Aung San Suu Kyi and me travel blog

The place where he found enlightenment

The temple in front for the bohdi tree. It seems to me...

 

The tree

My feet

Raul

 

 


November 3, 2013

Happy Diwali. Last year I spent it with Matta in Chandigrath and in 2004 I was in Kathmandu. I am not sure where I was in 1997. The crackers will be full on tonight. Keep your cats inside.

I arrived in Bodh Gaya, the small village where Lord Buddha found enlightenment. It’s changed a lot since 2004, the first time I was here. There are a lot more tourists and thus tourist shops. The real reason I came is to get a leaf from the tree under which He found enlightenment. The tree is not original. Before the original died some monks from took a small grafted tree to Sri Lanka. It was returned here sometime after. I should have got one the first time as they were everywhere and no tourists. Now it seems that they are quite a commodity.

I spend 10 hours on the road yesterday. 350km. The highway is good. Real good. I only saw two overturned trucks. I stop quite a bit. I also stopped for fuel once.

I had absolutely no rupees so I was on the look out for an ATM. I wonder what the small villages use for banks, there are none. I found an ATM close to Varinasi. I stopped and got some dough. Some cop was telling me mover my bike. At first I thought it was in the way. It was squeezed in-between a couple of other bike. So I asked him, angrily, what of this bike and that bike and this bike and that bike. He told me that it was because Suu Kyi was causing a crowd. It the west he would have does his job and did some crowd clearing. Here it’s easiest to just remove the problem.

I called Manish last night when I arrived because he gets awesome rates on hotels and doesn’t charge he his service fee. He had no hotels in Bodh Gaya. I don’t bother calling him I am travelling, only when I am going to stay for a few days. I won’t be able to call him from here on in except in Kolkata. I found a really nice place for 1500 Rs. It has AC and a TV. It has Al Jalzziera and BBC. I can get caught up on the news.

There is quite a power shortage here due to the rapid increase in size. If the hotel is running on the generator I don’t get AC. Hot water is available only in the mornings, which is normal. I am going recommend this hotel to Manish to use in the future. Power just went out.

I read in the Indian Times that 45 out of 52 where killed in a fiery bus crash the other day. I wonder if it was mentioned in the west. I just heard that Lou Reid died this week. I never cared for him. He was good though; just not for me.

I just heard, on BBC, that it costs, on average 1500 pounds in energy cost per year. I assume this for both natural gas and electricity.

Today I walked around Bodh Gaya. Raul, a 10 year old kid, gave me the tour. I really don’t see that many travellers and the ones I do see are at least as old as me. Most of the tourists are from other Buddhist countries and are here via tour packages. There are a lot more monasteries here than before.

I had a two bucket shower last night. When I was teaching English in Korea I was in the gym on the leg press and tore a small muscle off the back of my rib cage. It happened again last night when I was bending over in the shower. I had a shitty sleep last night because of it. Getting older. I don’t know if I could put Suu Kyi back on her feet because of it. It’s better today.

November 4, 2013

I just go back from the Buddha’s Temple. I tried to meditate but couldn’t. I was there for about one and a half hours. I saw monks picking up the occasional bodhi leave that fell from the tree. I felt that the leaves belonged to them more than me so I didn’t pick any up. I missed my chance in 2004. I did get two from another bodhi tree that was 50ft away.

There are a lot more monasteries here now. It seems like every Buddhist country has one here. I was at the tree at 6am in 2004 and there was only about eight of us and now at 6am the place was full. It has changed. The city itself has not. There seems to be the same or little more travellers. But not that many more.

Power just went out. I need to pick up some dilantin soon. I hope they have it here, if not I will have to b-line it to Kolkata. I can go a couple of days without it but it would suck balls to have a seizure. I have not had one since Colombia when I was drinking heavily. I am sure glad that demon has been put away.

I met this kid named Raul. He spoke pretty good English. We walked around Bodh Gaya for awhile. I wanted to go to Gaya so we got on Suu Kyi and went. I bought a highlighter there. I forgot one. I need to highlight the route on my maps that I get photocopied because, invariably, the copies are bad. We didn’t go to any temples. The main temple dedicated to Vishnu I can not enter anyway.

