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Pictures & stories

June 21, 2013

This will probably be a long post! I am not sure if it’s WordPress, or my internet, but I have made two posts that saved as drafts and posted and they just completely disappeared, so I was a little frustrated about putting a ton of effort into this blog the last week. But, I want to share some more pictures and stories! So, here we go.

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This was a little waterfall that we walked to. I more enjoyed the nature walk than the waterfall, because it was kind of just a stream of water. Funny story – we got ice cream on our way back from this walk and Ian asked what flavor one was. The guy said “uhhhh… black.” So, Ian said okay I’ll just have some black then. And we went back to the ice cream place a week later and the guy laughed when he saw us and said he was out of ‘black.’ It’s the silly little things like that I’ll remember most 🙂

Mcleod Ganj is a little subset of Dharamsala, it’s just a 15 minute drive uphill from where we stayed for the month and I probably went up there 8 times or so. I adored it! Mostly because it is the heart of Buddhism, where the Dalai Lama lives and it has rich Tibetan culture as well as monks everywhere. I didn’t get many pictures of the streets of it, but here are a few shots from random parts of Mcleod:

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Interesting story here that I didn’t know. This boy featured on these signs is the youngest recorded political prisoner. Don’t quote me word for word, but he was supposed to be the person who decides who the next Dalai Lama is. China stole him when he was really young and also stole his parents. No one have heard from them since. Now it’s still undecided whether or not there will be another Dalai Lama because China went ahead and put a wrench in tradition and belief.

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These are all people, many around the age of 18, who set themselves on fire in peaceful protest of the freeing of Tibet from China. Again, fuckin China, man. Here are some facts I’m stealing from freetibet.org :

1. It is estimated that one million Tibetans have died as a result of the Chinese occupation, through imprisonment, torture and executions.

2. Since March 2011, more than 100 Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire in protest of the Chinese government’s oppressive regime. These protests are continuing in 2013.

3. In 2008, a United Nation report concluded that the use of torture in Tibet was “widespread” and “routine”.

4. What China calls the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) is only half of historical Tibet, which was about the size of western Europe.

5. Before the Chinese invasion in 1949, Tibet was a nation with its own government, currency, postal system, language and legal system.

6. The Tibetan plateau holds the world’s third largest store of fresh water in glacier form, and feeds Asia’s largest rivers. One billion people rely on this water source, which is under threat because of China’s policies of strip mining, deforestation, damming and diversion of rivers.

7. After the Chinese invasion, more than 6,000 monasteries were destroyed in Tibet.

8. Tibetans are becoming a minority in TAR due to the vast influx of Han Chinese migrants, encouraged by incentives from the Chinese government.

9. Despite China’s claims to have ‘developed’ Tibet, the illiteracy rate for TAR was a staggering 45% in 2005, compared to 10% in China as a whole in 2004.

10. One million nomadic herders have been forcibly moved from their traditional grazing lands, because of China’s re-settlement policy. This is comparable to the treatment of Native Americans and Australian Aborigines by Western colonisers.

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I posted this picture previously, but this is a Tibetan monk who I had the pleasure of talking to. He told me his life as a political prisoner and I bought a book of his, can’t wait to learn more.

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There are multiple of these spread around Dharamsala & Mcleod Ganj. They are called prayer wheels. People can pray to gods or say mantras while running their hand along them. We saw both monks and normal-folk doing it 🙂 I even said a prayer once along one.

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Being silly at the monkey temple. “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.”

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This was the Jakhu Temple, or as we called it The Monkey Temple! It’s dedicated to the Monkey God, Hanuman. It’s in the capitol of Himachal Pradesh (the state we stayed in) called Shimla.

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I think this bugger looks like a little old man!

IMG_1009“Thank you kind sir”

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Shimla was not what I expected! I don’t know what I expected, but it was much different from the bustling city of New Delhi and even more different than the small town of Dharamsala where we stayed.

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Shimla had a lot of old Britain-looking buildings. It was an awesome little town/city.

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Unfortunately I was still sick in Shimla, so I looked like shit in many of the pictures (see above)!

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There are animals evvvvveryyywhere! They are like people walking around the streets haha.

tumblr_mnkbriwduS1rhau6ro4_250 Not my picture, that’s why it’s so small and crappy quality, but that’s a water pump where most people in villages get their water when they don’t have running.

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A picture of me with the Dalai Lama’s throne or holy seat? I don’t know what to call it. 🙂

IMG_1122 Some henna 🙂 Nupoor did it, and you can see her here…

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I love making new friends, but sometimes I meet someone and I think to myself “this person and I are going to be really close.” She was one of those. She lived right next to the daycare I worked at and would visit often. Every time we spoke I was blown away by her. She’s so beautiful, so intelligent, kind and driven. She taught me a lot and I could ask her pretty much any question I had about India or the culture. She’s getting her Master’s in commerce and hopes to work for the world bank. She’s 23 and a dear friend to me even though I haven’t known her long!

IMG_1087IMG_1129Good times with good friends!IMG_1126

Absolutely hilarious story behind this picture. One of my favorite things about this trip is the people I have spent all this time with. The other volunteers and I have, on too many occasions, laughed until our stomachs hurt and we starting crying. Here was one occasion. I ordered a beer and the waiter gave it to me, then came back in a few minutes, took it off the table and put it on the floor next to my flip flops. We all looked at each other like what the heck?! So, Stacy started putting other things on the table on the floor. It was so funny. I guess he did that because it was a family restaurant? Still not really sure. Haha.

IMG_1079IMG_1080 Silly signs.

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We saw this sign in a hookah bar! So silly.

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Here is said hookah bar, we ate breakfast one Sunday on the rooftop of a building across the street.  Just me and Stacey went at the hookah bar one night and there were about 50 men and .. well, her and I.

IMG_0899 Tattos anyone?

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India is a very holy place. One of my favorite aspects of this country is how SO many religions live in harmony with one another. Further, people of any religion are welcome to visit any temple or mosque and get blessings, or to just look. I love it.

IMG_1142IMG_1140 Saying goodbye to the staff. If I look like I lost some weight, it wasn’t because I’ve been eating healthy or super active, it’s because I’ve been sick! So, no congratulations haha.

I’ll be posting a post with my kiddos & my ending thoughts either later today or tomorrow.

Namaste!

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From → Dharamsala

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