Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stats

A friend had asked me how many countries I have been to and I told her I honestly don't know. I don't keep track of things like that. However here goes the inventory.

England (22 times)
Ireland (1975 & 1978)
Scotland (1975, 1981, 1994)
Wales (1979 & 1984)
France (1976, 1999 & 2008)
Germany (quite a few times)
Belgium (1976)
Italy (1976 & 2007)
Switzerland (1976 & 1983)
Austria (1976)
mental note to self - time to head back to Europe!!!
Greece (1980)
Spain (1980)
Kenya (1982)
Norway (2002)
Denmark (1984)
Netherlands (1975 & 1983)
Luxembourg (1976)
Japan (1977)
Hong Kong (1977 & 1990)
Singapore see above
Thailand see above
Malaysia 1990
Indonesia 1977
New Zealand 1977
Australia 1977 & 1985
Fiji 1977
Jamaica 1984
Caribbean cruise covering Barbados, St Maartan, Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Thomas...1987
Mexico 2002 & 2010
Peru 2006
India 2007
Egypt 2009
Jordan 2009
Nepal 2010/11
Cuba 2004
Costa Rica 2002/3 & 2008

U.S.A. & Canada of course!!! Too many trips to mention but I have been in every province and territory in Canada and well over half of the U.S. states. One of my goals is to walk in every state and state capital in the U.S. So far I am just over half in the states and not quite half in the state capitals. It's a lifetime project!!!

How many countries does that add up to? I don't know....like I said I don't keep track. To me there is no need - I am not trying to impress anyone. Some of the countries were just a taste - others like England are old friends. It would be an insult to even say I've been there For example Antigua ...- to put it bluntly my friend and I were drunk the couple of hours we spent on land there. All I can remember about that country is a kid and a dog and I would struggle to remember that if I didn't have the photos. It would be an insult to the fine people of Antigua to tell them I've been to their country. But my feet have been on Antiguan soil so I am counting it here.

All I know is I will keep exploring until I either get too senile to hit the road or don't have enough money - whatever it turns out to be (andit will be a sad sad day.) I hope I never lose my wanderlust or sense of adventure....the day I say I just want to stay at home please take me into the back forty as they say and shoot me. (even though I believe in gun control!) Especially if I am still living in Saskatchewan!

It makes me realize it is time to revisit some places - it's just been too long.

I am going to start rehashing old trips - I have the diary for my first trip overseas in front of me. My, such nice handwriting and wow such detail....such a young innocent thing I was but I am so glad I kept diaries back then. I don't think I've read it since I put it away after my trip!!! It should be a good read.

Stay tuned - I will be back to regale you with what a 22 year old Restless Prairie Girl got up to and how I got this way....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reflections on Nepal

Well I have been back home almost three weeks now. I am still digesting everything that I saw and did in Nepal. Looking at my pictures and seeing things I never saw when I was there in person. Some places (Durbar Square in Kathmandu comes to mind) were so overwhelming and so full of people, colour and activity that it was impossible to take it all in. That is why I take photographs. It is a fine line though between being in the moment and enjoying where you are and taking a photograph to remember. You have to take the lens away from your face and "just be" (as my meditation teacher says)

I loved Nepal. Would I go back? Probably not...but never say never...I have learned that. There are too many other places in the world I want to see. I loved the people and loved their greeting "Namaste" (pronounced Namastay) Usually with a small bow and your hands together in prayer.

The street children in Kathmandu were disturbing however it is difficult to help them. There are places they can go to get off the street but they run away back to their gangs. That is what they are used to. Su told me that one of his clients who comes to Nepal a lot collected clothes for the boys and gave them to a group - he went back the next day and they were wearing the same rags. They had sold the clothes for drugs. As I mentioned in an earlier post they are usually stoned on drugs or openly sniffing glue. It is not safe to wander around Kathmandu after dark as the boys roam in packs and will mug you. Very very sad. I just hope there are a few that can make that transition and make something of their lives.

The animal sacrifice bothered me however they eat the meat and if we saw what goes on in slaughter houses I am sure the animals that are sacrificed are treated much better and are at least thanked for giving their lives. More so than the cattle that are now wrapped in plastic at our local grocery store.

My photographs are more urban than a normal tourist to Nepal would take. Most tourist go on a trek for several days - walking between villages. However I knew my knees would not be up to that challenge - and my vertigo would not like it either. Just doing the "easy" walks on the tour was enough of a challenge for me.

What is next? Visiting family in Lethbridge, Alberta for Easter and then a walking conference in Whistler, B.C. at the end of May. Nothing major planned for the foreseeable future.

Stay tuned - that willl change I am sure!!