Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Back to mumbai for a flight....

So if I was at all worried about coming home 5 days of serious diarrhea, a body swollen with bed bugs bites, temperatures soaring well over 40 degrees and the only rude people in all of India (of course I'm talking about the owners of the Salvation Army hostel in Mumbai) are making things a little easier.

Some of it was my own fault - going to a wedding in the slum and dancing my head off for hours without having eaten anything for days can cause the human body to give up on itself the next day. 36hrs of fevered, sweaty, hallucinogenic sleep though and I'm able to eat a little bit.

I was due to be a dancer in Bollywood but just before I was introduced to the female heroine I had to dissapear to the toilet urgently. Bummer. And never returned to do any filming. :( Tonight I hopefully move into the slums for one final stay with my buddy and family there.

Here are a few pics

Mumbai and goodbye

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Protests and fun

Protest and trip to Delhi

(Click as normal for more...)

Other than playing music every day going hard core at a protest to free tibet and teaching English to monks life's been very simple.

I've started on my way home now.... 8days to go.

Monday, 8 March 2010

And I thought I wouldn't get to see Tibet

MCCloud Ganj

(As ever click and view all.....)

My last few weeks in India have been dedicated to purification. Yoga every day, cycling in the mountains, eating Mo mo’s the food of Gods and the Deli Lama – who’s ever present in his adopted new home after the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Mcloud Ganj.

Snow topped mountains surround this bustling village with monks flowing like a river through the centre in their blood red gowns. It’s not the first time these monks have seen rivers of blood – slaughter, torture and assault were daily life in Tibet and still is to an extent. Most refugees here have a harrowing story to tell.

My 2nd day here a monk ran into me saying he’d had a dream about me the previous night – a guy in yellow on a bike – and the Deli Lama told him to find me. He invited me to dinner and told me of his days of torture and then gave me a bag full of gifts that I couldn’t refuse. I still have no idea what on earth happened for those few hours – very strange indeed.

My other exposure to the Monks was cycling up the huge hill – the monks gave me high fives all the way to the top!! Awesome!! And motivating.

Other than that I’ve been playing small instruments with a cool gang, helping out a little with programs here to help the refugees (I start teaching English in a few days).

Yoga continues to be pain upon pain, as do the continuous hills on the bike. But I’m looking fresh and feeling fresher and really beginning to look forward to seeing everyone back home. :)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Holi Sh*t!!

Holi Shit
(Click to have your brains blown away with colour (and smiles)!!!)

Holi Monkey Dingle Danglers – was today the day I was born for? I think so.

A festival of colour and water. Oh what fun. It was like a colourful snowball fight. In 35 degrees heat.

I was up way before the students so took the time to paint my nails and add eyeliner – it’s not traditional but I thought it’d be fun. I could hear the kids screaming outside and ran to grab one of my pump action water pistols – I’d bought 7, slowly finding bigger and bigger ones as I travelled north, and also spent the morning filling up balloons with water so equipped myself with a bag of those.

I charged outside with a few bags of powder attached to my belt ready to do a Rambo on these kids. I underestimated their ability and grace. I was on the floor covered in every colour under the sun and soaking wet before you can say – Tally Ho!!!

The commotion raised the dead and students alike, and together we fought. I’d been looking forward to playing with the kids in the slum I’d met the previous day and formed a small band to tackle them.

Boooom!!! We hit them hard – in their poor state without the money to buy paint and with little water we had the upper hand until we shared our goodies. Then the slum erupted in the brightest display since the Big Bang. (Talking of Bang – marijuana milk shakes is traditional fuel for such a fight, bang lassies – everyone young and old take them, served from the uni canteen and numerous stalls across the town)

I don’t think I need to mention any more…. Just look at the pictures. As normal there are one or two smiles amongst the pictures…

Brilliant India!!

Awesome India
(Click on pic for more....)

Leaving the school for the last time this trip was tough. I found myself crying at my last assembly watching the faces laughing, singing, smiling, dancing.

But new adventures await. Not least getting public transport again. The worst kind of adventure. Stress heaped upon stress. But I got through it and found myself in Ahmedabad – a city not renowned for its tourism or fun loving nature.

I was meeting up with a fire fairy, the French Connection and friends at the National institute for Design where they all study.

The first night I wanted to see the town for myself, before I was cooked delicious French Cuisine, and headed to the old part. In typical Indian style there was a festival going on. A Muslim one this time. People were drumming and dancing themselves into a frenzy and when I joined in with both it got totally out of control. I was being grabbed by everyone and pulled in a million directions. I could feel my clothes tearing and my joints loosening.

This was fun to begin with but as more and more people got involved and breathing became a struggle I started to get scared, my smile fell away and I started to fight. Pushing, shoving, pulling, tugging myself free of their grasp. I saw a window and moved swiftly up a street. The carnival was heading in the opposite direction so I felt I was safe – but no…. the carnival split in two. The people in front of me headed in the direction they originally planned and the half behind me changed and followed the white guy who plays drums like Phil Collins and dances like an angel. Right?

It was like a movie chase scene but at walking pace. I took a few lefts and rights down side street wide enough for just 2 or 3 people and eventually found myself lost but free from the crowd.

The day after I took the toys Angela designs to the slum for a photo shoot. Welcomed into houses for tea, and milking the goat had to be done first but then the shoot began. Awesome!! Check them out!!

(Again click for more.....)

That night we danced round a fire with the slum children then students – I, dressed in my white Lungi and Kurta that I’d bought Dad for a pressie, played with the Fire Sticks. I managed within the space of about 3 seconds to set myself alight without noticing!! Angela came running with fear on her face, I had no idea why, and ran into one of the sticks setting her jumper alight. I then realised my naughty bits were getting warm and saw that my lungi was alight!! Rolling in sand and patting helped immensely.

Finally at the end of a chaotic day, that’s quite normal for India one of the boys who’d been drumming came and rubbed a few handfuls on coloured powder onto my head and beard. Holi had begun!!

Sorry Dad – the white Lungi is smoke black with mud on the bum, and the Kurta is pink. Still want it??