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Misha Gitberg our trot from London, Budapest, Viena, Rome, Florence, Venice, Sophia, Istanbul, Doha-all so we can finally get to India! then Nepal, and then Thailand! and then Laos, USA and Canada.

from Thailand to Laos

THAILAND | Wednesday, 2 April 2008 | Views [1473]

Sawaidi Kaap Dear Friends and Family,

we are in Laos-yes, another country before we start our slow returning to North America.

Last two weeks we spend in the North of Thailand, a city called Chiang Mai.
(see pictures at : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishateodora/sets/72157604409018077/detail/)

There, in the Wat Ram Poeng , we
had a very challenging meditation retreat for 10 days. Challenging but very useful. Meditating 8-11 hours daily and trying yet another new Vipassana technique, have sharpened my mind way beyond its habitual dullness.
Therefore, you will see how my writing now have become concise and to the point. I will write separately about meditating at Wat Ram Poeng, the technique we have mastered and interesting people we have met there

you can view pictures from the Wat at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishateodora/sets/72157604409257257/detail/

After the retreat, we boarded the Slow Boat and travelled indeed very slowly along the winding picturesque Mekong river
for two days, burning our bums on uncomfortable narrow sits and being surrounded by all sort of folks: travelling monks as well as loud partying on cheep Laos beer British.

sea pictures from this trip at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishateodora/sets/72157604393907745/detail/

Now we are in charming and laid back Luang Prabang, a former French colonial city, full of flowers and treas in bloom, small Buddhist Wats and smiling locals, who for some reason have not lost their genuine hospitality in the face of swelling tourism. We feel very rich hear, being able to afford dinners for 80,000 Kips (Laos currency is not doing great.)

see first batch of pictures from Luang Prabang at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishateodora/sets/72157604389398328/detail/

We are planning to rest here for about two weeks, then travel south to the capital, Vientiene, and then fly back to
Bangkok for our final week in Thailand and Asia!!

We are definitely ready to start our trotting back: full to the brink with impressions, new leanings, new encounters, practices,tastes and roads- we are ready for something more stable and quite, for example sleeping in the same bed for more then just a few nights and making our own meals.

Our flight is to San Franciso, as we will be working and studying for three months in Tassajara, Buddhist Zen centre, 5 hours into the mountains from SF. It seems like an amazing place and we hope to explore integrating
meditation practice and work in the setting of a spiritual community.

sea their site at:

http://www.sfzc.org/tassajara/display.asp?catid=4,19&pageid=182

In the last few months Teodora and I have been talking about starting a meditation centre; somewhere where the sea and sky meet and where mountains try to hold such meeting together :-) So, living in a spiritual community for a while will give us a taste of such life as well as knowledge we could use later in creating meditation retreat of our own.
If any of you are anxious to donate land or service to such an enterprise, here is your chance :-)

For all of you in Toronto, who are braving this harsh winter, we send our warm thoughts and best wishes!
As Buddhists say: while pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional. Do you think they are right? :-)

with love,
Misha

PS
to see pictures from our elephant trip on Cochang, go to :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishateodora/sets/72157604099100980/detail/

and to view pictures from Cochang island beach life, go to:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishateodora/sets/72157604103640121/detail/

Tags: adventures, culture, meditation

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