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Thursday
Jun252009

Small paper gifts open doors

Greetings,

Settling into the flow of the street, city, parks, lakes, and people. It's a joy.

Irony of remembering arriving about a year ago in Jakarta from Turkey. How, during the long flight I studied packaging, how plastic wrap and tin foiled meals are air tight and require a degree in engineering to open them without spilling the contents everywhere.

Miles of tourists waited to have their passports stamped so they could get to Balinese temples, massage parlors and blue-green waves of laughter along some forgotten coast. Where palm oil plantation owners destroy the rain forest so women have sweet facial cosmetics. Where poor farmers kill elephants with poison laced pineapples for the black market ivory trade. Where people spend more time looking back than forward.

How the young immigration man asked me, "Do you have a return ticket?"

No.

"Come with me." He led me to a desk where he talked to another man. My school employer had failed to tell me I needed a return ticket - they assumed I would be stopping in Singapore for a visa but this was never explained. Clearly.

They talked. The man returned. "You need a ticket out." I took my passport from him, opened it and put a $100 note inside. "Will this help?" His eyes brightened, meaning yes. Money talks.

He returned to the box office, whispered to a colleague stamping tired expectant tourist faces and led me down the hall toward immigration officials. We passed rows of people waiting for their final turn at Stamp Entry Verification Headquarters. He went to an important man sitting in his cubicle staring at a computer. Mr. Big. 

"Go through and wait there," he said, pointing to the free zone. He handed my passport to the man, they talked, the official stamped my document and returned it to him. He walked over, handed it to me, smiled and said, "Welcome to Indonesia."

"Thank you for your help. Goodbye."

When I shared this memory with the woman in charge of administration for foreign teachers she smiled, "Yes, that's the way things are done here."

So it goes.

Metta.

Tuesday
Jun232009

Wandering

Greetings,

How does it feel in hot, humid, steamy Hanoi? Delightful. 

It's the poetry of the street. Diversity of life's energy. Fascinating documentary of modern tribal realities. Blond backpackers wear rubber flip-flops. Hard going through the mud and meadows of reality. Influences and migration. 

Ha Noi Handicrafts is a fine place with friendly people. Feel free to see their site:

I am Anon-o-mouse. Enjoy fresh tea near the lake at dusk. Dancing yellow lights. Fish are jumping. 

Massage away your tension, anxiety, fear. Practice sitting and walking and breathing like a monk. Calm, serene and spine. This is a quiet simple dignity. 

Metta.

Friday
Jun192009

Travel Monk

Greetings,

From the Temple of Literature to temples, art, the street. Delightful. Get a manicure and a facial after a day of exploring. Circumvent the planet with clean skin. Peal it all off. Shed old memories, dreams and potentials.

West lake - Ho Tay or Lake Mist or Big Lake. Legend: in the 11th century a Vietnamese Buddhist monk provided a great service to emperor of China. He received bronze, made a huge bell, rang the bell and a Golden Buffalo Calf in China, thinking it was his mother ran south and trampled the site turning it into a lake. 

The Pho Lin pagoda is on a estuary on the northern shore in an area called Quan Thanh. It was recommended to me by Tran, the manager at Just Massage where I enjoyed a 90 minute shiatsu workout.

Pristine. No traffic. Water. Dragons. Lovely murals. Female monks sweep leaves. Burial chambers in shade. 

Museum of History has a small petri dish filled with carbonized rice. Hunters and gatherers sweep in from southern China. Humans live in caves. Discover fire. Make stone bladed tools. Weave bamboo clothing. Use clay to make pottery. 

Metta.

 

Wednesday
Jun172009

Temple of Literature

Greetings,

Sitting down in Hanoi. Before dawn Hoan Kiem Lake is tranquil.

Hundreds of residents walk the circumference, practice tai-chi, stretch, meditate, lift weights, play badminton, read morning papers, chat with friends, and relax. Women spin red fans as their teacher watches, instructing them in movement. Dance.

The Jade Mountain Temple sits on an island in the lake accessible by a narrow red bridge. Turtle Tower stands on a small island in the center of the lake. Orange light dances off the surface.

I walk to the Temple of Literature. Founded in 1070 as a Confucian temple and established at the first university or Imperial Academy in Vietnam in 1076. 

Read more...

Metta.

Monday
Jun152009

Joy

Greetings,

A simple joy is being in Hanoi savoring delicious Chinese tea.

I am liberated from tolerating the tyranny at a private Catholic school in Jakarta. I completed my penance. A beautiful universe.

It feels fantastic to be back in the University of the Street. So it goes.

Metta.