Friday, August 31, 2007

Pray...

If you are religious person - then pray for me. If not just send me positive vibes - while I try to figure out school for the fall [it's really crazy!]- + the next 30hrs is in transit back to India + money is low so I am eating one meal a day + I definitely have a bug from Kolkata, everything I eat comes out [in some bad form] + finishing NGO report from Nepal =
On the plus side I feel really happy...but really nervous about it all...

--
http://www.freedomizeindia.com
http://www.whereintheworldisjam.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I love emails like this...

My dear Jam,

now I am here in Dubai and I still see the picture of Friday night when we said good by in this ugly noisy street and you went away, your head down, not looking back. I felt very sad and at this moment and stood there for al longer time in that street. I knew that you are definetly one of my most valuable (do you say so?) and important man I met on my trip. Maybe it sounds strange ... but I really miss you, Jam.

Thanks for the good time we spend together and thanks for the good conversations.

Theo
 
It reminds me of the reason why I travel - why this is all worth it. I saw Theo almost everyday for 3 weeks while in Tibet - sometimes for a quick 15 min cup of coffee - or for 5 days on my trek... I learnt alot from this man about financial planning, life and he counselled me on many great struggles I had during my time in Lhasa...
It's weird to see him go and not potentially see him ever again - now I am in Pokhara riding a boat/writing reports and he is on a motorcycling biking across Iran - what a strange connection the world weaves...
 
Miss ya buddy
 
Blessings
Jam
 
 
 

ummm... so where do I check my paddle...

It's been a crazy day today - I went to bed around 1am working on this project. Got up at 5.30am to head out of Kathmandu - I really need to leave otherwise I would get sucked into another life... The bus to Pokhara was suppose to leave at 7am but we left at 8am and arrived in town at 3pm... a good 2hrs+ late but still on time for Nepal.
 
When I arrived this place seemed a little tooo touristy for me - too much hippie hotels and restaurants - but absolutely stunning...the lake is amazing and peacefully... so as usually I just grab all my gear [this time I had an extra bag of books/reports] and went for a 45mins in the heat until I found some sweet cottages by the water - unfortunately the mass Israeli camp beat me there first - so I started again and 10 mins later ended up at a hotel exhausted and ready to have my breakfast/lunch on the lake [they are now one meal] ....
Just when I thought it would be impossible to find something quiet on the lake ....I spot a cute house across the lake and enquired at the hotel about the owner - apparently they own it - it's cheap and empty.
 
A guy came to pick me up in a boat and we paddled across the lake. The house is amazingly/cheap and the best part of it... it doesn't' have a road into town. So I have to paddle into town everyday! I love it! and PLUS they gave me my own boat!! ... which is quite awesome and when I boated into town this afternoon - I was kinda wondering - where do I put my paddle?
 
Man I have the best luck finding hotels - I love not using guidebooks - I should write my own.
peace+
jam

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fear. Part 2.

I don't like it - taking the next several days to think about it. Tonite is also my last nite in Kathmandu - so this makes the transisition easier for me before I head home.

Side note ::
The last 24 hrs have been extremely exhausting - I have spent most of it in meetings planning for next year's trip. Meeting with Program Directors, Directors of ??, Staff and local community leaders... I got alot of information about I am quite excited, but I am truly exhausted and relieved that it is all over - now to process these meetings on paper and submit it for a proposal to the Toronto NGO for approval.
Now this is the hard part and I made a promise to have it ALL done in the next 4 days!!! - my last proposal in Nov was 30 pages...

How the heck am I going to do this in 3 days? Me and my big mouth [as they say in Trini...]

One of the cool pluses that happened today was meeting a German writer who overhead our NGO meeting - we spent a while chatting after and he wants to include me in include me in his new NGO book!  He loves the unique trips that I run and is willing to fly over after he finishes his next book to interview me.... it all sounds really exciting and I would love to connect him to some other people I know that do some AMAZING work - my head has a huge list.

Weird day - but then this is me...

peace in fear [sounds weird]
jam

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fear.

I love it. It's a scarry and exhilariting event to be in complete fear when you know you are in a safe environment...but today I am scared - unable to move and sometimes even breathe...it's complex.

The "book" in 1st John 4 > that I should shun fear and choose love instead. 
Rent [the musical] > Main theme is to "give into love or live in fear"
I don't have a clue what buddha thinks...

Now I am off to face it - in the face of a terrifying phone call.

Sidenote :: I don't want to be in Kathmandu [this is not part of the fear] - I rather not be here at all, but I am planning out a trip for a Toronto NGO next year and so here I am here sitting at the computer - look at schedules, reports and planning out some future events. Tomorrow I meet with the NGO director and then take a sample tour of the community. I requested to do this undercover - so know one knows who I am... this is all going to be fun and in theory ALL of this should be fun - but instead I wish I was in Lhasa learning tibetan and smiling with people... that country got me.

peace+
jam


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Edgy...

