“Go with the flow”

There’s always plenty of advice available when you talk about going travelling. It’s usually the only time that people who’ve been travelling actually talk about it, as it seems that you get back from wherever you’ve been to, talk about your travels for a little while, and then shut up and keep it all to yourself for fear of being a travel bore. The advice still comes when you’re actually travelling, often whether you asked for it or not (“oh yeah, you’ve got to go there, it’s, like, so chilled” et cetera).

Out of all the advice I had before I came away, and while I’ve been in India, the one piece of advice that has been most useful is “Go with the flow”, particularly lately. I was supposed to be in Hong Kong now – but couldn’t get on the flight, so I’m still in India, probably until later this month. After deliberating over whether to head off somewhere else, I decided to stay in Bhagsu because I like it here. After two months of moving constantly from one place to the next and feeling the wrench of leaving a place I liked, I decided to stick around. Now I’m here for a bit longer I’ve got into a couple of things, so my time in Bhagsu wasn’t all used on idling. I’ve started a course on Tibetan massage, and I’m teaching English to a Tibetan monk.

Tibetan massage is a combination of therapeutic and relaxation massage techniques which, unlike Ayurvedic massage, doesn’t use so much oil you end up feeling like a piece of marinated meat, and so far I’ve learned some killer techniques on the foot and the legs, with the back coming up this evening. After the first lesson, I bought some ‘massage pants’ – a pair of tight-clinging underpants – as I was wearing boxer shorts for the first lesson and had to get my trousers off for my partner to try leg massages on me, and was paranoid that I’d have bits popping out.

My English-learning monk is called Lobsang – he’s 31, from a monastery in Karnataka. He’s been learning English for about four days, so you could say his vocabulary is a bit limited. So far we’ve done numbers, letters of the alphabet, days of the week, and parts of the body. By the time we’re done I’m hoping we’ll have covered Shakespeare, elementary particle physics, and the recipes of Delia Smith.

Sorry no pics for a while now – my camera had a paddy the other day and I lost about 150 pictures from the recent part of the trip. This is gutting, but most of them are now on Flickr, and safe. Pictures I’ve lost forever include a photo of Kai and Laura looking disgustingly beautiful, Anil cooking his secret-recipe coconut cake, two mongooses copulating, and Caesar the dog upside down with his legs in the air. These jewels are gone, but I hope to add more soon.

1 thought on ““Go with the flow””

  1. I saw something on telly this week about a tibetan pilgrimage to mount Kailash where you have to walk round it and do some little tests. It’s at 15000 ft and pretty tough on the old lungs. The locals do it prostrating, i.e. praying, standing up, taking a step forward. Fancy that one? I wonder if your student has done it?

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