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Christl's Travel log

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Log entries 21 - 30 of 63 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Oct 15, 2009 06:00 PM Bagan, the lost city

Old Bagan is my place, this wide area with temples and Stupas of old, having been a rich capital of the kingdom of a learned king in the 10th century who went to war because a Buddhist monk who taught him his religion didn't want to give him his scriptures. Having achieved his goal he started building temples, where Buddhism could be studied as the monks do to the present day. There are impressive buildings: some huge, some golden, some with beautiful paintings inside, telling the way of life of Old Bagan. Must have been quite a lively folk!
In the evening I went by horse cart through the villages around the ancient town. The elder and the small children were around, fathers and mothers weren't home from the fields or their work, all have to work to earn the living, also the older children after school. It is country life as we know it from home. People live in bamboo houses, very good in this climate, as they are roomy and comfortable, inside the fence, surrounding it, are all the other buildings for storage, the animals etc.
The tourists didn't come this year until now, so business isn't to talk about. I am nearly the only guest in my very good hotel. But people take it as it.
So long. As you know traveling is my life.

Oct 12, 2009 06:00 PM Mandalay, the Town at the Irrawaddy

People want to do me good. In the morning a was offered a kind very sweet apple, then someone painted my face, and someone put some gold on my forehead, and although VIPs have been up on Mandalay Hill and nobody was permitted to go up by escalator or lift, but for me the escalator was going, otherwise it would have been 50 steps up to see the sunset. No, no, not after after I had crossed the mighty Irrawaddy in nearly 40 degrees heat with a private boat to Mingun and walked the village and visited the Home for the Aged near the 3th biggest bell of the world. I brought cake and tea leaves. The elder were very pleased and sang for me. The nurse who takes care of over a hundred elder is a happy, healthy, strong person, vivid and energetic. The whole institute lives from every kind of donation.
You will not believe it, today I saw "The world largest book", the rules for the monks and the Buddhist scriptures have been written on marble. And every marble slap has its own little house.
It's time to go, there is so much to tell, but not so much time.

Oct 11, 2009 06:00 PM Message from Myanmar, the irresistable country

It's like coming home into a peaceful, friendly world without hectic, stress and complaints, although, I think, people could complain, but they don't. They take life as it is and that's it.
The flight was uneventful, the hotels are good, the food tastes well and is cheap. I am a VIP, means all the world wants to do something nice to m, really I am the princess on the pea.
Yangon appeared to be still very british, but that isn't what you remember when you think of this town. I saw the 8th wonder of the world, the Shwedagon pagoda, absolut beauty.
Up north in Pindaya Buddha images in a huge cave overwhelned me. In the evening I saw the earnest 13teen years old going up to the monastery with candels in their hands dressed in their "sundays best", while the boys were playing the music and dancing like mad. It's the life in the country side. It's harvest time and festival time. The offerings are brought to the monasteries, the little girls get their ears pierced and the little boys become monks. At Inle Lake, the dreaming lake, the people from the villages in and around the lake and those from the hill tribes meet at the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the monks of the lake are invited by the Chief monk of the Indein monastery with its a thousand ancient temples from the 13th century. People come too with sack and pack, the babies and the old ones.
Now I am in Mandalay, enjoying sunsets. Life is good. Next more.

Oct 31, 2008 09:00 PM At home again

I am dreaming of the beauty I have seen. Autumn in the mountains. A few clouds, swimming aimlessly in the blue sky. The air is fresh and clear. Above the deep canyon of the Indus precariously built on a rock column Altit Fort faces the kingly Rakaposhi. Beyond it a 1000 years old village, once covered by a roof, with its small, winding streets is situated. Houses are still erected the old way, using stone and mud, mixed with Apricot juice. The 144 families built their own school from nursery to college, teaching besides other subjects also science and English. They even have a swimming pool. Women are around, sitting on the roofs, where the tomatoes and the apri-cots are drying. Some cover their head with shawls, some with small caps, some wear their head uncovered. They are friendly and self confident.
In this area, the Hunza Valley, education is 100%.