Since being back in Kathmandu - I started to notice that I have been a bit edgy lately. I really miss Tibet alot - the culture, the religion, food,friends and my bike.

This is starting to show and the big city of Nepal is slowly getting to me ::

A couple nites ago someone offered my some drugs [which is a normal thing in backpacker hippie areas] I usually put up my hand or just walk away - but then the offer came for a women and then a kid and that irked me. I asked him again just to make sure... and he repeated it - we had a quick exchange of words that were more unpleasant on his side... so I grabbed his shirt and pushed him up against the car.
"No - don't ever ask me that again, or I will kick your ass - do you hear me?"
"I am not scared of you - what can you do?"
Then suddenly I am surrounded by 5 + men [all short young Nepalis]

His words became unpleasant and then i realized that he was completely drugged out... but I didn't back down and then I mentioned some police, NGO groups that work with children and some other crazy things in my perfect Cdn accent. I was starting to get scared inside but at the same time I was totally upset - and for some reason I kinda felt time stood still..

One of the other men came up to me and clearly said that he didn't want any trouble...and then I slowly backed off...told him to NEVER ask me that again.

It's funny because I haven't seen that group since in the past two days and i am quite relieved about it....because I don't know what I would do if I did.... this is the world and it's a bit frightening...

peace+
jam

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back in Nepal...

The ride was INSANE. One of the craziest and most beautiful jeep rides that I have ever taken in my life - I thought I was going to die several times over - soooo much fun, pain and torture at the same time. At one point our jeep almost toppled over the cliff - have some video that is quite amazing to see...
 
I love that my journey took 3 days instead of 1 - I wore the same clothes for 3 days, ate 2 meals and didn't poo once... but I took a billion pics and had alot of laughs + I also saved alot of money [which I don't have...] by hitchin/cheapin' it through with my tibetan friend...
Less money means more adventure and Tibet was everything that I own in my life - from the little I made this summer - but soooo worth it. You have to spend money to plan these future trips and learn so that others don't make the same mistake.
 
I seriously can't wait to do it again.
 
It's good to be back in Nepal - looking forward to connecting for some NGO work and being here before means that I can do it cheaper + old friends that I meet in Tibet, India and everywhere else - it seems that the world is here for the next 3 days. I am going to be really busy...
 
Now going to have a solid meal for the first time in days...
 
Uploading pics soon - got several email request for em'
 
peace+
jam
 
Oh!!! Listen to this - thanks dr/ for the link - I LOVE THE STARS!
The night stars here...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quick Departure :: Stuck on the border...

I love Tibet/China - things can happen fast and at random.  Due to transport issues and my the ever impending day of Visa expiry... I had to leave Lhasa 2/3 days early.  I found out 8 hrs before I had to leave and I didn't have time to mentally prepare myself.
 
I sat in my bed and cried the nite before I left - I didnt want to leave...
 
I was just getting in the groove of actually understanding Tibetan - making proper sentences.  I had proper Tibetan friends that I would teach English too, go cruising on their motorcycle around the city, I started to recognize local and have proper conversations with people... potential long term plans emerged with foreigners and locals .... then I also left my Lhasa friend - my heart broke in this city of smiles and love.
 
I do have to admit the long ride home [which was suppose to take a day] has now turned into three days - which is concidentally when my Visa is over [rumor has it china charges you 50 yuan - 7US an hr for an over due visa]  The scenery is spectacular the best that I have ever seen... and I even saw Mt. Everest in full this morning.
 
So I am stuck in a small village - waiting for the landslide/road repair to finish so I can head back to Nepal - will write more soon. Very soon.
 
In the meantime enjoy the pic - our jeep on the mountains and then a random blue truck full of school children.
 
Peace - shit truck leaving have trooooo run...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

long live the ipod...

I seriously have the worst Ipod luck in the world - it seems that every year I have to go through a new ipod. Last year my ipod broke on my way back from a month long meditation retreat and then it was stolen in Thailand along with 6 months worth of pics and podcasts. [I never back up ANYTHING on my ipod after that and then realized that all those silly extra contraptions are just a waste of time and money] 
 
A couple days before I was heading out my friend got this crazy new phone high tech phone and decided he didn't need his shuffle. I took it even before he had the chance to think twice about it .... Loaded it with feist,rent,bss,s. steven and fworship.  The shuffle worked well and in my opinion it's the best ipod for me - I don't need 10,000 songs and I love the random feature - however after 4 months of the same music I kinda got bored a bit and then faith stepped in...
 
