A trip by Matteo Trisoglio
from Dehli to Moscow (oct 2004 - apr 2005)
Torna a Il Labirinto | Travel Pages
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005
Besides that Moskow is a pleasant city to hang around, you find together zarist architecture, comunist relics and XXI century buildings and people. It's nice to stroll around and walk by watching things going on, a bookshop with old shelves, a boulevard with the statue of Gogol, old "babouskas" selling salami and tights.
Well, the travel is almost over, I don't know exactly how my bank account looks like but apparently in 6 months I've spent between 2700 and 3000 euro including the plane, all visas and the luxurious green tea I bought in China. Therefore I've been on what calculated and I'm glad about that.
And now? No idea whatsoever. Me and Soazig will take different routes and begin different projects individually. Me, I think I will become luese once more, for a while at least.
So, that's the end of the Asian
mailing list, thanks to all for the support. I hope sooner or later to
meet everybody for an extensive chat and some good time. Until then have
serendipity and keep smiling along the dusty road.
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005
The Baikal lake, 600 km long, 2 km deep, one fifh of the fresh water on Earth, is de-frosting nowadays but still looks like a plain white desert and cars are still running on it.
It's also cold and if you watch the weather forecast, next time they speak about cold Siberian wind, think it's here that the chill is born.
Tomorrow is the longest day,
we take the train to Ekaterinbourg, 50 hours and 3400 km. I like the train
ambience so much that even after 30/40 hours I wish I could stay a little
longer. But I'll see after two nights, no shower and more cabbage...
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2005 11:07:34
It's also a continuous eating
and snacking, we buy food on the stations and eat along the way.
The landscape in Mongolia is
empty, fenceless, nobody for hours, just some camel and horses. So empty
that by looking at it one becomes a little empty himself and at the same
time feels full and rejoycing.
But that's it for the philosophy, an interesting discovery I came across in Mongolia was that now I know where the caracter of Indiana Jones comes from: it was the adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews who first went exploring the Gobi desert and found dinosaurs skeletons, eggs and primordial mammals. reading his life made me also ride a horse in a desert storm fighting against thieves and beasts.
But it will for the next time,
Mongolia is not really part of this travel.
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 05:59:14
It took 60 hours to cross all China from Tibet, divided in 4 days of course and we've still managed to see some South parts of the Gobi desert, the terracotta warriors in Xi'An and now explore Beijing. At first I don't like too much China, it's trying to get modern as quick as possible, boasting wealth and consuming everywhere, polluting and kicking human rights. Anyway that's what US and Europe have done all along their history so I shouldn't be surprised the Chinese want their share too.
Apart for that Beijing has some nice corners where life is slow to normality, people selling food and old communist curios. In the same day we visited Mao's corpse (rather waxy) and the WTO supermarket to compare the change. We made the compulsory visit to t! he great wall which is a crazy and useless thing, imagine the romans building a wall upon the Alps the defend themselves!
Unsurprisingly food is bad
for a vegetarian and when I manage to find something veg it's so heavy
fried that it takes three days to digest.
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2005 11:00:08
The road from Kathmandu to Lhasa is 1100 Km long and it took 6 days to run along it. Tibet is too much of a country, its high, its vast, empty and filling at the same time.
We crossed the Himalaya with a jeep, its the only way this time of the year, the highest point is a pass 5250m high, I was a little out of breath and I dont know if for the lack of oxygen or for the panorama.
The road runs not far from the Everest north face but unfortunately it was a little cloudy so I couldnt catch but a glimpse of the Everest / Chomolungma.
Tibetans are nice and funny, going around on horseback and tending yaks and sheep. After having seen so many refugees in India and Nepal Im happy to see them in their natural environment, the Tibetan plateau, a kind of plane half the size of Europe and 4000 meters high. Its sad though seeing the Chinese domination, all looks rhetoric, the show of the peoples republic power, the supermarkets in Lhasa and the TV shops where only Han Chinese have money to go. Im determined not to get angry, it doesnt help but its irritating (to say the least) to see such a pure land transformed in a nuclear bin, to know that lakes are drained to make electricity and to observe arrogant rich driving around in huge jeeps covering with dust the people beside the road.
I discovered that here people are very dirty, in fact the dirtiest so far seen, I dont recommend a visit in a local toilet! Ive also discovered weird sides of Buddhism as a (former) powerful, temporal religion. In Tibet monasteries were rich, wealthy, ruling people with sometimes great cruelty; certainly a situation far from the original message of the Buddha. Another parallel with our Christian church., but probably all that was still better than the soldiers of the red guard.
Only a months now is left from the trip, 30 days and 12.000 km in the Asian trains and buses, more news from China later on.
Be happy all,
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 13:47:02
So, according to the snow melting on the high passes and to the road blockage which will end next Sunday, we will leave on Tuesday for the "Snow land and its forbidden city". Chances are not clear yet, I hope a good 90%.
For the rest I know every grain of dust of Kathmandu, its messy narrow roads with busy (as usual) people that sell anything, women that cry to sell some vegetables and rickshaw wallas who try to kick everybody out of their way.
We went for a little trek last week, not long but we couldn't get far by bus because roas where patrolled. So just four days on the lower Himalaya, we visited towns of farmers and shephers, none of which with electricity, they only use candles and some solar panels. It's strange in these conditions to live after sunset, at six you are stuck in the dark and don't know what to do, at eight we were invariably in bed!
