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Singing Bowls!

25th November 2011

Sneaking in for breakfast

around 9am Buddha and headed for Bouddha Temple for breakfast. Technically, you are meant to pay for parking and go through the front gate where tourists pay to enter. But Buddha knew a back route to a little Tibetan tea shop on the edge of the temple. It was definately a locals hang out. Unfortunately they were all out of salty Tibetan tea, awww schucks…. so had to have normal sweet Nepali tea to go along with our freshly baked Tibetan bread, almost like roti. It was a perfect start to the day.

Breakfast Tibetan Style

My Search for a Singing Bowl

After breakfast it was time to find the shop I had seen on my first day in Kathmandu when Buddha had brought me here the first time, it was time to find the bowl that would sing for me.

When I told people I was going to Nepal, everyone said “great, where are you going to trek?”. My reply was always “Trek? I am going to find my singing bowl.” This was often answered with “Singing what???”. Yes, since the first time I saw one of these bowls I have wanted one, but promised myself I would only get one when I visited Nepal. For those who aren’t sure what the heck I am talking about, here is some explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:

Singing bowls (also known as Tibetan Singing Bowls, rin gongs, Himalayan bowls or suzu gongs) are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic). According to singing bowl researcher Joseph Feinstein, singing bowls were traditionally used in Asia and the tradition of making sound with bronze bowls could go back 3,000 or more years to the Bronze Age.

I had searched for one in almost every shop I had visited in Kathmandu and Pokara and had found none that would sing for me. The guy at this shop had been very helpful the first time and gave me excellent information. As I walked in he recognized me and was very happy to take his time and help me find the perfect bowl. Many bowls seem more intricate and decorated, but are also made by machine. He recommended one of the hand made older ones and I finally found her, and she sang beautifully. She even had Om Mani Padme Hum, the Buddhist chant, in graved on it in Sanscript. I barely had to touch her side with the wooden stick to make her sing.

I also bought a small one for my mom, I wish I could have bought more if I had had the space.

I was given the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum and thought I would share it, exactly how it was written:
OM: I invoke the path and experience of universality so that…
MANI: the jeweline luminosity of my immortal mind,
PADME: be unjoled within the depths of the lotus centre of my awakeness consciousness….
HUM: and be wafted by the ecstasy of breaking through all bonds and horizons.

Got to love it when things are translated into English.

People Watching

I could sit and watch people at Boudha Temple all day long. Its fascinating to see them walk by and often makes you wonder what their story is. Here are a few of my favorites:

Old Friends


Sri Lankan monk on a pilgrimage, looking for donations


I would love to hear her story


One of my favorite photos


2 Ladies of Tibet, the striped apron is moved to the front after they are married

Kapan Gumba Monastery

After finding my singing bowl and walking around Boudha a few times we got back on the bike and headed into what could be called the “suburbs”. Beautiful big houses out this way. Buddha used to come camping out here when he was growing up, before the city spread this far. He wanted to take me to Kapan Gumba a Tibetan Monastery, apparently quite beautiful. Unfortunately it was closed for the month due to a workshop on Buddhism for foreigners. As we were walking to the gate I heard a South African accent. Turns out the woman was not only from SA but from Durban, my area. You never know who you are going to meet where. We felt the connection instantly and chatted for a while before the bells called her in to more class.

That afternoon, we went to four different cinemas in search of a movie Buddha wanted to watch, but they were either full or had already started. So in the end we just headed back to relax and to play with my singing bowl.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Final Day in Pokhara

17th November 2011

Taekwondo at Sunrise

I started my last day in Pokhara by waking up at 5.45am and meeting Garaub so he could take me to watch his taekwondo class. He was so excited that I was finally coming to watch. About 9 kids were there already and started doing warm ups with 2 of the higher belts leading the way. A few minutes later the master showed up. He seemed a little nervous to see me and apologised profusely for not having his uniform on, but that he hadn’t known I would be coming that morning. Then he made me stand in front of the class and introduced me, making all 9 kids bow to me. It has been such a long time since I have been involved with taekwondo and it felt really good. For those of you who don’t know, I lived in Seoul, Korea for 3yrs and earned my 2nd degree black belt while I was there. It is a sport that is still very close to my heart, as it taught me lot of confidence and so much more.

