Merry Christmas

My dear readers,
I send out some surprises allready, but i am sure most of them haven’t arrived yet.
Thats why i am giving you another present right here.
it is once again picture time:

And now for all the fans of furry animals…i give you tigers!

Now we take a night train to our next destination… what an adventure.
So long
Ole

Angkor Wat, Gladiators and a word about Tourism

Siam Reap scared me at first.
Having been to Vang Vieng and Bangkok i expected another tourist flooded city….and thats exactly what i found.

Siam reap is the most touristic town of Cambodia, home To Angkor Wat (which was the reason i came here anyhow) the majestic Monument that even made it on the national Cambodian flag, the amazing ancient ruins that…anyways thats for later.

I have been hosted by a Belorussian Kickboxer, which brought me back to “beach body” 😉
Training him for his match in 2 weeks every day, and so training with him in the Gladiator-style Khmer Military Training Center.
And today for the first time in a Year – SAUNA!!!!
I almost forgot what i was missing… O_O

On my first day in Siam Reap i went to Angkor Wat after 17.00 thats when the guards go home, and you can enter for free and enjoy the last hour of sunlight…with a bicycle, you can also sneak into the Bayon at night time…but it was a little scary…. err, ah Don’t do it it is really boring to see one of the most magnificent buildings of ancient history at night time, with full moon and no loud tour-guides around, hearing the geckos and frogs… hrmm hrmm

But at this evening the daylight was only enough For one of the hundred temples…so i went the next day and bought a ticket and i did not regret it!

but please, see for yourself:

Notice how the trees look like Ent’s from Lord of the Rings, trying to invade the human fortress.
It was incredible, the archaeologists puzzeled a whole big Temple and the buddha face together from scattered stones…just incredible!

After this 7h trip in full sun, i felt ready for coconuts, vegetables and rice.
A lot of rice…I have my favorite restaurant where i can get free steamed rice…so i ate something like 3plates of rice 😀

I have no idea how i will switch topics now. From Happy at tourist attraction Angkor to Angkor What?, Happy Angkor Pizza, Le Prince d’Angkor, Temple Club, Angkor Beer…etc.
This place is booming because of the ruins, so everybody imitates the Style and Name of the Temples.
Tourists destroy places.
First there are a few Hardcore Backpackers like Magellan, Cook or Marco Polo, who go to places “nobody” has ever been before.
They then tell all their travel friends “Hey you should go there, it really nice”
Then the next wave of people comes there…still used to sleep on the floor, but maybe one Family seizes the opportunity and Builds a guest-house/bar/club/whatever and profits from mouth propaganda.
In the world we are living in the guest-house owner will not stay the only one.
Because of Jealousy, Competition and Customer Demand places start changing.
And depending on the kind of popularity the place will attract a certain kind of travelers (tourist is not a very nice word anymore)
And with every wave there are more potential investors who will Build a five Star Hotel, Spa and Resort. (Siam Reap, Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai)
A Big huge Club or Bar (like Pubstreet here, Khaosan Rd in Bangkok or central Vang Vien)
Ecotourism (Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai, Siam Reap, Malaysia…)

“People come people go” – but something stays

So Long
Ole

The Issan Rockets and Glass-Hill forest monastry

After taking a bus from Laos to Thailand i am in Thailand now.
Wait a moment… i don’t know why but something is of with that beginning sentence.

I arrived in Si Sa Ket, a town that apparently has a temple completely made out of recycled bottles…and a town of which i only saw a pretty but pretty expensive hotel for the night where the Internet shut down regularily..

But from there i went to Huay Tap Tan to meet Tony’s friend Noi.
She is an elementary school teacher for handicrafts and taught me how to make a palm leaf hat.
Also she can massage very well.

Then i went to the Monastery her brother leads.
And spent 5 relaxing days there, amazing food in the morning, 2-4 showers, and a little meditation.

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One day we were sent to go to see the Issan Rockets…rockets, but they don’t explode when they are up.
“Fireworks that doesn’t explode…sounds a little boring” i thought to myself, and i won’t judge you if you think the same.
Well we all could not be more wrong!

Did i promise to much? I have never seen something that incredible.
The rocket we carried actually won the event with a height of 370m about 1 213.9 feet…as i said, i don’t want to be there when the rocket comes down!
Tomorrow i will go to Bangkok my definite and last stop in Thailand.
Let’s see how crazy it really is.
So Long (and without a sunset)
OLE

Accept, Accept, Accept – a meditation retreat

Acknowledge,
Thinking, thinking, thinking,
sitting, sitting, sitting,
Rising, falling, rising, falling,
annoying noise in the background..accept!
Hearing the timer
stretching
Standing standing standin
getting ready to walk
raising, moving, setting,
raising, moving, setting
feeling anger…accept
raising, moving, falling,
thinking about what i will do when i come back to germany
-You are here now! Be in the present moment! Accept!

This is basically my head for the last 10 days.
And this is what was going on with my body
-Waking up at 4.00 am
-meditation: walking, sitting, walking, sitting
-breakfast at 6.30am
-sweeping the courtyard for 15 minutes
-Meditation
-lunch at 10.30am
-sweep the yard for 30minutes
-meditation
-report to the teacher at 5.30pm
-meditation
-go to bed at 10pm

No talking allowed, no books, no internet, no diary
just meditation!
Everybody, except for the Monks was wearing completely white clothing.

