Lost mountains: Kabru over Pelling

Kabru N and S

A lost photo from a while ago. Tonight I was remembering my days in Sikkim a year ago. Here are is Kabru peaking out from the evening clouds. This view comes from Pelling.

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So long, 2010; it’s been nice knowing ya…

Well, hello there 2011. You’ve got a hell of a lot to live up to.

As most people know, I started my whirlwind trip in late summer of 2009 and things haven’t really gone bad yet.

I started 2010 in the remote paradise of the Andaman Islands, far off India’s coast. I had just learned to dive and fell in love with the sport. Fish are friends, not food.

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The mighty Kanchenjunga range

Kanchenjunga (right) at sunrise


Pelling offers so many good photos. So easy to take them.

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Sikkim’s cloud city

Ancient inscriptions of Rabdenste

Once the Sikkimese capital, Rabdentse has been abandoned for hundreds of years. The ruins sit on a ridge shrouded in mist and fog. And unfortunately, covered in spackle by archaeological “restoration” efforts.

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Moon over Gayzing

Fine blue sky as I passed through Gayzing

I once wanted to be an astronomer. These days, I settle for pictures of the moon.

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Of masks and swords

Lopen's famous masks cast from mud

The highlight of my student’s cultural program early last month was a performance of the traditional Buddhist Mahakala chaam dance. I had seen the boys practicing but had no idea how elaborate the costumes and show would be.

Also known as the “Dance of Drinking of Blood,” the Mahakala is performed to eliminate obstacles in the Buddhist path.

The dance circle

More photos below.

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Prayers of all sizes


Peace found at Pemayangtse above Pelling. I was there for last month Saga Dawa, also known as Buddha’s birthday, and sat at prayer with a dozen monks.

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Tea at Pemyangtse

Foggy photo

The mist fogged my glass.

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Starting the day

Morning prayers

Each school day starts with an assembly of Buddhist prayers and a recitation of India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.

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Walk jane chahiye!

My 2nd-year Albert (orange) leads Anurag and Phurba along.

I love that my kids are excited to go out for a walk in the woods. When I shout “walk jane!” no fewer than two dozen kids come running. They’re a bit like puppies responding to that command.

It’s also taught me appropriate crowd control measures. 1) Delegate to an older child who will be drunk with power and help you keep the younger ones in line. 2) Force everyone to hold some else’s hand. 3) Take toilet breaks. 4) Buy candy half-way through the walk; do not distribute until end.

It’s our chance to get a bit of exercise, singing and maybe some education together. Once we spotted copulating frogs. Another time, a flying squirrel. And I typically rail against litter whenever we’re out and about.

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