The 1st thing I did when I arrived in Dhaka
was to check in with Roy to see if he's arrived safely home.
I remembered that he was going to have 1 day in Delhi,
and then fly home to Israel.
His mother has been calling him every day and asking him to come home.
So he left Nepal, and bought a flight home,
cutting his trip shorter than planned.
But the 1st thing Roy replied to me after I sent the message shocked me beyond all my experience in all my travels...
The rest of the trip, I travelled with a saddened heart.
Especially as things were going on in Israel and Gaza,
things felt like they were shrouded with double layers of mourning now.
Israeli travelers like Roy and Jonathan were not posting on their socials knowing that it would be insensitive that they're showing how much fun they're having when the war was going on.
So i had no way of knowing how Roy was doing for the days to come.
We could only give him space to be with family, as it was a much needed time to be with them.
I was gutted for him too because just before he left,
I made sure that he would go to find a piece of Pashmina scarf for his mom like he wanted to.
He was not feeling like it,
but there was a shop right there, so we went in to have a browse,
and he chose one with the help with the shopkeeper who told me that I looked like a Nepali, and that he'd been many times to China.
I was looking forward to hearing from Roy that his mom liked the scarf he picked...
I was just so gutted for Roy and for such a loss for him and his family...
It's the Worst that could happen... the worst for a traveler to come home to...
I'm truly sorry for their loss.
My heart felt like lead...
As I floated on the river, watching Dhaka from the water,
this place felt like Varanasi...
It felt as if I was in Varanasi...
An atmosphere of death and the beyond surrounded my heart...
I was floating beyond the liveliness and friendliness of Dhaka,
in a sadness of my own.
Dhaka had a large Armenian community here in the 1800s.
They left in the 1900s, and left behind an Armenian church and a lot of graves in the middle of Dhaka.
I read through the engravings carved onto the grave stones,
they were lovely words of farewell for the ones loved and lost.
A coincidental but much needed solace for how I felt that day.
In the middle of Kathmandu, I was surrounded...by 🇮🇱 travelers.
In Nepal, you see the ✡︎ everywhere on temples and ancient structures in various Durbar Squares.
Because in Buddhism, ✡︎ symbolises harmony.
The 1st time I saw ✡︎ on a building, it really made me wonder,
How on earth did humanity come about with the exact same symbol in 2 completely separate religious bodies???
And which came first? Who might have influenced who???? Etc etc.
It was all so fascinating!
I had no answers to these questions because I simply had no time to sit down to even look through my phones in my time in Nepal.
I did a search later :
The Symbologist: History of the six-pointed star
There's also this video below which recounts the history of this ✡︎:
But what really felt like serendipity alongside this was in actuality, in Kathmandu, our buddy is Israeli and he knew of a restaurant called OR2K that was serving food to Israeli travelers for half price.
So he took us there twice in 2 days.
When we arrived, I saw a piece of paper stuck to the service counter that it was a couple who was donating money to pay for half of all Israeli travelers’ purchase here.
It wasn’t the restaurant’s idea.
But seriously, the restaurant had 3 or 4 floors of dining space,
Aside from tables, there are just cushions on the floor and sitting space all middle-eastern & of course Nepali style.
I love sitting on the floor so it was lovely to just be in a restaurant at last where I could do so.
The restaurant served foods of all origins, whether it’s curry or thai or pizzas or Israeli food.
What was really spectacular though was the sheer scale of the customers on each floor.
By the entrance to each floor, the floor space was covered with customers’ shoes,
and once we were seated and I looked around me,
practically every customer was an Israeli.
Roy had his way of telling what kind of Israeli travelers each group was, too.
First we had a running hilarity about the Israeli travelers’ sandals.
As soon as you see those ugly iconic sandals, you’d know they’re Israeli,
“They all had the same sandals!”
SO every time I saw those sandals,
I just called out “Israeli!” between ourselves for the fun of it.
Seriously though, at one point, it felt like Kathmandu was filled with Israeli travelers,
more than travelers from any where else.
And here I was, on my 2nd time here, sitting at the very end of the dining space,
right in front of my eyes, a roomful of Israelis that day...
