Thursday, December 23, 2010

Update: Leatherman Returned

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…
Went outside to find my Leatherman multi-tool on the floor of my front porch.
All is well. No questions asked.
Every person, all events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. ~ Illusions, by Richard Bach

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Of Language and Personality

I was asked to give a one hour talk at the local boys college on language and personality. Ok, you can stop laughing.  The boys, and three girls were 19 years old, in a intensive one month course to develop their English skills and their personality. The purpose for both of these aspirations was so that they could get a good job. At least that is what the course description said and what they told me when I asked. Needless to say I tried to inspire an additional message: that being they were doing this also for their own personal edification, to be able to expand their communications, networking, and knowledge skills etc..  They had never heard of Mr. Shakespeare and I mentioned that learning English would give them a window on literature in the rest of the world that rarely happens to students here.

But I arrived and the professor gave a little speech and then asked Jarrina (a girl from our office, and alumni from the school who came along with me) was asked to introduce me. She didn’t know this was going to happen but got up and introduced herself and then me and I was very impressed with her, she who normally is a shy quiet young woman who sits and does her work at the office, to speak so easily and calmly.  Then the professor got up and flower lays were given out, the school principal came in, two photographers and it began to feel like the circus was in town. The introductions and ceremony took twenty minutes off my scheduled talk, but that turned out to be just fine.  I figured if I could get the kids to talk we could easily spend an hour in discussion.  But as much as I tried and jokingly threatened them with poor grades for the course, I only got 3 of the 20 or so to speak up. But they were very respectful and attentive. I tried to make as much eye contact as possible and one young man responded at the end telling me my talk was wonderful, beautiful and grateful. That’s a lot of “fullness”.  I’ve been asked back.

“In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom.

It is not always an easy sacrifice.” ~ Illusions, by Richard Bach




No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 10.0.1170 / Virus Database: 426/3314 - Release Date: 12/13/10

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Sure has a vacuum cleaner. A simple canister type. But it wasn’t working, the plug needed to be rewired.  So I fixed it and brought it home. The neighbours saw me with it on the back of my motorcycle and gathered round to inspect this device. They had never seen one. They didn’t know what it did. So being the great vacuum salesman that I am I proceeded to demonstrate how it worked to my neighbours. I wonder what they think of me.

A street wedding for a local boy happened over the period of a week. Lights were strung on the buildings for the festive occasion.  So I bought some LED coloured lights and put them over my doorway too. I was invited, of course, and spent brief periods of time walking the streets with the crowds, getting food and standing around just watching. I could only do short walks as every time I went out my entourage of kids followed me around and forced my attention on them.  Even though I got to eat at the wedding buffet, it still costs 100 rupees as a gift to attend. Standard fare.

I was invited to the one year birthday of Khartik, son of Ganesh from work.  At the event I was told that a woman wanted to meet me. Oh good I thought, someone to talk to who hopefully speaks English. This was the case and Bernice John, a 26 year old young woman was interested in me going to meet her father the local priest of a church just outside of Barmer.  I went to the church, met and talked with Mr. John, while enjoying an omelette his wife made for me.  The whole family speaks English. I was invited to mass on Sunday.  I’ll report on that later.

On the way to the church I had just turned the corner of my street when some local boys stopped me. I don’t usually stop for these kids and I don’t know why I did so then. But they tried to get on the bike and started pawing me and it took a while to get them away so I could safely drive off. Cutting to the chase, when I got home that evening I discovered my Leatherman multi-tool was not in my belt holder. I suspect, strongly, one of the boys lifted it from me then. I have put up a poster offering a 100 rupee reward, but so far no luck.

Still waiting for a reply for my application to do a year with VSO in China.  In any case I will return to Canada in March 2011.

I bought a book at the airport when I went to Kerala to meet with Cindy and Melissa. It’s by one of my favourite authors Arundhati Roy who some of you know wrote The God of Small Things.  This book is called Listening to Grasshoppers, Field Notes on Democracy. Wish I could recommend it, but it is just too depressing to do so.  Nevertheless, I read on.

Kerala was a lot of fun. In the short week there I got to know Cindy and her daughter Melissa as we travelled around the tea plantations and waterways.  Arundhati Roy says India is a place of many centuries and Kerala had a good mixture of the 20th century.  Much more so than Barmer has. Actually, I’m not sure the 20th century has made it to Barmer.

Anyone can carry on a conversation but it’s rare to find someone who can carry on a silence.
 - Jeff Moss

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 10.0.1170 / Virus Database: 426/3306 - Release Date: 12/09/10

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paul & Mark's October 2010 Quick Trip Specs

    Time Period: August 27th to September 19th (Mark) and 24th (Paul)

    Overall distance traveled: approximately 3,500 kilometres

    Domains encountered: smoggy city, high altitude desert, valleys, forests

    Weather Conditions: Mostly clear and sunny, cold mornings in the high altitudes, rain for a few days towards the end of the period.

    Passes passed over: Rothang La (3,980 metres/13,057 feet), Baralacha La (4,892 metres/16,050 feet),  Lachulung La, (5,065 metres/16,613 feet) Kunzam Pass (4,551 metres/14,931 feet), Jalori Pass (3,134 metres/10,282 feet), Namshang Pass (4,850 metres/15,908 feet )

    Highest Altitude reached: 5,065 metres/16,613 feet  (by comparison Mount Everest Base camp is: 5,380 metres high)

    Valleys Traveled: Kullu Valley, Lahaul Valley, Spiti Valley, Satluj Valley, Baspa Valley, Parbhati Valley, Indus River Valley, Bangor Valley

    Monasteries Meditated in: 5

    Cheapest lodging (per night): 50 rupees per bed (about $1.15 CDN)

    Most expensive lodging (per night): 600 rupees for one room (about $13.82 CDN)

    Israeli’s met: several dozen plus a few more

    Mechanical Breakdowns: 1, Paul’s clutch cable broke

    Illness and Injuries: Altitude sickness, a cold, bleeding lips, burnt nose, cut arms and legs

    Bike drops: Paul =  5 plus knocked over once by a irresponsible rampaging cow,  Mark =  1 (but the stone on the road jumped up at me!)

    Best place for a Cappuccino: any CafĂ© Coffee Day

    Animals encountered on the road (other than the human type): cows, horses, goats, sheep, quails, and ferrets, and some brown animal called a Loopku that eats the legs off of sheep (according to Paul) plus camels and peafowl (in Rajasthan on Mark’s way back)

    Landslides encountered: 10 plus (including one active one that occurred minutes before we went around the freshly fallen rock debris)

    Road Rivers driven through: 10 plus

    Hot Springs:  3     Went in:  2,   Vashisht and Kiriganga


No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 10.0.1170 / Virus Database: 426/3303 - Release Date: 12/07/10