I found a place that sells dilantin. I bought 200 pills and need another 400 to last me the entire four months. He said he would have it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I go to Rajgir for the day. It’s about 80km’s away.

The internet is so slow here. Some foreigner told me it was not because the system is slow but because so many people were using it.

November 6, 2013

I have to get caught up on the dates. I see that my last entry [November 4, 2013] was in fact November 5, 2013.

The TV is fucked in the hotel and I had a luke warm shower this morning. I need some BBC or cricket. Susan and Jeff’s first little boy is named Lukus but I think he goes by Luke most of the time. I have a habit of using the full name. I really miss Susan. My fondest memory is that of when we rented a small cabin on the small island of Koh Teo in Thailand. It was near the end of our trip and it was so peaceful. We had bought a book in Thailand call ‘5000 days’. I read it over the course of a night. Read this before you smuggle drugs. It’s about a story of an Australian who got 12 years in Bang Kwon, the big prison just outside of Bangkok.

The food ate the hotel is really good. More expensive than Dabha food but I am almost guaranteed not no get sick. I am having a veg spring roll for 100 Rs and a bowl of hot & sour soup [65 Rs.] for supper.

I had breakfast outside for 30 Rs. [USD$0.50]. Iit was rice, dal, vegies [potatoes] and more potatoes just cut differently and picked spicy shit. I was stuffed. It was the worst dal I have had here yet. I also had two classes of chai at my chai guys shop. This is how I lived in Indian in 1997 for three months on USD$900. Cheapest room USD$0.30/night. When I first started travelling [after Europe] I spent 2 months trekking though the Andes. My last big climb was an extinct volcano called Pisco. It’s about 5800m [+19,000ft]. When I returned back to Lima I only had enough money for the taxi ride to the airport and the departure tax – when there still was a departure tax, and one meal a day and some leftover trekking food. It was a set meal. Kinda like Thail. In the morning I had a stale bun with mustard and tuna and in the evening I’d have the set menu. I forget the name but it’s cheap and filling. I lived like this for a week. I can’t travel like this anymore. I need my hot shower. Monique and I lived on an Island of the south coast of India for a month and in the morning we were provided a bucket of hot water. I really don’t mind the bucket. It saves so much water. I can get clean for 3 gallons.

I wonder how Ron is doing. I saw my first dead guy yesterday. Actually I saw two. One was at a burning ghat [not burning yet] and the other being carried from one place to another by the family.

I can get a pack of biddies here for 5 Rs. [USD$0.08] per pack. They are not 502. Panch a doe [502]seem to be a Delhi brand. They are good. The ones here aren’t even in packs. They are just tied together with a piece of thread. The have no filter but their only one third of a regular cigarette and one third the thickness. I have been taking champix for about two weeks now. I have not bought a pack in a few weeks only singles

Some of the crackers are home made bombs. They are loud. It kinda freaked me out because a while back there was some bomb blasts here; at the temple of all places. Now we go through metal detectors and get a good pat down just to get it. Good.

The food at the hotel is really good. More expensive than dhabha food but I am almost guaranteed not no get sick. I am having a veg spring roll for 100 Rs and a bowl of hot & sour soup [65 Rs.] for supper.

I had breakfast outside for 30 Rs. [USD$0.50]. It was rice, dal, vegies [potatoes] and more potatoes just cut differently and picked spicy shit. I was stuffed. It was the worst dal I have had here yet. I also had two classes of chai and my chai guys shop. This is how I lived in Indian in 1997 for three months on USD$900. Cheapest room USD$0.30/night. When I first started travelling [after Europe] I spent 2 months trekking though the Andes. My last big climb was an extinct volcano called Pisco. It’s about 5800m [+19,000ft]. When I returned back to Lima I only had enough money for the taxi ride to the airport and the departure tax – when there still was a departure tax,.and one meal a day and some left over trekking food AND one meal a day. It was a set meal. Kinda like Thaile. In the morning I had a stale bun with mustard and tuna and in the evening I’d have a set menu. I forget the name but it’s cheap and filling. I lived like this for a week. I can’t travel like this any more. I need my hot shower. Monique and I lived on an Island of the south coast of India for a month and in the morning we were provided a bucket of hot water. I really don’t mind the bucket. It saves so much water. I can get clean for 3 gallons.