It was a strange and quite wonderful sight.
There must be such a sense of camaraderie right then and there for all of the Israelis.
Especially considering what had been going on back home and on Palestinian side...
In this very restaurant called OR2K, there was a a lot of shalom and a lot of לְהִתְכַּנֵּס.
As all jews were scattered in the ancient times, but will eventually come together.
It was quite a lovely and unique scene for me to be in.
Roy said there's a word for it in Hebrew, where Israelis would gather in times like this,
it's called Israeliada.
It's quite a lovely thing for him as an Israeli, he said to me.
It has been horrible seeing attacks on people from both sides already,
It is important to remember, whatever actions the governments and militaries or political forces of a nation are taking, people of those Palestinian / Israeli backgrounds shouldn’t be the target in countries of peace, where a lot of physical attacks and antagonism have been taking place. That’s just downright stupid & Humanity showing its true colours.
As Chinese, we simply do not support or speak for any side with what’s happening.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
There is significant benefit in doing a digital detox,
and I decided to do it again after my 2nd time in Phuket which lasted a week.
This time I made it 10 days.
My 1st digital detox was when I was in Cuba.
I thought it would be a great place to do it,
because internet could only be used when physically on the streets anyway,
I might as well not have it.
I loved it.
It felt more like life again,
The life we used to have pre-2010.
I've always been a camera person, even before smartphones,
I'd carry a camera everywhere.
I was the Asian person taking pictures all the time,
my friend would roll her eyes and smile when I poked my camera at her face.
I just loved taking pictures.
Phone, however, is a different matter.
I hated waiting for txts, waiting to hear back, waiting and waiting, checking the phone to see if I received a message reply.
That wasn’t healthy.
Smartphones are worse.
It's a micro-laptop on hand + a camera + a phone (which is a function I do not use).
But the information you can gather on a smartphone is just too much.
Looking at the phone becomes a filler of times when we could stare blankly at the ocean/the mountain/the street, thinking inward and giving our brain the time to wander and wonder at things.
So that's why I'm doing the digital detox again.
I do allow people to msg me, because that's how travelers and my family can stay in touch with me.
But I do not look at social media of any kind.
That was just the best choice ever.
I also had too many things happening day in day out that I had no time to look at the phone anyway.
So a week went past like nothing.
I didn't need the smart phone for anything but panning a shot with it like a camcorder, or taking videos and photos whenever I did not feel the need to use my camera-camera.
Doing the digital detox allows you to connect more with yourself,
and spend more time looking at the world rather than the worlds within the phone.
I made time for writing my diary instead of looking at the phone,
I made time to read when I had any time at all to do so.
In fact I feel like 10 days aren't even enough.
I can easily go for 2 weeks or more next time I'm traveling.
Especially if I have made a lot of friends.
Time away from the phone is a good valuable time, worthy of living 100% present.
I highly recommend every one of my friends some of that digital detox.
It's so good.
I'm going to do it again for every trip I take.
I sat here for an hour.
This is now my favorite place in Bangkok.
If it wasn't for the uncushioned benches,
I'd have stayed for hours.
If you put a time lapse of me sitting there,
You'd have seen hundreds of visitors passing by. And me a still image in the frame.
There's no where like this, not even Tokyo:
Furthest from the temple mount in the horizon
is the long line of Skyscrapers
Which are the makeup of Bangkok's expansive skyline.
I wanted to see a skyline for the trip
And there I got it at the golden temple mount.
This view was incredible because
Just beneathe my eyes,
I could see at least 13 temple complexes.
And then there are all the movements and goings-on within the temples and on the old Bangkok streets.
I could see Everything.
And I was observing all the activities in every crook and cranies.
Birds were flying at my eye level or below;
I could see prayer-makers directly down below at the foot of the hill,
I could see people dining at a table under the canopy inside the biggest temple below;
I could see a guard sitting on the narrow old Bangkok street side on a chair,
If he didn't move his all-outstretched legs,
His feet wouldve been ran over by cars;
I saw girls doing different poses for the camera, and someone holding the phones;
I could see burnt and abandoned buildings,
I could see temples of other religions;
After half an hour I started noticing the unique designs of some of the skyscrapers that I didn't see before.
