Posts Tagged ‘Nature’
I’m stealing a moment of this short pit stop to update on the last days’ experience.
I’m afraid if I don’t it will be too overwhelming to convey later. Already five days into the Southern African trip I have witnessed more nature and wildlife than in my thirty years.
I have showered in the spray of the amazing Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, walked with lions, seen flocks of giraffes, elephants, impalas and zebras, ridden canoes into the depths of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, only a few metres from the the worlds most dangerous animal, the hippo, and swam in the same waters as crocodiles.
I have slept in primitive bush camps, under million of stars and walked in fields glowing from fireflies. I have cruised silently amongst water lilies with my fingers resting in the smooth sweet water, my face smiling towards the sun, and laughed with my fellow travellers.
I have spent long hours in our overland truck, gazing out on the landscape that seem to change from trees to sand the closer we get to Namibia and I have reflected on my life, like one always does in states of travelling.
Thoughts without any final destination.
I have been sitting here starring at a blank page for ten minutes because frankly, words fall flat to the beauty I’ve witnessed in the last couple of days.
Walking amongst the giant ruins and rocks of Hampi, relics of ancient kingdoms and temples, one is transcended to another realm where time and space might exist, but simply lose its meaning.
Hampi is a piece of heaven on Earth.
It is also a piece of quiet in India.
And after leaving Varkala for Allepey, making a house boat river cruise of the backwaters, catching another train via Cochin to Calicut, surviving the roller coaster bus rides between the hills and mountains of Wayanad, getting off at the wrong bus stop and deciding to impulsively jump on a wild life safari, spotting a wild elephant amongst other impressive animals, getting sick again at an ayuervedic centre and spending three days in Mysore in a rickshaw going from one sari and silk shop to another…(and of course I have tons of photos of all this that I will show you when I have decent Internet speed)
Three days in Hampi has been a beautiful breather.
It has given me an opportunity to reflect and my sore neck to recover and we have met some lovely people that we are traveling onwards with.
Our twelve hour night bus to Goa leaves in three hours. Let’s hope it doesn’t brake down like the last one did after just 20 minutes.
And if for any reason it does, and I for any reason don’t make it to Goa, I know Heaven is a beautiful place.
I know it’s tempting to want to get up on those friendly looking elephant’s backs, bumping along the roads of Thailand, feeling like you are transferred to another time, connected with nature and the wild. And I don’t judge, I’ve ridden an elephant myself.
But think twice before you support a tourism industry that is torturing these elephants and literally ‘crushing’ (that is the term used to tame the elephants) natural instincts and will power.
Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary park north of Chiang Mai where 32 elephants that have been beaten, abused or abandoned, are taken care of and given a better life.
If you are around, please pay a visit!
With the flow of the last couple of days, I caught a boat back to Bali…
I got off the boat in Amed on the East coast without knowing where I was going next. But water seemed to be the element at the moment, so I caught a bemo to Tirtagangga, meaning “holy river”, much like the Ganges in India, but without the dirt and flocks of people.
In Tirtagangga the river flows freely from the mountains, down the rice fields, into a Palace of Water.
In Tirtagangga the mountain backdrop shelter the green valleys, where thousands of birds sing as the palm trees swing.
In Tirtagganga, the sound of guitars and drums from the local sidewalk Warung merge with the sound of crickets and frogs and roosters.
In Tirtagangga I made friends with Budhi who took me around the rice field and let me stay in his beautiful bungalow overlooking the peaceful valley for a real good price, where his aunt made the best Nasi Goreng.
I also had the best vanilla and pineapple milkshake, several Bintang beers, a beautiful evening with the locals and three Dutch girls, discussed the changes of the World with a young English guy, talked about love and the spirit of God with my new friend Budhi, tried speaking Indonesian with his aunt, showered in the holy spring river, rode a scooter in the night and watched the lights of a hundred fireflies glowing across the fields.
In Tirtagangga I caught a glimpse of paradise.
And that remains within me forever.
As much as I love Ubud’s lush landscape and big green rice fields, I’m really missing the sea.
Not to mention a tan…
So I booked a trip to Gili Islands. I leave tomorrow morning at 7 a.m, with a minibus to Padang Bai and from there I take Gili Cat fast boat. I haven’t booked a place to stay yet but I hear there are lots of nice bungalows and B&B, although somewhat pricy.
The idea came a little sudden and actually, I still have unused classes left at the Yoga Barn, but my plan now is to come back to Ubud, for at least a day or two, before I leave Bali.
And actually, that saves me a lot of trouble because I’ve bought a few things that I need to send home and one is a painting which I really don’t want to drag around on Gili.
The painting is a birthday gift to myself. It’s a beautiful portrait of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of education and learning. Saraswati means ‘she who has flow’ and in her four arms she hold symbols of music, poetry, eternal learning and universal wisdom. The painter wrote ‘happy bird-day’ on the wrapping. How cute is that?!
The place I have been staying for a week, a family run homestay, has promised to take care of this for me, until I return and I know I can trust them.
I will miss waking up to the sounds of birds in the garden and having breakfast at my porch with Boo, the dog at my side.
But I hear the sounds of the ocean calling…
Now, my second advice for anyone visiting Ubud (along with the yoga centres, temples, spas, art galleries and endless craft shops…) is to head out to The Green School.
Now, I’m not even going to try to convey this idea. The founder John Hardy does it much better in his TED talk.
And do go for the guided tour if you ever have a change. And give a huge support!
Ja visst gör det ont när knoppar brister.
Varför skulle annars våren tveka?
Varför skulle all vår heta längtan
bindas i det frusna bitterbleka?
Höljet var ju knoppen hela vintern.
Vad är det för nytt, som tär och spränger?
Ja visst gör det ont när knoppar brister,
ont för det som växer
och det som stänger.
Ja nog är det svårt när droppar faller.
Skälvande av ängslan tungt de hänger,
klamrar sig vid kvisten, sväller, glider -
tyngden drar dem neråt, hur de klänger.
Svårt att vara oviss, rädd och delad,
svårt att känna djupet dra och kalla,
ändå sitta kvar och bara darra -
svårt att vilja stanna
och vilja falla.
Då, när det är värst och inget hjälper,
Brister som i jubel trädets knoppar.
Då, när ingen rädsla längre håller,
faller i ett glitter kvistens droppar
glömmer att de skrämdes av det nya
glömmer att de ängslades för färden -
känner en sekund sin största trygghet,
vilar i den tillit
som skapar världen.
A great reminder from the inspiring, beautiful, wise and wonderful Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai that sadly passed away today, to always, always, do the best to our own capacity.