Saturday, June 28, 2008

Downward Dog (revisited)

Taken from the Swayambhunath Stupa (aka the Monkey Temple) Kathmandu, Nepal


Below are various views of Kathmandu. 2 of 3 days were spent on a rented 150 cc motorbike. I didn't get as far out into the Nepalese hinterland as I would have liked, but I did make it several stone throws from the Chinese border. Muddy tracks and street tires prevented me from venturing further. Better saved for another day...

View from a rickshaw on the way to Tamil. These things weren't built for individuals of my healthy stature, but he made it work nonetheless.

These idols to Buddha, Krishna, Kali, Ganesh (etc) were to be found throughout the city; some well tended with fresh colors and flowers, others not.
Ganesh idol and Nepali idler.
The Patan Durber square. These ancient squares were where royalty was crowned. Despite the lack of royalty, the squares are still great places to hang around.
Among the Nepali's milling around, I ran across these three cute Nepali girls who pestered me incessantly to buy some tourist junk (the third is taking the photo). The girl in orange was about 10 years old, spoke some English, and was spunky. So we walked around the square a bit and then further to the roving temple (see below). Unlike the other ad hoc tour guides, these girls were willing to provide their information for free; I relented in the end though and bought several passport bags anyway. I'm a sucker for the ladies.

Above is one of the roving temples that traveled around Nepal. From the photos accompanying it, this temple had traveled all over Nepal to heal people from their sicknesses. A young boy applied a red kumkum and I took a few photos. I wasn't sick, so I can't say that it worked for me.

Close-up of the traveling temple.

The other bike waits for a rider...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Kolkata and Kathmandu

Just returned from India and Nepal. Quite a trip. I'm still slightly jet-lagged and there's a stack of wrinkled, stinky clothes on the floor, so I've just quickly uploaded some photos. More to follow!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

School's out for the summer!

According to the sun, summer began today with the summer solstice but, for me, summer started when the bell dismissed my students for the last time on Thursday! The giddy feeling of excitement has not changed from when I was an elementary student myself. Readers (if Viva Pierre still has any readers after remaining stuck on those flowers for so long), I encourage you all to consider teaching as a profession. Your talents may lie elsewhere or perhaps you feel as though you need a more substantial paycheck but nothing compares to the feeling of having a summer holiday stretch out before you. I suppose the part about inspiring children to grow into lifelong learners is cool too.

So, what to do this summer? It's a great time to be in Zurich. I'm sure you've all been following the Euro 2008 soccer tournament on a daily basis for the last 2 weeks. How about the Croatia v. Turkey game last night? Incredible. Actually I'm sure these games have barely made it onto the last column on the Sports Pages but they're a huge deal here. Switzerland and Austria have been hosting the games and Zurich has turned upside down in the fervor. A five minute walk from our place is the impressive Fan Zone where a huge screen has been set up on a floating stage in the lake. Zurich is such an international city that no matter who plays there is always a crowd gathered to support their home country, complete with face paint and flags. The nearby streets are filled with stands offering every carnival food you can imagine (actually I haven't seen any fried candy bars- gross) and plenty of temporary beer gardens. For the first week, 2 games were played a night. I've caught almost every game. I've just returned home from watching the Dutch lose to the Russians. Our closest Dutch friend hosted a viewing tonight and he handled the loss graciously. Who will win it all? We will have to watch next Sunday.

I'm just glad that Coy will be back before the fun ends. He has missed the entire tournament while working in India these past two weeks. I promise a month won't pass before he blogs about some of the things he has been able to see and experience in Asia. Yes, I've been so jealous that I've had a noticeable green pallor...maybe that's what prompted the gloating at the beginning of the post...

Anyway, here are some pictures of the soccer hoopla:
Shoot, I can't figure out how to turn the pic. I had to use my school camera...not sure why that would make a difference.

This part of the park was turned into a beach area with lawn chairs and a sand volleyball court with a big screen, of course. Too bad it was cold and rainy for the first 8 days of the tournament.