15.06.2009 - 13.07.2009 25 °C
I am now going to break a taboo I have kept since the beginning of this trip: I am going to write about my love life. Not because I feel a sudden need for emotional exhibitionism, but because I think it is necessary to understand what is going on in this period of time.
I met Bomi sometime in early June on the terrace of the Carpe Diem Restaurant. She was studying Chinese. I looked at her, she looked at me, smiled and said “Hi”. Classical start. In the course of the next couple of weeks I took care of her during a throat infection and she helped me go through the ordeal of getting a new passport and credit card. She also showed me how to spin the Poi (something she's pretty good at), nearly kicked my ass at chess, decided to correct my posture and explained to me how my taste in clothing is more or less a lost cause. In short we got pretty close. So I decided to stay in Dharmsala for the rest of my stay instead of traveling around. She was doing a one year volunteering job for the Environmental Desk of the Tibetan Governmental Office. Her Tibetan colleagues were very interested in my expertise and I spent some time explaining the various parts of the climate system to them. I could have made a much better job if the head scientist I talked to in March had put me in contact with these guys back then. Oh, well. Anyway, Bomi and I had one hell of a time together, but the day came when my passport was ready in Delhi and my visa was running out. Decision time. One of the reasons I fell in love with Bomi is that she's very independent and quite strong willed. Unfortunately this means that she was not willing to change her travel plans to follow me around. Oh, the irony! I love her because she decides not to stay with me. So I left for Delhi and she left for Ladakh where she intends to spend some months. In Delhi I stayed at my Tibetan lama friend's place again. I got the new passport and I got a stamp from the Indian authorities that enables me to leave the country. I left Delhi for Varanasi where I will stay a couple days before continuing for Kolkata, from where I will fly to Bangkok on July 20th (I also already bought a ticket from Bangkok to Phnom Penh for August 10th for 42 US$!). For 18 months I have been traveling East and felt good about it. Now for the first time I feel I am going in the wrong direction. I have now three competing voices inside me: My heart says “Go to Thailand, take a new Indian visa and go back! You were happy with her, why go further?”. My brain says “Come on, you're only half way to Canada. You can't stop now! Think of all the awaiting adventures in South America! And stop goofing around, you'll never get a job if you don't get to Canada reasonably soon!”. And finally my wallet says “Dude, you don't even have enough to make it to Canada. Get your ass as fast as possible to Japan or South Korea and find a job there for a few months”.
What to do, what to do?
Here are some last pictures from Dharmsala:
This was at an AIDS awareness concert. The concert itself sucked, but it was very entertaining watching the guy who was responsible for the lights. He spent most of the time illuminating this tree in various colors instead of doing stuff on the scene. India... When at long last the equipment seems to work, you can be sure that the crew will screw things up :-D
These guys travel around with an elephant. I could tell I stayed in India long enough today because I passed an elephant on the street without noticing it (the Israeli guy I was walking with just arrived so he drew my attention to it).
This was at the Karmapa Lama's residence during his birthday. Bomi and I especially made the trip, but we arrived too late because the Tibetans start the day much earlier than we used to.
This is at the Norbulinka Tibetan Arts Institute. This is one of the centers in India that try to save the knowledge of Tibetan art traditions (especially the making of tangkas).
This is one of the murals at the Carpe Diem. I like the art. I spent countless hours on the terrace of this restaurant.