Saturday, November 26, 2005

India photos

Well, it's long past time I should be here again! (This blog I mean) Feel like I've been in a bit of a daze since I've been back. Constant running (driving) to rehearsals for The Messiah and consequent lack of sleep has no doubt contributed to this state! The first performance is tonight ... Having rehearsed in the cathedral a couple of nights this week I have to say I don't seem to know it as well as I thought I did!! The acoustics make it hard to hear what people around you (ie your voice part) are singing, and of course it's one thing to sing your part on your own, quite another to sing it against 3 other voice parts as part of a 40-50 person choir ... Still I do think it'll be wonderful.

Yoga has taken a definite back seat this week - haven't practiced at all! At least I know I'll be back in class on Monday night ...

Anyway - here are a few of my photos from India - enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Back in Oz

Here I am, back in sunny Australia (unlike India where I rarely saw the sun!). Got back on Friday night, and after a slight mix-up about being picked up, finally got home around 10.30pm. Mieke pussycat was very pleased to see me!! She tried to tell me she hadn't been fed for the whole 6 weeks I'd been away, but as she was pretty much her usually plump self, I didn't believe her!!!

India already seems a long way away although it's only 4 days ago that I was sitting in a taxi driving through Bangalore to the airport, thinking 'oh, I don't want to leave'!! There's something about India that I really love. But once I got to the airport and was in the departure lounge, it was 'on to the next thing', as it were.

I went to yoga class on Saturday afternoon and spent a lot of time reminiscing with Richard about the time we were there together. The rest of the weekend I lazed around. Did some washing, unpacked my case, but there is a big pile of clothes and stuff on the floor beside my bed that I haven't summoned up the energy to deal with yet!!

Today I've been at work, in a bit of a daze. Just reading emails and telling people about my holiday!! But tonight I absolutely have to drive in to Brisbane to go to a choir rehearsal for The Messiah. I've missed 3 rehearsals already, and really I came back at this time so I would be able to sing in The Messiah, so ... :)

I'll sort out some India pictures to upload soon ... and I'm also going to set up a Flickrs account to post more photos ... Later!

On my iPod: the Alto choruses for The Messiah of course!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Last days in India ... (this time!)

My last days in India. I fly out to Singapore and then on to Brisbane tomorrow night. The plane leaves at 11.55pm to be precise - as always. I guess it's better than last time - I think then the flight left at about 3.30am!! I have no idea why any flight I get to or from Bangalore always arrives/leaves so late!!

Practice has been going well. I was pretty tired on Monday - probably as a result of the ayurvedic massage the day before. But yesterday and today was good. Don't know if I've said this before, but Marichyasana C, which has always seemed like too impossible to imagine, has actually become a possibility for me - a somewhat remote one, but I do now believe I will be able to do it one day!

And pranayama has been going well. This week I've been moved on to the first of the breath retention ones. Interesting!!

This afternoon I took Eva to Commercial Street, to try and find the place where I got my nose pierced 3 years ago. To my astonishment I actually managed to find it, and she got hers done by the same little man!! (And the same Old Spice aftershave as disinfectant!!!) She also bought her nosering in the same place that we all went to then!

And I bought some more gold earrings! I've got 3 earrings at the moment, having lost one a few months ago, so decided it was time to replace that! I really love Indian gold. It's 22 carat, and is soo yellow. A lot of people like white or pale gold but me, I love the really yellow stuff! And India is of course the world's biggest consumer of gold.

We then had a happy time wandering up and down Commercial Street, drinking coffee, buying fabric, etc! It's funny to see Westerners. We never see any western people out in JP Nagar where we live. It's only when we go into the centre of Bangalore that we get to see tourists/travellers ...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Butterfruit milkshake (aka avocado) - YUM!

I never would have believed it. Who's ever heard of an avocado milkshake anyway? Not me that's for sure! But, I had one today and it was just ambrosial! I'm going to have to make them when I get home!! (As far as I know, the contents are avocado, milk and a bit of sugar.)

Today me and Karen went for an ayurvedic massage at the local ayurvedic hospital. Most students staying in the yoga flat have been going every week, so I decided to give it a go! What an experience. Strip right off (or if really shy, you are given a muslin loincloth thing to wear!) Lie on this old wooden 'bed' (reminiscent of 19th century dissecting tables or worse!) and have two women pour thick oil all over you and massage you from head (including your hair) to toe for about 40 minutes! They stand on each side of the bed, and do long strokes up and down your body in unison - quite amazing!! Then after that, go and sit in this little steam bath cupboard for about 15 minutes - just your head poking out!!

When you get out, they have to hold onto you to stop you slipping over (your feet being covered in oil!) and then you are sent into the bathroom for a bucket bath with this thick yellow paste which amazingly gets most of the oil off you. My hair I am leaving till tonight - it'll probably be good for it.

And all of this for 350 rupees - just over $AU10.00!!

We had our butterfruit (avocado) milkshakes on the way back from there. Am now feeling very relaxed and peaceful! My legs are feeling wonderful too!!

Tomorrow back to asanas again ... :)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Government Work is God's Work (!)