Now I'm just letting days go
by until departure, situation here is quiet because there's an awful lot
of security, but just outside Kathmandu valley and in all Nepal the guerrilla
is hard, my feelings is that the rebels have lost control and are going
against the population itself. I don't know, some people expect the worst
for the future, Nepali people are sick and tired, but still happy and
managing to keep their cool.
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 13:14:46
for some reason I've been away from internet for a while and now I have to catch up.
We have been to Sikkim, trekking and having a good time in that mountain region, something like Schwitzerland but with Indians as a plus! But I will talk of that another time, now I just write about the time in Nepal.
Maybe in the West you got some echo of the strikes and Maoist problem and the King taking all the powers. The very day that everything happened we very unaware and happily moving from the Indian border to the Nepali one. Somebody was saying there was a strike but not much more, so we actually crossed the border, arrived in the next town Kakarvitta to discover that everything was blocked for 3 days. That town is something that usually people don't even look at, you cross the border and take the bus to go further. We happily had to stay there, with all the shops closed, no telephone, no internet, nobody on the roads. Buses were not running in fear of the Maoist so we just had to stay quiet, eat, sleep and take some sun while walking around. The atmosphere was a little unreal, but I enjoyed it somehow as I needed some time to clean up my mind after India.
The fourth day bus was back so, still without any news of the problems, the king's actions and Maoist's counter reactions, we went for a lovely trip of 19 hours (5 delay) by bus to Kathmandu. Here situation now is ok, the King even gave back the telephone and Internet as all the business was down and people started to become a little irritated (no wonder why they don't like this monarchy).
So life is running normal even for me, visiting the city (very lovely), reading and planning a trek among the peaks. I'm so relaxed that I even enjoyed all this mess, probably some traveller virus is acting. Anyway I think that Nepali deserve some better government and leadership because they are not that rich and can't make so many big mistakes.
First picture taken in Kakarvitta, second in a little market in Kathmandu.
Be happy all of you, more news
form Nepal later on (if
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 14:01:31
a quick one since we are in Darjeeling just for a couple of days before entering the restricted area of Sikkim.
I've finally seen the mountains,
the Mountains! What you see in the pictures is the Kanchenjunga, 8535
m, third peak of the world. It was already astonishing from below, I can
only dream of going higher up there. What brings me back is the real life,
at an altitude of 2200m Darjeeling is cold and freezing. No place
The English colonialist though had good taste and chose a lovely place to spend their summers, away from the dusty and hot Indian planes, we drink good tea (trivially), walk among the tea plantations and look down into the green lushing valleys. Sounds victorian, isn't it?
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 06:24:35
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 14:40:38
So here we are again, 30 degrees, coconut trees and miles of deserted beaches. The city is not very special; I suspect I start to have enough with Indian temples and their noisy colorful crowd.
Instead here theres a good atmosphere to practice concentration and cleaning my mind. Its actually one of the aims of this trip. We spend years to build a vast culture, years to grow a reputation and self respect, lots of energies also to train our bodies in sports. DO we dedicate even 10 minutes a day to train our mind? Usually not, because nobody ever taught us to do so. And its a pity because we could be so much happier, healthy and also helpful for all the other people. Thats what Im trying to learn in these six months, being relatively free from all the usual stuff like working, cleaning the house, etc I can concentrate a lot more in the processes that happen inside my mind (not only a brain), analyze its way of reacting and try to clean up and eventually set some order. A practical example is trying to taste the food of a meal completely, from the beginning to the end without losing the concentration nor allowing thoughts to sneak in. Are you ab! le to do that? Not me, awareness is still a long way further.
Experiment is in progress, updates later on
In the photo women you see some women that walk for kilometers on the beach gathering wood to use in their ovens while their men (boat) go fishing with very unstable and rather heavy boats.
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 22:30:46
the tsunami quite changed our plan, once more reminding that making plans is somehow silly. Funny because we were planning to take the ferry to the Andaman Islands the 3th of January! Im sorry we missed the chance but more sorry for all the people involved, here something like that (in smaller proportion) happens almost every years (last in Bangladesh).
Were in Bodhgaya, well safe ashore and people here watch everything fatalistically. We also though to go to the South coast towards Madras to volunteer but roads are somehow congested and its better not to add more mess at the moment.
So we take it with philosophy and stay here one week more hanging around the town where Buddha got enlightened hoping for a drop of wisdom to spill over. There are quite a few westerners but especially monks from all over Asia with their robe of all the different tones of red and orange. Nobody seems much concerned about celebrating New Years eve so I think that well be very sober, no alcohol, simple food and just a slight variation in the schedule; it will be hard to stay awake till midnight, as generally theres not much to do when it gets dark I usually to go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6/7!
Another thing were learning quickly is how to deal with beggars and bums. Through all the cities that we visited we found poor people but also some ignorant lazy people addicted to donations westerners give to them to relieve from some guilt they have.
So our policy now is that we dont give any money at all to children, especially if parents are around. On the other side we visited some offices and organization they are trying to arise consciousness among badly educated people, helping them to become productive, starting a virtuous loop to increase the quality of their lives and eventually to free themselves.
P.S. Im still not homesick but I would like to hear more from you all, these days Im going to repeat that this trip in just as interesting as your daily lives and I always like new thoughts to confront. So, please, write, write, write.
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2004 14:16:53
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2004 09:59:52
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 11:26:19
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 16:32:41
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 17:56:45
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 10:32:09