Oct 28, 2008 09:00 PM Still in Islamabad

you will not believe it, but it is true, only ... I am leaving. It's a pity. It has been a terrific journey.
- Security: Every hotel I stayed in had a guard with a small machine gun protecting it, as I have seen it in India too. At the border of every district the traveller and his or her driver are noticed by the police as they do it in Laos also. Police was friendly, smiling, waving, and relaxed. So much for security.
- Roads: The Karaskorum Highway is under construction and maintenance. They started in the North and in the South, I drove mostly in the middle, was a hell of driving and tiring. But the scenery ... indescribable. The Indus is a mighty river, cutting its way through the mountains. But part of the roads towards Islamabad were nearly perfect.
Skardu: I went by flight to Skardu and got my first sight of the fascinating Nanga Parbat. Skardu received me with the first sandstorm of my life. The town looked that way: dirty, dusty, worn out, but it is a lifely town, this capital of Balistan, when you look behind the bazar and when you go into the village, then you see another picture, well tended houses and gardens, still full of flowers, the trees changing their colours and I enjoyed a beautiful autumn picture.
So long.

Oct 17, 2008 06:00 PM Still in Islamabad

After 8 hours sleeping like a log I started the new day not very fresh but a bit stronger then the day before. The cold really hit me, but ... I saw the Museum of Culture, very interesting and nicely presented. As it was dark we went up to the Pakistan Monument, very impressive, and had a view over the town. When as I was secretly thinking of a hot bath etc. I climbed up the endless stairs to the Faisal Mosque, which was presented to the Pakistan by Saudi Arabia, overwhelming me. Then the electricity went off - as it is the custom in this town, a way to save energy-, but as a woman I was not allowed inside the main part of the mosque, as it is the custom in this country, women pray outside or use the gallery inside. The area of men and women are strictly separated, a custom, which seems to be changing, specially in the big towns, because I saw women, wearing a scarf, where I changed my money, and in other places. It seems that the scarf is protecting them.
Today I was driven to Muree, the old British hill station, nearly nothing is left of them. It is still a town where people go for holidays, I liked the area. The countryside looks so peaceful.

Oct 16, 2008 06:00 PM Islamabad, Pakistan

Today I arrived safely and tired in Islamabad. Weather is wonderful. Hotel Hunza Embassy Lodge is good and friendly, food too, it looks like a private home, no name on the outside in a small street away from the noise of town It's Friday, a day of rest. The muezzin are singing. Now I am off to go sightseeing.
So long.

Nov 17, 2007 09:00 PM Home again

I made it home, but it was an exhausting flight with over four hours delay. It took its toll. Today I finally worked on my last message about Bombay to correct all the mistakes I made.-
I did see, riding in a car, a lot of North and South Bombay, the former is a hillybilly country with forests, but the latter is the hub of town. Here the biggest slum of Bombay, now under development, is situated, it's a small town with narrow lanes, incredible poverty, where I never could have walked around. It has water and a sewage system. But I walked through the area around the Stock Exchange and through the bazaars which reminded me of Dickens and his description of ninetheenth century London, the houses still British, the shops, one beside another, very small, full of merchandise. And the people! It was evening and they were going home from work, the women doing their shopping, the men, carrying goods on their head or pulling heavy loaded carts. Police was around, watching. People were friendly, smiling at me, although a white woman in a red dress was thoroughly scrutinsed. But I felt safe.
It will take some time until I have worked out what I have seen.

Nov 11, 2007 09:00 PM Bombay and me

Having made it safely from Delhi to Bombay, named Mumbai nowadays, I entered another world. My host family was glad to see me and we had a lot to share, after we hadn't seen each other for seven years. Then the heat (30`C) and the humidity (84%) took care of me. That's one of the differences. Nevertheless my host is very strict. Every morning we drive to nearby Juhu Beach and do Tai Chi, or he goes to his laughing club and I go for a walk. Juhu Beach is nothing what we would call a clean beach, you can't go for a swim, the water isn't good enough for it. But nevertheless all the world is out doing excersises of all kind. This morning the craws were out, helping to rid the sand of the garbage.
The other difference : Where Delhi is dusty and loud being a major building site in the moment, because of the upcoming Commomwealth games. Road work is done and new commercial centers and a lot of highrises are being built. Bombay in a way is oldfashioned: Trees, old ones, line the streets, which are mostly clean, the town has a garbage disposal. So people, living on the street, don't sleep in heaps of refusal. But don't think the garbage disposal is meant to be social. It is in a building boom too, what will change the skyline of the town profoundly. Business is good, I hear, but people are working hard too.

Nov 04, 2007 09:00 PM Still in Delhi

It's good to live family life again, to enjoy the birtday parties, to go for lunch in different houses, to do some sightseeing, i.e. the Qutab Minar, the column of victory, from times gone by, situated in the midst of a park, nice, specially on a sunday when all the families go there for an outing, and nto walk around Old Delhi to do some shopping, what is an experience of life, I hardly can describe. Friday I will fly to Mumbai.

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