India is full of very amusing (to us westerners) signs. I saw that (Government Work is God's Work) carved in large stone letters above the entry doors to a huge imposing (government) building, and cracked up!!

So, it's Saturday today. Here the rest day is Sunday, so we had our normal asana and pranayama classes this morning, then it was 'out of school' !! I have to say my body will be glad of a day's rest! My legs are aching and I'm having to be careful about my right knee. But it's been a great week, yoga-wise. I can get my head onto the ground in kurmasana now - something I would have thought impossible a couple of weeks ago. Navasana is coming back, and I even managed to get 2 feet off the ground in an arm balance - admittedly for half a second only, but still a first!!

Last night 6 of us went out after dinner to a chocolate place that people had found. Basically it just serves chocolate! I had a chocolate cappucino (!) and we all ate lovely home-made chocolates - orange peel chocolate, yum!! Then at quarter to nine we all thought - oh, time to go home and go to bed (big grin).

This afternoon Scottish Karen and I went to MG Road. We just went to the (wonderful) Bombay Store. Air conditioned comfort, no people hassling you, and lots of lovely things to buy! I bought a couple of shirts and a nice bracelet. A few days ago I went to Commercial Street and bought another diamond nosepin (to replace the one I lost a couple of years ago). In fact Mum is giving this to me as a Christmas present (thanks Mum!) It's really nice! I may have to take some of the other women down to Commercial Street tomorrow as at least one of them wants to get her nose pierced.

It's hard to imagine that this time next week I'll be back home in Australia, no doubt with pussycat Mieke curled upon my lap. I've had such a great holiday - done so many fabulous things and spent time with so many wonderful friends and family members!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yoga and - Dublin

Yoga again this morning ... I had lots more energy than on Saturday which was great. But I am having a bad balance day. And also, despite my earlier triumphs with navasana (how long ago was that?!) having not done it since I left Australia some weeks ago (because I was stopped at Marichysana A in London) I'm finding it very hard again!! Silent screams of frustration were heard!! However, on the bright side I was able to bind on both sides in Marichyasana A both on Saturday and today, which is really good! I was mostly only able to do it on one side before ...

A new guy arrived at the yoga flat today (from South Carolina) - there's 7 of us staying there at the moment. Had a quiet day, and even did some choir practice in my room, singing the Messiah choruses through with the alto part on my iPod!

And now let's go back to - Dublin! I never posted anything about this bit of my holiday before - got caught up in other things. But the first weekend I was away (based in London) Judy and I went to visit another sister, Carla, who lives in Dublin. I've never met her before (these sisters are from my father's prevous marriage, and for whatever reason we never intermingled). And I'd also never been to Dublin before, so it was a great excitement for me. We flew in on Friday afternoon (2 days after I'd arrived in London) and were looked after so well by Carla and her husband. We were driven all around Dublin and surrounds on the Saturday - walked up Fishamble Street to the building where the first ever performance of The Messiah happened. Went for a lovely walk on the headland at the south end of the Dublin Bay. Had lunch in Avoca Weavers (in County Witlow) and drove back over a lovely mountain road - Sally Gap. (Why does every place in Ireland sound like it's out of a folk song?!) Beautiful wild country side, reminiscent of Scotland, complete with lochs!

Carla has a really lovely garden - she's obviously got green fingers! (I think Dad did too, though he mainly confined his gardening to the vegetable variety!!)

Dublin is such a lovely city - apparently it's the 2nd biggest Georgian city after Bath! Can see why ...

Anyway, it was such a lovely weekend, and really great to meet another sister. (In fact I got quite excited and told Judy I was no longer the oldest in the family! I'm now the 4th sister!!!!)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

India at last - and Diwali!

Oh I've been soo slack! 11 days since I last posted! And now there's so much to say, which has also been putting me off - where to start?! I've left my journal at the flat too, (just 10 mins walk away) so I think I'll jump right in and say - I'm in India!! I'll do some other posts about the earlier bits - maybe tomorrow!

So here I am in Bangalore, on the last stage of my trip. I've got (or had when I arrived) 14 days here. So, for all you ashtanga purists, that is why I'm not in Mysore (much as I would like to be!) but in Bangalore instead, doing class with Vishwanath, who is Pattabhi Jois' nephew, and who trained with him (at the same time as Manju was training with him!) back in the 70s.

Got here early on Friday morning (28th Nov?) - like 1.15am!! Got myself to the yoga flat (where the yoga students stay) sometime in the middle of that day, and have now got myself nicely settled in. We had one asana class on Saturday (he takes Sunday as his rest day) and then today has been a Diwali holiday. So tomorrow morning will be the next asana class - can't wait! I did do sun salutes in my room this morning, but that was as far as I got. We also do a pranayama class each day.

I's great to be back in India. There's something so wild yet wonderful about it! Although I do feel I could have chosen a better time to come than Diwali week! As I've said in a few emails - when Diwali is celebrated in countries other than India, it is a lovely peaceful festival with coloured lights and candles, and a few fireworks. Here it is just FULL ON FIREWORKS (and the lights, but no candles!) From about 6am to 11pm! Constantly! And the vast majority are crackers. So it's 'bang bang bang' all day and all night!!! Ah well - just that crazy Indian spirit I guess!

more later ...


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