27 June, 2003

I have noticed some sort of balance holding my life together: I am both teaching and being taught; I read and I write; I exercise and I meditate; and, of course, I drink lots of tea. And I only travel in circles around the stupa. I can spend a whole week without leaving a 200 meter radius. All this is quite fun and relaxing. Today I bought seven copies of "Siddhartha" for my class. How great! I get to teach "Siddhartha" to young Buddhist Monks. This is very rich I think.

I have met a man who I am now taking meals with. Our conversations range from jail breaks and survived assisination attempts to shamanism, quantum physics, homiopathy, fasting, solidarity, Sanskrit, translations, lamas, reincarnation, computer programming, Lennix, Solaris, Tibet, voodoo, relationships, nature of reality, multiple dimentions, native american culture and practices, - do I realy need to continue? I feel like a kid again, curious and ignorant. It is all so beyond me, but the asking of questions and listening have become an art for me. I am bold and often ask for clarification. I interject a pertanant story or two. But the whole experience is like being in a virtual reality simulation, at high speed, of all of the world disciplines, sciences and technologies - zooming across time, a little to fast to keep up, but incredibly enjoyable and vivid. The man is too mysterious to attempt to explain him personally, and too secretive. But to me he is brilliant, and the conversations keep me rapt. Time flies by. I say little, but do interject what I can and direct as my couriousities dictate. It is a sort of akward dance - but still beautiful by its sheer magnitude and ultimate beneficence and unspoken mutuality.

Perhaps it is a thing I should leave alone, but it is opening new portals of understanding and questions, it is reassuring in the least, also humbling. I can safely say I have never experienced a mind like this. None more strange; none more provocative.

So to the story; shall I continue? Indeed. . . .

No buses. Nothing is leaving Beni. Everything is parked. The group of us in advance had desided that if this was to happen, we would walk south to the next town. There was a rumor that buses - or something - was posisbly leaving from there. So we started. The start was staggered, nine of us in all, but a few stayed behind for breakfast. It was about 6:15 in a dry, bright morning. THe sun was already warming the rocks and boulders aside the road.

The road was a real road now, cars, trucks, and jeeps rutted the sides. Mud puddles and dust somehow co-mingled. I walked fast, feeling an advantage to being the first into town. The kilometers stretched on and little ground was made between me and my followers. In fact I stopped just shy of town and was the third to arrive, just behind a British couple who had been trekking in the Everest Region. There was nothing to be done. We sat and had a fruit drink. It was a little after eleven. Small talk was made with some curious locals, a little sympathetic to our dilema. There were people and trucks but no help. We sat almost ten minutes and reckoned on hiking south again to the next town, maybe three hours south. Casually I heard, "that jeep there, they go Pokhara."
"What, Pokhara? That jeep is going to Pokhara?" Forgetting the boiled eggs I was preparing to buy, hoping everything was stowed away, I grap my bag and move to tailgate, asking the same question to the busboy.

Yes, he said, then the dash for the seats. THe last four of our group came running up as we were all piling in - perfect timing. There was room - barely - for all. I looked at my comrades with disbelief. Was this for real? A jeep. I levitated off my seat. I didn't know what I was paying. I was uncertain as to where I was going. But I was surely moving south down the same dry abandoned road I was prepared to walk down. There was still seventy kilometers to Pokhara.

We moved south down the gravelly road scrunched in the parallel back seats of the old Land Cruiser - or something. We picked up all sorts of people. There were old men on the roofrack. Kids hanging on the bumper. It was all better then walking. We stopped a couple of times, people came and went, as well as the driver. At last everyone got out. We weren't at Pokha.

500 rupees a person we offered him. That was big money; there was nine of us. No deal. No jeeps were going to Pokhara. So we all unloaded and prepared to walk. I was one of the first in so I was also the last out. I checked the floor and got the money out to pay. 40 rupees.

As I was paying I saw everyone piling into an old van; it looked like a police car because of a siren looking thing on top. It certainly wasn't the police, put they must have heard the price we were willing to pay and had some space. But it wasn't much space. We sat on top of one another, legs intertwined and squashed. Another human could not have possibly have fit. But again we were moving, and this time with a little more hope of making it all the way.

The only question now was whether we could stand the pain. Legs were numb. Movement was not very feasible without causing someone else harm. It was a practice in meditation and patience. The driver let us out for a stretch about twenty minutes outside Pokhara. It was about 12 o'clock. Was I actually going to make Kathmandu on time? . . ..

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