I left my shuffle at the internet cafe here in Lhasa and the next day when I returned it was still here but unfortunately all the music was erased and then I later found out it's just corrupted and wouldn't boot up on anything... I am a bit vexed - this is my 6th ipod and well nothing seems to be working for me...
 
Yesterday I gave it to my Lhasa friend - she claims she's a nerd and has an ibook to prove it. I am hopefully that I get it back in working order...
 
peace+
jam
 
Oh! It's raining here alot - so for those long rainy nites [everything closes early here - well everything nice that is :>] I purchased a wicked ass DVD player for $25 - the complete season of heroes [everyone keeps raving about it] for $10, 24 and lost and well just started to catch up on North American culture - it's been crazy to watch tv from 11pm - 3am everynite and then wakeup early for class and stuff but I love it! Save the cheerleader - save the world!
A friend joined me last nite and we watched the 1st season of lost - it's kinda crazy to really be that behind on a tv show, but I love TV that challenges the soul... 

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Trekking...

I signed up for a 5 day trek which was pretty damn awesome. The scenery was simple stunning...Everytime I turned a different direction I was left breathless - and yes being 5000m up didn't actually help with breathing either.

I went with 3 other people that I meet on my trip to Lhasa - a german who is biking around the world, an amazing spaniard [that has done EVERYTHING under the sun], and an Egyptian Londoner who just finished a stint of traditionally tribal hut building in Kashmir .... all together we represented the UN and we had a shit load of laughs and fun.

I immediately fell in love with the yaks - they are amazing creatures that keep chewing while giving milk + they can win any ultimate starring competition. In the pic you can see how beautifully they are dressed and the owners treat them with the ultimate respect.

During the trek I realized how out of shape I was... especially on the 2nd day after our 9hr hike + 1 litre of water + 5000m up [the highest I have ever been] = one really sick jam.  The third day was ultimately better, but with the views and amazingly clean air I couldn't stay sick for long...
By day 4 all was normal the altitude adjustment was already in my blood - it's kinda funny that I could bike for hrs at 3000m with no problems but going uphill I just get breathless and feel really dizzy...

My Lhasa friend and I are heading to a lesser known nunnery this weekend with some hotsprings and I am excited...but not excited to leave Lhasa I love it here ALOT.

peace+
jam

So what does Jam do all day?

I decided to take pics of my day and kinda compile them...however I can't access my blog here in China/Tibet and posting via another method - so here are the descriptions....

This is my hotel - it has a unique spot in Lhasa as it used to be the home of "the man's" teacher, it's got a cool vibe, solar power on the roof, a cool library and the staff are ridiculously super friendly... I am in love with this place.

This is my ASS bike - I got it for $15 [and later found out I payed $5 tooo much] however it's cheaper than renting a bike for $3 a day. It has a basket, a bell and squeaky brakes but I love it dearly and when I left for my 5 day trek I gave it to my Lhasa friend [who is 1/2 way through her 6 month stint] and now she LOVES biking in Lhasa.
I love encouraging people to bike!

This is my classroom at the university. I signed up for Tibetan classes for a couple hrs a day [the alphabet is DAMN hard] - the clock is my teacher's - he is an artist and is quite funny!

After class I usually bike the nunnery [I really miss any nuns..] they have a really nice restaurant and for 50cents I get and endless supply of tea and some momo's. The Tibetans that eat there are really super friendly and sometimes I spend an hr or 2 just chatting with em...recapping my Tibetan lessons, talking about hidden places to visit - while they secretly make fun of my long Indian nose.

Then I usually spend an hr or two biking around every nook of Lhasa trying to catch up on sites and hotels for a possible trip next year. It's really fun work. During an out of the way bike ride I found this potential amazing bookshelf...Another day I biked to monastery in which monks debate in public about monk "stuff"...

After I usually end the day with friends that I meet in Lhasa or on my trek - these days it's been a mixture of Tibetans [yesterday I drank 2 litres of sweet tea just chatting with em' and felt ill] and some local NGO workers which are quite amazing...

I have been really blessed to be able to spend 3 weeks in Lhasa and actually get to know people and places personally. I kinda wish my Visa wasn't for a month otherwise I would be extremely tempted to stay here for a very long time...
Too me it's really a slice of heaven.

peace+
jam




Monday, August 13, 2007

Listening to Mocky - and a day of blogging and pics!!!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=52656054

I thinka I heard a feist?

Will be posting alot of stories and pics today... so excited to share about the past week it's been adventurous and fun!

peace+
jam


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

this one jam...

not all the lyrics are true.... :> love the song...

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=123823239

Trekking...

