotted Narboo and asked him to translate for us. In return we helped him post some post cards for Venerable Nam Dag. Now posting post cards would not seem a big deal, however doing anything I India is never as simple as you would think. We had to paste the stamps on the post cards with a little glue pot and brush.
There is a lot of dust, smoke and pollution in the air and so kim and i were thirsty and invited Norboo to join us we ordered a snack and a drink and sat and talked for so long we ended up ordering lunch.
After lunch we met up with another lady from the group Linda and did some shopping for those lovely cotton tunic type tops, it is an interesting way to shop as you sit down while they show you a bunch of stuff they think you might like. I got about 5 or 6 tops for $10-12 each so i was happy and read to go and rest for a while. We came back to the hotel and i read and chatted to kim before Julie joined us to use our hotspot. While she was doing that I had a shower and washed my half and when I came out kat was asking us to go for a walk and she had a surprise for us.
I am a sucker for a surprise so off I went with her, we were soon joined by some lovely young Indian guys who were charming and funny and seemed to be in cahoots with kat and the surprise. After going down back streets, past livestock and through some narrow alleyways we come to this small building called the Elizabeth orphanage and were invited inside. In this very primitive building live 32 orphans and they were the most delightful children. We sat with them and listened to them sing a song and kat told us she was going to buy them some rice and we are going to talk to the group about donating the extra 35 blankets to them as well.
It was a lovely experience and i was so grateful to Kat's get up and go for allowing us to be a part of it.
We wanted to go to the temple at night and see how beautiful the lights were and you can see in the photos how stunning it is. We went down near the Bodhi tree and i sat down next to this monk and i could fee this incredible energy coming from him and then I noticed that people were bowing to him and when we saw a western person do the same kim asked who it was and he is apparently a bit of a big deal in the area but we haven't found out anymore about him.
After the temple we met up with a few people and had dinner and packed up the leftovers in plastic bags and on our way back to the hotel we very subtly gave them to a couple of beggars that were crippled from polio. We then went for a walk to a sweet shop and i bought some chocolate and a few of the local sweets which I then gave one to our doorman who is the sweetest man.
Another wonderful day in India but am feeling a bit homesick today as well. Not long left of this trip so am going to make the most of it.
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Posted by sonya13 09:23 Archived in India Comments (0)

Turning 40

Today would have to be the most awesome day I have had so far. I woke up feeling well which was great as I didn't want to spend my 40th feeling sick, we had got up early in order to go to the temple before all the crowds got there and to hear the monks chanting so we found a spot behind the monks and chilled out waiting for the monks to arrive. Julie bought me a beautiful bunch of lotus flowers that attracted the bees and i sat in a kind of meditative state while watching them and listening to the monks, the vibrations and energy is truly amazing in this place.
After being there for an hour we headed back to the hotel for breakfast and to meet the group for our return visit to the roots institute. Kim and i learned our lesson and took a tuk tuk this time. We once again had a tour of the medical clinic as some of the group wasn't with us yesterday but it was a lot more fun today as it was baby day and kim and i had a lovely time playing peek a boo and making them laugh.
After we visited the clinic we went over to the orphanage and school and this was fantastic, I talked to the school principle and we had a tour of the classrooms and met the children and was very impressed with what they had done with so little resources. It has inspired me to come home and do some serious fundraising for this organisation. We the had some lunch before heading off to feed the poor and hand out blankets.
That was a bit of a disaster and truly upset me, it takes a lot to make me cry but when over 300 people descend on you looking for a meal and a blanket to the point where they snatch and right each other it is truly heart breaking. It got so out of control we had to stop as it was getting dangerous and we were worried someone would get hurt. Kim, Kat, Julie and myself walked to a cafe to have a cold drink and calm down and got talking to this American guy and kim discovered it was John Landaw the guy who wrote Buddhism for dummies (which I am reading at the moment) and wno we are going to a talk ln Saturday! The universe is truly crazy at times, we went from this terrible low to and incredible high. We knew that ven Nam Dag had a great respect for John so we got him to come along with us to surprise her and she was so pleased to see him it made us feel great.
We had a quick bite to eat and the went next door to buy some Indian cotto tunics. There was a bunch of us in there and it got quite crazy with clothes being thrown back and forth, finally we had all finished and i got 4 tunics for 2000 Rupee(about $40)
After a shower we headed down for dinner where I was surprised by Norboo with a lovely birthday cake and everyone sang happy birthday and made me feel very special, and loved which meant the world to me as I missed my family very much today.
All in all it was an incredible day and one I will never forget!
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Posted by sonya13 10:20 Archived in India Comments (0)

Bodhi Tree

My last day at the age of 39 did not start well I woke up feeling very ordinary and so have either got a bug or case of Delhi belly :( I would like to think it is a very literal way to purge my 30s lol
Despite feeling unwell I was determined to get to the bodhi tree and temple today. There is a big prayer festival going on at the moment so I was woken up by monks chanting which would have been lovely if I was feeling good but I guess it beats an alarm clock. We headed to the temple after breakfast and was inundated by beggars and hawkers the whole way, it gets a bit tiresome and annoying after a while and you have to be really firm although I try not to be rude ever. The temple and bodhi tree is truly magnificent and i got quite emotional today as I thought of my dad, am not sure why but would like to think he was letting me know he was close by. Venerable Nam Dag did a teaching at the temple and then we went and sat at the Bodhi tree and half meditated while the monks chanted it was pretty cool I can tell you! I cannot do justice to the beauty and history of the place but please do yourselves a favour and look it up as it is quite extraordinary and i will hope the photos will give you some idea.
Afterwards kim and i were looking for somewhere we could eat lunch when Jan found us and asked if we would like to go to the Root Institute and we thought sure why not - having no idea what that was . It turns out it was this marvellous meditation centre that also runs a clinic and school. We had lunch in this open style kitchen which reminded me a bit like school camp as we washed our own dishes and served ourselves. After lunch we bought a few things in the shop and had a tour of the grounds and temple before visiting the clinic. The doctor that founded the clinic came out and told us the history of the place and how he ran it alone in the beginning and how he now has 26 staff all servicing the poor people in the area as well as educating them on hygiene and nutrition, it was truly fascinating and inspiring stuff.
We then caught a tuk tuk back to our hotel which was a lot better than our trip to the centre which was originally on a rick Shaw ridden by an old man that could barely ride and then got lost before we stopped him and found a tuk tuk that got us there in much better shape.
By the afternoon I was feeling quite sick so i spent the rest of the afternoon in my hotel vegging to try and get over it but I don't think I was very successful as I am still feeling unwell now as I write this. I did manage to go to dinner and go for an evening walk with my fave people kim, Julie, kat and norbu who make me laugh no matter how sick I feel and who sang happy birthday to me because it was my birthday in Australia.
Kim bought me the coolest present today a book called 'when the chocolate runs out' now that is my kind of Buddhist book!

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Posted by sonya13 10:01 Archived in India Comments (0)

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