Rafting the Ganges

I’m back at it and deep in work this Thursday but last Thursday was a different story. Last Thursday we were surprised when class was randomly cancelled and we were told to prepare for a rafting trip. I wondered if we would go rafting since it is included with the program but I was fine not going as the weather is not yet too hot and the water is freezing. But that Thursday we ventured out and raft we did.

We glided over nine rapids and didn’t tip over once. It was relatively calm and warm until we all decided to jump in fully clothed. I only had once chance to swim in the Ganges so I went in and it was absolutely freezing. Once was enough for me!

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Recents

A few snaps from around town and the latter part of teacher training.

At the Ganges:

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Afternoon coffee and cake:

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Our upstairs classroom and teaching practice:class-feb-2016

Getting ready to taste test the cooking my fellow trainers did in cooking class:Floor-Dinner

Afternoon adventures:Group

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Sunrise Temple

On Sunday morning (our only day off) we were up and on our way at 5am – so much for sleeping in on the day off! But it was worth it. We took an hour drive into the mountains on some of the loopi roads I’ve ever been on. Luckily it was too early for breakfast otherwise it would have been on the car floor!

Once we got to the top of the mountain we climbed 308 stairs to view the sunrise over the hills of the Himalayas. There were many people doing yoga and enjoying tea. The sun didn’t rise for quite a while and once it came out someone let out a ‘woop!’ to announce its arrival. Good times all around and we were down the mountain and eating breakfast by 8:30am. Talk about an early morning!

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Week Two Down

It’s the halfway mark for Yoga Teacher Training which calls for a celebration. It’s been much more intense and tedious than I expected. My expectations were a bit high to begin with. I thought yoga teacher training would be a big, relaxing yoga class with of course some learning interwoven. I imagined an idyllic setting where everyone was beyond relaxed. While there have been moments of relaxation there has also been a lot more ‘work’ and efforts than I anticipated. It’s been a bit tedious, very serious and my body is pretty sore. I thought I was in pretty good shape before this, but yoga always has a way to humble oneself. All in all, it’s been fine and I’m looking forward to tackling the last two weeks. A few pics below!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served at the ashram (what all yoga ‘studios’ are called). Everything is vegetarian and there is no meat or alcohol allowed in the whole town of Rishikesh. The food has been very good especially the chai tea but I’ll be ready for a little pig out when I’m back!

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In my training are four other very nice ladies. It’s nice being a small group especially as we all get along. Our classes start very early with neti pot (and at times other interesting ‘cleansing’ techniques), then breathing exercises, guided meditation and asanas or the physical yoga practices. Breakfast is at 9am and by that time I am absolutely starving. After breakfast we have two classes: philosophy and anatomy, then lunch. During the afternoon we have a nice break and then before dinner another asana class and sometimes more meditation. It does sound nice but the days are long and the body is tired! This schedule is Monday to Saturday with Sundays for rest. Most of our classes take place in the classroom below. Yoga-Room

Other than classes and practice there’s a lot of cafes around the Ganges River which flows through the town.Me-pic!

And monkeys! More to come on monkeys….

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Kathmandu

Before leaving China I was required to get a new visa otherwise I wouldn’t be let back into the Mainland come March. This is a pretty straightforward process but takes some time. Also, you cannot apply for your China visa too far ahead of time, so I had to time it well. In the meantime I also had to apply for an Indian visa. The China visa had to be applied for first and when I went to apply for the Indian visa I did not have enough time to apply for anything more than a 30 day visa. Que the panic! After asking around in China and then India everyone said the 30 visa was good and that without a doubt I would get an extension on this visa. Well, you guessed it, I did not get that much needed extension which is why I wound up in Kathmandu.

Originally not in our travel plan the Kathmandu trip allowed for me to get another 30 day visa so I would be able to stay through yoga teacher training. Even though it was my problem, Kyle was sweet enough to travel with me and I’m glad he did as it was more fun to have him experience the town with me. In addition, Kathmandu was a nice break (and a bit needed) from the crowded, busy streets of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Kathmandu seemed incredibly small and quaint. The roads were winding and impossible not to get lost. There was a temple about every block and due to a massive earthquake in April of last year many buildings were still in ruins. A very poor place, but people were so kind and happy.

One more things before some pictures. About an hour before landing the captain of plane came over the intercom and said “I have some bad news.” This is something you never want to hear on an airplane! While we were in the air a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. Luckily there were no causalities and few injuries.

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Delhi, the Taj & Beyond

Kyle and I arrived in India after a few flight delays (China flights are always delayed, now I’m used to it!).¬† We stayed in the heart of Old Delhi across from the Red Fort. The location proved convenient for getting around the city. On to Agra and the Taj Mahal we went and now in Jaipur.

India is everything all in one and no mix of words can truly describe it. But I’ll – a few things:

  • Fascinating.
  • Exciting, dirty, loud.
  • Peaceful and colorful countryside.
  • So many animals!
  • Food – rich, heavy, delicious food.

Here’s a few scenes from the trip so far.

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Winning *big

And by big I mean small. The most exciting prize was wining a dining voucher upon check-out. The dining voucher is only good for the Macau hotel we stayed at and since we aren’t planning to return anytime soon we really just lost (again) the chance to use the voucher.

Even with so much losing Macau was a nice break. Coined ‘The Vegas of the East’ it was a lot tamer than the real thing. Macau is a mix of China and Portugal and was the first and last European colony in China. It was considered an overseas territory of Portugal until 1999.

Our trip to Macau was short but sweet, and rainy. We did our fair share of checking out the casinos and ventured out to the rain soaked streets for a look around Macau Island to get a better feeling for the Portuguese influence in this China territory.

The casino. I learned how to play roulette and lost a lot…

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Chinese New Year decorations all around: Happy Year of the Monkey!IMG_1530

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And Kyle’s last ditch effort to win something…and he did!IMG_1549

In Recent Times

It’s been grey (read: smoggy) hear for over a month. I haven’t seen colors in over 30 days. And lately, it’s been quite cold….this time of the year is the worst in China! On a positive¬† note I’ve still been out and about exploring, but also staying home cuddled up by the heater with my book. Some recent adventures out below.

Dogs in China, so many small ones. This one was being really naughty running around the sidewalk and terrorizing people but when I tried to snap a picture it ran back to the safety of its house and started going crazy. Check out the pink ears and tail too!

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A Sunday afternoon splurge, Kyle and I went to Charlie’s for burgers and some dirty fries. The Arnold Palmer was spot on.

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Some special jewelry.

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A good question! Luckily since I live in China and dogs wear pants here (not joking) I know the answer!

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Dinner and concert date: Uva and Toro y Moi.

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