Off to a 5 day trek in the mountains - a bit excited to see monasteries, mountains, rivers and spend time hanging out with yaks. I had a yak steak last nite - lets see if I can do that after spending 4 days with em'

I am actually quite sad to leave Lhasa - I seriously don't want to go - there is sooo much things to do...

Today I biked to Sera Monastery - it's a monastery where monks debate and it's quite and intense site to see monks shouting at each other - I don't know if it is real or staged but regardless it's a crazily amazing site to witness...
I got lost on the way to the monastery and spent 2 hrs biking in the wrong direction - I saw alot of army trucks and even a tank that was stopping vehicles on a 45 minute circular route...At one point the tank stopped when it spotted me and I ducked into a store for some quick tea and decided I must be heading in the wrong direction...so I just turned around...and quickly headed back...

On the way back I picked up a school kid who jumped on the back of my bike for 10 mins as we went a crazy speed downhill...he just kept laughing and I just repeated Hindi phrases to pass off as an India tourist.

All of this is quite fun and really a good distraction from some crazy moments that I face daily in my life...

BTW>>> Someone asked me recently "What is your favourite song"
The answer is "Will I lose my dignity?" by Jonathon Larson - it's from the musical Rent and the back story of it is amazing...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_I%3F --- check it out ---

--
http://www.freedomizeindia.com
http://www.whereintheworldisjam.com

Monday, August 06, 2007

Life is Lhasa

I have to admit that my life is pretty good here in Lhasa.
The hotel that I am staying at use to belong to the Dala Lamai's old teacher and has the historic feeling to it - in fact there is no locks on the inside just old wooden slates that slide across...
There is a brown cat that I kinda feel in love with - [I nicknamed it panchen :>]
Free Laundry and amazing guest from around the world and tibet....

A couple days ago I purchased [that's right!] a kick ass bike [with a bell and basket] and now I bicycle everywhere around Lhasa.  I love winding through the old corridors + the HUGE bike lanes [hurray China Urban planning!}

I usually eat lunch at a nunnery which consist of a flask of tea, some momos and again endless conversation.  Most people think that I Nepali and they just LOVE to engage me in conversation, when they find out that I am not...

So the group trip is over and some of us still hang out for dinner and the occasionally good meal. My hotel has a kitchen which is quite amazing and so last nite I made a wicked salad, the German philiopshy cooked a yak steak, the Egyptian and Mexican brought fruits and some cheap ass wine - all on the roof of my hotel...

Then the most amazing thing happened :: the skies went cloudy to the east... a double rainbow appeared which turned the green hills to white with snow and then the light show appeared...
A digital camera and my storytelling abilities doesn't do it justice...

So I hope this pic [please firewall Chinese Government show this pic...] Taken by Brendan on our group trip - with his kick ass camera...

peace+
jam

Will try to post more pics and stories - if this blog goes through...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A real post...

Tibet is insane. I cry alot inside and sometimes the pain continues...and then I meet a Tibetan and I just see love, compassion and tolerance - it kinda overwhelmns me at times...

Just getting to Tibet was quite fun - I signed up for a massive group tour [something that I RARELY EVER do], it's the cheapest way to get into the country [flying is double the cost and half the fun] and then I found out that I was travelling with 36 people for 8 days....ummm...I was not impressed but then after meeting the folks - they TOTALLY ROCK.

Amazingly Rock:
There are two germans who are biking around the world for charity - http://triparoundtheworld.de/
Australian - DJ and games master - we did some really cool group games
A couple girls from Krakow poland - my next fave destination in the EU - I have to go there...
An Egyptian Londoner who reminds me of an old friend I dearly miss...
A frenchie doing his PHD in Tibetan Meditation
And even a Marxist from the West end in Toronto....
And sooo much more...

It's funny because I don't think we all like the big group thingy and sitting on a tourist bus high above everyone is not my thing - I like taking local transport and connecting with people along the way... That was the only pet peeve I had about the trip.  

So it was amazing just to connect with these folks and I learnt sooooooooo much...it was actually quite fun, unpredictable and amazingly insightful - I don't regret it for a second and was totally happy to be proven wrong.

There is sooo much to talk about and I will write more about my experiences over the next couple days...

peace+
jam

BTW>>

I just found out 2 days ago that I didn't get into school for the fall....it's kinda funny since I gave up the dream job in Uganda to go back to school - honestly thinking that I would get in...so this is kinda unexpected for me and now I kinda have to figure out the fall situation....so I am going to spend a couple days on the internet sorting out stuff...they also have skype here so expect a call or two. 
Little Lisa you are very hard person to get a whole off...

Test....

For  some reason I can't access my blog in China - actually anybody's blog...so I am testing this while on the phone with 3xj...
I hope this works mate.

jam