I sat for so long that the weather changed from ☁️ to 🌥️, the sky turned blue,
The heat rose and wind blew the clouds sparse.
Not even Tokyo has such clearly layered scenes,
where there's a contrast of the business district in the great distance,
Forming a skyline,
And over here,
an expanse of temples and old houses...
It was so wonderful.
It was amazing how peaceful I was despite all the noise there:
The hundreds of small bells that hang on the roof top rang in the breeze;
All the bigger louder bells being struck by people's hands as they go up and arriving on site;
The stupid recitation on loud speakers by a man, ruining ;
Ceaseless shaking sound of fortune sticks by different people...
I wondered what they hoped for,
And it reminded me of the film I saw on the plane. Where the protagonist Toru got a Great Luck, yet he passed away anyway...
I wondered how people entrusted so much of their lives with the great beyond, and what their lives were like that dictated such faith.
Amidst all the noise and chaos and passing people,
I was so still, in complete contentment.
Just sitting and staring as I can.
If there ever was someone you know who is so much like a cat
That'd be me.
And funnily enough,
The shirt dress I wore was covered with cats.
You wouldnt be able to tolerate all this sitting and staring by me if you came along.
I thought, only 1 being would be able to sit with me like this.
That would be Binah.
Binah would look at at first and I'd be holding her,
Then she'd greet everybody that comes, wagging her tail at them, getting pets and possibly photos.
Then when she's bored of all of that,
She'd just lay next to me and nap.
She wouldn't leave or complain.
𝑾𝒆 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝑪𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔: 𝑯𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝑰𝑺 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒅, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒔 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒎𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆 & 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 ---
𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝑯𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒚, 𝑰'𝒎 𝒈𝒍𝒂𝒅.
𝑰'𝒎 𝑺𝒐 𝒈𝒍𝒂𝒅 𝑰'𝒎 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆.
𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝟏 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒂𝒗𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒔 𝒄𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔,
𝑵𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒃𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔
𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍...𝑻𝒐𝒌𝒚𝒐/𝑲𝒚𝒐𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒏, 𝒃𝒖𝒕, 𝑩𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒌𝒐𝒌 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒎𝒂𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒈.
𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔,
𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒆 𝒊𝒕'𝒔 𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕.
𝑺𝒐 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒔 𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒄𝒌𝒔 𝒐𝒇𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒐𝒙𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒆.
𝑰'𝒅 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒍 𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒐 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒐 𝒐𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒏.
𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝑰 𝒕𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒂 𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒃 𝒕𝒐 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒊 𝑨𝒊𝒓𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 𝒂𝒕 𝟒,
𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒅𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒔𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝑰 𝒄𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎,𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐,
𝑯𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒊𝒅, "𝒚𝒐𝒖'𝒓𝒆 𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒈𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆𝒔."
𝑰 𝒔𝒂𝒊𝒅, ..."𝒊𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆.
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒂 𝒔𝒄𝒂𝒓𝒚 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆~"
𝑰'𝒅 𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒈𝒐 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆
𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒈𝒐 𝒕𝒐 𝒂 𝒍𝒐𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆𝒔,
𝑨𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆.
𝑨𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒊𝒔𝒏'𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒍𝒚, 𝒊𝒕'𝒔 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆;
𝑨𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒅𝒐𝒆𝒔𝒏'𝒕 𝒃𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔,
𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒊𝒕 𝑰𝑺 𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆𝒇𝒖𝒍.
𝑰 𝒅𝒐 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒚𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒎𝒚 𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆, 𝒂𝒕 𝒎𝒚 𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒑𝒂𝒄𝒆.
𝑰𝒇 𝑰 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒂𝒔𝒌 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆,
𝑰'𝒅 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒈𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆,
𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒇𝒖𝒍 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒅.
𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝑰 𝒎𝒆𝒕 𝒐𝒏 𝒎𝒚 𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒑𝒔, 𝒔𝒐 𝒎𝒖𝒄𝒉.
𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒎𝒚 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕.
𝑪𝒉𝒆𝒄𝒌 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒎𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒖𝒍 𝒕𝒐𝒅𝒂𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆.
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