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  • hardie karges 12:10 pm on June 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Kangding, Kham, Qinghai, Shangrila, , Tibet,   

    Dinner in China: Part III, Tibet on the Cheap… 

    20180618_141518Kangding is a revelation, that such an integral part of Tibet is so accessible, so unique, so easy, and all at reasonable prices! Now that the ‘official’ Tibet—aka Xizang—is so off-limits (again), available only on guided tours, for whatever reason (for their own protection, no doubt), this western part of Sichuan province and Qinghai are the next best thing, or maybe even better. The historical region known as Kham, Dalai Lamas have come from here, so it’s still the real thing…

    And admittedly I wasn’t expecting much, since Kangding is probably a majority Han Chinese town—uh, make that city—but that’s okay, too, as all the modern conveniences are here, so not exactly roughing it in the outback (though that can be done nearby). Best part: it’s only a five-hour bus ride from Chengdu, and less every day, as roads improve with blinding speed… (More …)

  • hardie karges 10:34 am on June 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Ramadan, , Tibet,   

    Lunch in China, Continued—Part II, Xi’an at Ramadan… 

    20180610_144744.jpg“Couple in the next room, bound to win a prize, they’ve been going at it all night long”–Paul Simon

    Except that here it’s downstairs on the street right below my window, and what they’re going at is mindless and noisy chatter, Meavis and Muttonhead yakking and yukking it up until the dawn comes, about what I don’t know, holding court over a kebab stall as if this is their meaning in life, I stuffing wet tissue in my ears with limited effect, tempted to open the window and yell, but ultimately holding back, it making little difference to my quantity of sleep anyway…

    Mornings in Xi’an are a riotous confusion of boiled eggs, corn on the cob and steamed buns, with filling and without, spicy meat most typical of the infrastructure involved, but you never know for sure until you actually bite in. It’s hot here in June, so best to get an early start if you want to get serious about walking 3mi/5km to the Big Goose Pagoda or whatever it is your tourist jones are hankering for… (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:14 pm on October 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Tibet   

    Buddhist Boot Camps: Kopan vs. Suan Mokh, part 1–Price of Rice… 

    IMG_0526“…(in) sitting meditation…we free our mind from past experiences and…any anticipation of the future. Instead we abide in the nowness of the present…”–HH the Dalai Lama

    Sounds a whole lot like Eckhart Tolle, doesn’t it? But no, this is from His Holiness the DL’s book ‘The Four Noble Truths’, compiled from talks he gave in 1996, some years before the publishing of ET’s break-thru book-thru drive-thru one-stop soul shop, in which a lump of basic Buddhism is twirled up into fluffy cotton-candy comfort-food for the disenchanted…

    …just lose all that pesky suffering, add some New Age flavorings, and let’s call it ‘The Power of Now’ instead of ‘Enlightenment for Dummies’. There you go, perfect, ready to market, and the rest is history—good work. But I’m not here to talk about ET, just HHDL, who largely inspired me, along with certain Beat Poets at Naropa last century hooting and howling next door, to further investigate Tibetan Buddhism, to supplement my current efforts in the forest temples of Thailand. Here’s the deal: (More …)

  • hardie karges 1:50 pm on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Tibet   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal, Part 1… 

    IMG_0530The malls on the Miracle Mile in Kathmandu are lined up like forgotten cemeteries outside a former battle field, most of them empty, dead or dying, lucky to have a coffee bar to anchor the whole place, while pedestrians walk past with eyes on their digital devices oblivious. I wonder if there’s any connection? I hope so. Auto traffic backs up on the back streets like blocked intestines wherever two cars pass and veggie vendors congregate if there is any more room than that. Nepal time is fifteen minutes behind India, no further explanation necessary…

    So I left. Think of Kathmandu and you don’t usually think of hot sweaty sticky atmospherics, just the opposite, but that’s what you get in the rainy season, an inch a day, and plenty of reasons to leave, with visions of equanimity, though still much better than the rainy season in Thailand, BTW, and climbing up a few hundred meters helps, plus it puts some perspective on it all, with all the little people down there f*cking and fighting, no slight of hands, and growth the only mantra… (More …)

  • hardie karges 5:30 pm on January 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rivers, Tibet   

    Rivers Meander 


    Tibet waters Asia. From its 20,000 foot plateau flow the headwaters of the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Salween, the Mekong, the Yangtze, and the Huang Ho. The headwaters of the Indus and Brahmaputra almost meet, almost making of India an island reminiscent of its former history as a transient sub-continent looking for a home plate to slide into. The upper waters of the Salween, Mekong, and Yangtze run almost parallel for 250 miles, only fifteen to thirty miles apart as the crow flies. Those three empty into the Andaman, South China, and East China Seas, not far from the cities of Rangoon, Saigon, and Shanghai, a distance of over 2000 miles on that same crow’s odometer. It would be much farther than that by boat, and an immeasurable distance by yardstick. How long is your coastline? That depends; how short is your ruler? Napoleon’s ears prick up and Zeno’s paradox takes over, and you never really get there, because the halfway points are infinite. I’ll take wise old crow; he cuts to the chase.

  • hardie karges 5:29 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Tibet,   

    Hold the Press! Late-Breaking News! Tibet Is Open! 

    IMG_0064I just got direct word-of mouth from travelers in Asia that Tibet is indeed open for independent travel, as I’d hoped, and I quote my friend Tom F:

    “I just talked to a traveller who was there, in Lhasa.  You just get their regular China visa.  They want your entry and exit points.  Make sure those points are not anywhere in east (west?) China, (Tibet or Xinjiang,  Qinghai).  They want itinerary I think as well… Once you get into the country,  do whatever you want.   it seems there’s no interior monitoring of where you go after you’ve  entered the country.  it may be riskier if flying around the country?  that may be monitored.”

    There you have it, hope for the disenfranchised China hand.  C U in Xizang!

    • Esther Fabbricante 5:44 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry – not a candidate for much travel any more – but of interest, as my granddaughter and her husband went to China and Thailand last month. They live in Nashville – Sherri’s daughter: Shannon McIntyre Hooper.


    • hardie karges 6:53 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You can always travel in your mind, Esther… Happy New Year!

  • hardie karges 9:41 pm on December 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Tibet   

    A Year Without Borders: Visions of Tibet 

    This is the first year in thirty-five or forty that I haven’t crossed a border. Oh, woe is me. What am I gonna do? I call feel the existential angst setting in, passport getting moldy, and moss growing where wild hairs used to be. I guess I could go sixty miles down to the Mexican border just to satisfy that ethnic Third World urge to merge, but—naah. Maybe it’s time to grow up, get a life, get a career, make some babies, make some grandchildren and—naah. I’ve got a better idea: as soon as this current hostel project is finished two months from now (and counting down)…

    I think I’ll take a trip, somewhere different, somewhere challenging, something exotic, something fragile, something like: Tibet. Yeah, I think that’s the ticket: Tibet, while there still IS a Tibet, occupied by majority Tibetans, not Han Chinese transmigrated in to control the elections, the natural selections and the flow of information, Han Chinese to turn what was once sacred and beautifully scarred into what will soon be self-satisfied and smug, driftwood polished by time tossed into the fire for kindling and kitchen work… (More …)

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