I stood and watched the kids trying not to fall asleep (too many movies the night before), they were doing great and the master tried his best to teach the whole class in English for my benefit, and occasionally to the confusion of some of the kids. The highlight of the class was when he had a couple of the kids show off their sparring skills. He has some good potential in that class. He was a very humble man and tried his best to do good by the kids, by day he would take tourists across the lake and some other side jobs. He was very interested in my opinion of his teaching and seemed pleased when I said it was a great class. We took some photos and as we walked he asked if it was possible to help out with buying some equipment. I said I would try but couldn’t make any promises. As Garaub and I walked home for some tea, Garaub asked me what the master asked me for, he was rather embarressed that he had wanted something and insisted that I did not have to buy anything, it was kind of sweet to see him so indignant, repeating that I was like a sister and did not take me to the class to try get me to provide financial aid. If possible I will help, but it is unlikely as the equipment would need to be bought in Kathmandu and then somehow sent by bus to Pokhara with no guarantee of arriving.

Taekwondo Class – Garaub is 2nd from the right in the front

Bacon Roasty

After tea with Laxmi I headed for a nap as it was barely 7am. Then headed to Fewa Restaurant for my regular breakfast and blog time. I decided to try their Bacon Roasty with cheesy hashbrowns, on Roger’s (who was here a year ago) recommendation. It was delicious, wish I had discovered it earlier. It was also very rich and so made sure I at least finished the important part…BACON!! Somewhere in the back of my mind there is concern about ordering meat in developing countries, but then when it comes down to it, sometimes its worth the risk for the taste!

After breakfast I picked up a few last minute things and then headed back to the hotel to pack and sort. Returning to Laxmi’s I bought another top and a few other smaller items and then helped her adjust the hem of one of the pants I bought.

Laxmi sister

Back at the hotel I met a couple from Australia, both of them engineers working on a project for Engineers Without Borders. They were about to head out on their motorbike to do some touring. I gave them some advice from the places I had been the day before and we decided to meet for dinner later that evening.

For lunch I met Gaurab and Laxmi and headed to the Tibetan restaurant for momo’s. I wanted to treat them to something as thanks for adopting me and treating me like family, when mine was so far away. They were both so excited as I don’t think they get to go out that often. They both ordered banana lassi’s, a selection of momo’s and I had a lemon soda (fresh lemon juice with soda water, my new favorite).

Laxmi, Gaurab and me at Tibetan Restaurant

Afterwards I gave Gaurab a hug in farewell, he got a little emotional but seemed to listen to me when I made him promise to study hard and listen to his mother. I think he had got attached and used to having me around, I will miss my little brother and his wonderful mother, my sister.

World Politics

Had a glorious hot shower, scrubbed down, shaved and chilled out a bit. Hearing voices outside I went to investigate and discovered one of the Aussie engineers chatting with a guy from Luxemburg. We quickly fell into a discussion about world politics, Africa, China and much more. There is something to be said about the ease at which world travelers fall into conversation with each other and discuss things bigger than themselves and yet we all seem to see the answers, and they seem so simple.

All this talk of saving the world made us hungry so the engineers and I headed to the Tibetan restaurant for momos. Oh so yummy. The conversations morphed into life experiences, jobs and travel adventures, one of my favorite things to do when I meet like minded folks.

Early to bed as there was another grueling bus trip starting at 6am. My friend Buddha promised to meet me at the bus in Kathmandu and take me out to dinner. Pokhara has been great but I am really hoping to the sun in Kathmandu…


The Closest to Sunshine in 5 days

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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