SEEMS TO ME THAT THIS….
IS A LOT EASIER THAN THIS….
…BUT THERE’S NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTES.
As most of you know, I’m off, tomorrow, for 3½ months in India, starting with a three-week trek in Sikkim with my two daughters, Cary and Martha. Sikkim is way up north and will be my taste of winter for this year. Am I blessed or am I blessed? This time I shall be looking at Mt. Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, from the Indian side instead of from Nepal, where I trekked for a month to its base camp in 1996. It was a wondrous sight and I’m sure will be just as wondrous from Sikkim.
Martha will leave on Dec. 10th and Cary and I will spend the rest of the month in Dharamsala, visiting our Tibetan friends, the TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) schools in Dharamsala and Bir, and the lovely mountain village of Tso Pema.
In January I’ll be on my own, but have enough alternatives to choke one of the many elephants (and tigers) I hope to see in the wild animal parks that abound in central and southern Indian. I plan to meet up in Tiruvannamalai with Lee Compton, from Whidbey Island, with whom I spent some time in Myanmar in 2007, and three weeks later on the beaches of Gokarna near Goa with Gullvi Eriksson, with whom I trekked in Norway and Sweden in 2005. Some of the places I have my eye on are Khajuraho enroute to Bandhavgarh National Park; Mangalore; Mysore; Hyderabad; Bangalore: Kerala; Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the Cardoman Hills; and the Ellora and Ajanta caves. India is one big country and the guidebook, alone, takes up a good hunk of my daypack. I’ll probably be traveling by train, but who knows? Things have changed since I spent time in India twenty years ago and wrote about it in Madam. Those were the days when just making a call home was an all-day adventure. It’s a whole new world out there! So keep an eye on my blog posts. I’ll try to be brief, but hope to hit the high spots.
I’m overjoyed that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate, has finally been freed by the military dictatorship in Myanmar, after spending fourteen of the last twenty years under house arrest. I urge you to check the web and follow the events as they unfold. I had planned to visit for a month in February, but changed plans at the last minute. It was just too difficult, logistically. But I shall return soon. Suu Kyi, whose father was assassinated in 1947, was duly elected in 1990, and immediately imprisoned by the military junta. She heads the National League for Democracy (NLD), and is still wildly popular and a symbol of hope for the Burmese people. I think the military has greatly underestimated her support among the people and somehow thinks that because an election was held, which has been condemned by most countries as a sham, she would be sidelined. As she says, there is much to be done and she intends to continue the fight for democracy in Myanmar. This is a struggle worth watching and supporting.
My blog would not be complete without mentioning at least one outstanding play. This month it is The Pitman Painters on Broadway, brought to us from England and written by Lee Hall, who also wrote Billy Elliot the Musical. Don’t miss it. We also had a concert of Mahler’s 1st Symphony at the Plainfield Symphony. This is the year of Mahler and we started it with a bang (and the crash of cymbals!).
In conclusion, let me share with you the waning days of autumn as seen through my bedroom window. This gorgeous maple tree is so intense in the early morning sun that its reflection imbues my room with a rosy glow, filling my heart with warmth and happiness as only nature’s perfection can.
And down the street, not to be undone, we have a blaze of yellow that dominates the entire hill.