I wonder how Ron is doing. I saw my first dead guy yesterday. Actually I saw two. One was at a burning ghat [not burning yet] and the other being carried from one place to another by the family.

I can get a pack of biddies here for 5 Rs. [USD$0.08] per pack. They are not 502. Panch a doe seem to be a Delhi brand. They are good. The ones here aren’t even in packs. They are just tied together with a piece of thread. They have no filter but their only one third of a regular cigarette and one third the thickness. I have been taking champix for about two weeks now. I have not bought a pack in a few weeks - only singles

As for Diwali, some of the crackers are home made bombs. They are loud. It kinda freaked me out because a while back there was some bomb blasts here; at the temple of all places. Now we go through metal detectors and get a good pat down just to get it. Good.

I had Rahul pick up the dilantin for me.

I was supposed to go to Ragjir today but Rahul suggested we go to his mothers house. His father was killed in a tracker roll over in august and now in is the provider thus he lives in Bodh Gaya. He goes to school here and sell stuff [I am not sure what]. He can up to me and seemed like a peaceful little boy. He’s 10. Ok, rather than Rajger lets go to his village and meet his family. I have been to Ragir before. Village life is what other travellers rarely see. There are two ways to his village. The short way and the long way. The roads are the Bihar I remember in 2004.are so bad that I was worried about the Enfield so I skirted into Nepal because I remember the Germans build a great east/west highway and this would get me to Sikkim with the bike in one piece. The roads were a little better – but I have Suu Kyi. She was in the zone today. If I didn’t have Rahul on the back and adjusted the suspension and tire pressure look the fuck out. The short way consisted of a rive crossing. 100m. I think the deepest spot was 2 feet. It was a sand bottom. I should have checked.. I would have lowered the tire pressure. We just about got it to the other side and got her bogged down. Rahul was wearing his Sunday best so I carried him to the shore. I really wanted to push him off as in did Cara in a bog up behind the Okanagan. I fucked with her and got her out of the hole and tried to go without me on the bike. Bogged down deeper. Fuck me! There are a lot of kids hanging around as it’s a water hole for them to play it. It brought back memories on Amaranth. We lived next to a slew. I dropped her 3 times and had to push her out of the river with help of the kids. After it was said and done my back was so stiff I could barely got on the bike. Then more sand. I tightened the steering stabilizer and Rahul hopped on. Being only 20kg it’s like Cara on the bike. When I sensed that we were being bogged done I should have pushed him off and hopped off her and pushed like hell. Lower tyre pressure and second gear.

I still need suspension work from Geoff. He’s a wizard. The front end is great but still needs pre-load. And the rear – for get about it. It’s a joke. What I have to do is bring him the bike fully loaded and he can estimate another r 80kg’s for me. All the springs will be custom built and he’ll have to re-valve everything.

I bought some ‘Tibetan’ jewellery for Annie today. I am sure I could find some in Sikkim but I don’t want to risk it.

I am beyond Weighty Ghost.

I would like to get Cara and Susan something but what?

I bought some ‘Tibetan’ jewellery for Annie today. I am sure I could find some in Sikkim but I don’t want to risk it.

I am beyond Weighty Ghost.

I would like to get Cara and Susan something but what?

November 7, 2013

I wanted to go to Rajgir yesterday and so did Rahul. He has never been there before. I have been there in 2004. It’s kinda cool. We can take a single person chairlift to the top of a small hill to visit a Japanese Temple. The best is the view of the desolate savannah views of Bihar. Rahul asked me if we could visit his mother first. His village is along the way. Since his father died he is the oldest boy and thus lives in Bodh Gaya selling maps to support his family. He approached me a couple of days ago and we have been hanging out ever since. He’s a good boy. He was born with a hair lip that wasn’t quite fixed properly.

Getting to his village was a bitch. The roads were the Bihar of old. Suu Kyi ate it up. If Rahul wasn’t on the back – look out! Paris-Dakar style. I didn’t set up the suspension. Rahul told me his was weight 20ks. I carry about 30-40kg. I did adjust the tyre pressure though.