Does this sound like prison?
well prison is more luxurious 😉
But I can recommend it to anybody who wants to find out something about himself!

The whole Vipassana retreat was in the Monastery Wat Rampoeng in Chiang Mai.
Thank you Kuno for telling me about this place!

An introduction to Buddhist teaching:

Life is Suffering!

When a baby is born, does it laugh?
No it cries!
We suffer when
-we are born
-we are sick
-we are aging
-we die
and
-we loose a loved one
-we have to be together with somebody we hate

why did i divide these two?
The first 4 are nonself causes, we cannot influence them, not even Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed… could resist aging and dying (lets not argue about getting sick)

The second 2 are, as you probably guessed Self inflicted problems.

The 3 causes of suffering

-Anger
-Ignorance
-Attachment/Desire
If you compare these 3 to the 7 deadly sins from christianity you will find a lot of similarities.

The ways to overcome suffering are:
Wisdom, Love and Compassion.
These are achieved through effort.

Thats it 😉

The retreat actually shows you suffering:
Pain in Knees etc, thoughts, emotions….
accept, accept, accept

This develops a mindfulness to your body…really good stuff.

But i don’t want to write a book here …yet 😉

But i want to show you some pictures 🙂

_DSC0911every building has dragons in front, they themself are eaten by other animals…i have not yet understood the symbolic 🙂
_DSC0912The Pagoda: it took me 40 minutes to walk around_DSC0913The Gong: when hit it produces a very cool vibrating deep sound, when stroked on the middle a humming _DSC0914

The most beautiful but hardest place to meditate, crawling with ants, and mosquitoes, just so much distraction!! _DSC0916 The library, my standard meditating spot, cool and mosquito free 🙂_DSC0917The Buddha of the Library_DSC0919 Amazing Woodwork, i don’t know how much you would pay for this !handworked! door in Germany…the monastery was full of it!!

_DSC0920The technique of the “mindful prostration” on the top, which was the “warm-up” for the mind before each meditation session 4 times a day.
And of the walking 🙂

_DSC0933After the 10 days, i am staying with Ay (left) now, a exchange student who spent 1 year in my village in germany…but more from that the next days 🙂

So long
Ole 🙂

_DSC0915

The Tibetan Colony

Ok, so last time i showed you a picture of my host!
(i fixed the pictures, now you can actually see him 😉 )

We (the american lady i met in the train, Jigmee and another monk) drove to the Tibetan colony.
I was stunned when we arrived, so stunned that i forgot to make pictures…
But then we came to Jigmees monastry by the Name of Jaipun.
It holds 4000 Monks and is divided in 4 monastic universites.

This is his university/temple.

And this is Lubum Kangtse, the compound where he lives.
[THIS PICTURE IS RELATED TO THE SPECIAL POSTCARD QUIZ!!!]

I did not have a PAP (protected area permit) so i was staying in the colony illegally, which is the reason why i did not see much of the colony itself.

But i saw some spectacular things:

Pudjas

you are not allowed to wear shoes in the temple

when having a pudja in the temple, they normally eat in between.

this is a teaching.
(i recorded some samples, you can see them in the P.S.-section)

Cooking
I love to cook, but the highest amound of people i ever cooked for was 10, the kitchen master here cooked a delicious soup for 1500 people!

the kitchen
the ingedients
cut the tomatoes
fry the onions and stir, so they wont burn.

Add 3 buckets of glass noodles to a big pot of fried onions and tomatoes.
thenn add 2 buckets of cheese
3 buckets of mushroom
2 buckets of Chinese mushrooms
and then around 8 buckets of different vegetables
prepare a bowl of chili sauce
and stir the milk tea

Debate session

The Tibetan debate is quite physical. it is almost a dancing. the one sitting has to answer the questions of the standing man. and nobody is allowed to become angry.

(i am sorry for the bad quality, but my small cam could not get it better, due to the darkness 🙂 )the dance (i made a video of that)

the debate ground
symbolically putting salt on the head of the sitting one, because he made a mistake.

the “finals”, the groups gather and make a group discussion.
and people are allowed to stand up and to support the standing guy.
and then they do the dance together…

I did not make pictures of the reincarnation of the teacher of the Dalai Lama, who gave me an audience and answered some private questions.
Also i did not make any pictures of the chaotic street system, which looks really organic, and none of the beautiful Ratu monastery and its white abbot. The first white abbot in Tibetan Buddhism. A very nice American guy who studied Buddhism for more than 30 years.
So long Ole

SPECIAL POSTCARD QUIZ:
In the announced picture there are different numbers on the doors.
In which room did i spend 3 nights??
Hint: the guy walking is my host.
You get time until December to guess.
The comment must be on the blog!
I will announce the winner(s) when i write the first entry from Mumbai.

p.p.s.

i did not make this video, but the internet here is to slow 😦
there are 2 other videos i wanted to share, but now you just have to keep with the pictures :/