Sunday, April 30, 2006

More from McLeod

Hey All,

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. Things have gone really well here in India for the past two months, so much so, that I have been pretty busy and have not had a ton of free time. Basically for the last two months I was in McLeod Ganj spending my days teaching English to recent arrivals from Tibet (which was a wonderful experience!!), learning Tibetan and yoga, and carrying out interviews for my project.Although my dream of interviewing H.H.D.L. did not happen (he is simply too busy-he gets so many requests and does not have enough time), I was able to interview the Tibetan Prime Minister and H.H. The Karmapa (who is considered by Tibetans to be the 3rd most important Tibetan alive). I also met many other very interesting Tibetans and westerns whom I will surely miss. Although in my previous posts I have been giving a summary of my findings in terms of my project, I cannot do so here as I have learned so much and still need time to synthesize it all, so you will all have to wait to read about it in my book. Yes that is write, I have decided, assuming that all my photos come out well, that I want to write a book about my findings as nobody else has done so on my topic and I would feel incredibly selfish if I did not give back in some way after this incredible year that I have benn given.

So anyway, a few days ago I left McLeod Ganj and I am now in Darjeeling (the world capital of tea) where I am hoping to interview Tibetans who do not actually speak Tibetan, to understand from their perspective what the essence of Tibetan culture is. This should prove to be interesting as most Tibetans I have spoken to tell me that the Tibetan language is the most important aspect of Tibetan culture. The question then arises, is one not a Tibetan if they do not actually speak Tibetan? Some Tibetans would surely say no, but I would disagree. But I am getting ahead of myself, you can read all about this topic in my book at some point in the future when I actually write it.

So, I am planning on being here in Darjeeling for about a week and then I am heading to Sikkim. Because I am not able to go to Bhutan because it is way too expensive, I have decided that Sikkim would be the next best thing. So after a few weeks there I will be heading to Tibet (via Hong Kong) on June 1st.

So then, I have kept this blog entry shorter (as many of you have said that they are usually too long). And I have included some photos (which many of you have been requesting) that I took with a friends digital camera. They are all of McLeod Ganj (or the surrounding area). There are some from a hike I took, some of some Australian friends I met, some of monkeys caught up in meditation, and other random shots. My favorite is of a friend of mine who decided that the best way to wash his clothes was to wear them while taking a shower :)

Hope everyone is well,
Chris