There a two ways of getting to Rahul’s village. One - the short way and two – the long way.

In going the short way the road is rougher and there was a river crossing. No big deal.

We arrived at the river and I dropped her into first gear and let is rip. The high torque in first gear plus the sandy bottom was not good. Fucking stupid. My ego, in front of the crowd, got the best of me. Ego is the worst. Annie believes in this and now I am becoming to understand it. I feel guilty driving a BMW motorbike around town. She is worth 20 lak [+USD$30,000]. This is exactly what Buddha taught. My father has the biggest ego I have ever seen. Sometimes it’s embarrassing listening to him. Even when he is so blatantly clearly wrong; he is right. Just to shut him up, I agree with him – vocally but certainly not mentally.

Next time it’s the south. My friend Taylor, who has been to India twice, once to the north and the other to the south.. He told me the south is 10x better. I look forward to it. After trip this I will have been to every state in the north.

I should have parked the bike and walked the river, and THEN made an informed decision on how to proceed. This is rule one when crossing a river. Oh my ego!! Fucking idiot. In front of about 10 Indians I was rewarded for my big ego. A lesson I will soon not forget. The river wasn’t deep. About two feet at the most BUT it had a sandy bottom. I should have lowered the tyer pressure, even more, for a larger foot print, tightened the steering stabilizer and went into it in second gear thus having most of the toque caught up in the transmission and left Rahul on the shore. We got about two thirds across and she slowly bogged down. Up to her axel I carried Rahul to the other side because he was in his Sunday best for Matta.

I didn’t have her saddle bags on; only a small parts bags and my tool kit. FUCK!! The ego is so bad. I now know why stars think that they think can get away with anything. Here, I and Suu Kyi are super stars. Slow the fuck down. If I cut, it’s red, if the other person cuts it too is red. We are all the same. Just be good.

Rahul’s house was rather nice. This is what tourists will never see. I had chai. I met his Mother, Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle, Aunt, little Brother, cousin and little Sister. And, of course the entire village. All 50 people.

What really surprised me was that there was no garbage. Rice paddies as far as the eye could see.

On the way back we took the long way we took the long way. It was nice except the roads were rough

There is a book in the hotel room named, “Just be Good”. It’s a small book, in large font about Buddha’s teaching. In the forward it states, “In 2005, I was told, the Swedish government sent a questionnaire to every high school student in the country. One question was, ‘If you had to follow a religion, which religion would you follow?’ 60% answered Buddhism.” I don’t believe it’s a religion, it’s a belief.

Being invited to Rahul’s house was, for me, much more interesting than the single seat chairlift ride that I have done before. It took 4 of us to push her out of the river. I am so out of shape I just about had a heart attach. Later that night my back was so sore I could barely walk. When we got her out I set her up for further sand travel and promptly dropped her again [3x]. I couldn’t pick it up myself. This is so bad – can’t pick up my own girl. I am going to hit a gym when I return. One day I picked up Electra eight times myself. 100lbs heaver.

I just heard on BBC that the US economy is changing. I’ll be satisfied when companies start spend money. Everyone’s really flush right now. Toyota posted at 16.9BN yearend profit. NICE!!

I saw two dead people yesterday. The first was being carried on a stretcher through a no-name small village and the other a no-name burning ghat. He/she was yet to be burnt so Rahul and I spit.

Being burnt with sandalwood is very auspicious. In this area they can’t afford to do this so thy buy small pieces of sandalwood to burnt with the body. I bought one for 80 Rs.

The light switches are opposite as they are in Canada. Down is on.

I just can’t push myself to go to Kokata. It’s too big and it WILL be frustrating.

I found a professional copy place today. These are the best. Little stores with a copier in the back are the worst. Dark copies, pages missing, blurry…. The list goes on and on and on. The professional knows his machine and adjusts accordingly. I hate looking for these places on the road. I copied everything I will need for the trip except 10 pages.

I broke an earring today but I went to the place where I bought a lot of jewellery; I had a broken earring, she fixed it.

I have to call Les and ask him about Mobidia. The internet here blows goats. Bbbbaaaaaahhhhhh.

I got up and was out of the hotel at 12pm. Little Raul came over to say bye. This is travelling is all about.



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