A Holiday Picnic

Trip Start Jun 30, 2007
1
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Trip End Oct 31, 2007


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Saturday, July 14, 2007

A crowd of young people, in their best threads, are grinning and sweating as they strut their stuff to blaring amplified music in a jam-packed dance area... 'Toffs' on a Saturday night? No, there's no sticky carpet, it's 8 a.m. (and they're just getting going not just winding down), we're in a park in bright sunlight and not a drop of drink has been taken...yes, really!! It's a holiday to celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday and the Secmol staff and volunteers are having a picnic...but not in my understanding of the term! It doesn't involve heading down to the beach at lunchtime with a bag of sandwiches and a few cold beers. Instead, we arrived at the park by mini bus at 7.30 a.m. & unloaded a phenomenal cargo to lug across a rickety bridge and around the park till we found a suitable spot: a Ladakhi open-sided tent, matresses, rugs, stoves, gas cylinders, boxes of rice, veg and goat meat, barrels of water, cauldron-sized cookpots, a generator, a stereo and an amplifier...but no beer!



The options appeared to be: help prepare food, lie around on a matress, or throw yourself around the 'dance floor' to hideously distorted Ladakhi music. The first 2 choices struck me as winners! So I managed to resist efforts to get me on my feet, explaining that in my culture, dancing with such wild abandon traditionally occurs after 11 pm, in the dark and following copious quantities of alcohol. There was a break around midday for a mouthwatering spicy feast (the like of which  I couldn't prepare in my kitchen, never mind in a park) but otherwise they danced all day from 8-6. I was struck most of all by how graceful the hip and arm/hand movements of the men : a far cry from the off-rhythm, frozen-hipped shuffle I associate with fellas in boogie mode, back home. It was quite surreal, lying back on a mattress, belly full of spiced beans and veg, eyes shifting focus from the background of snow capped peaks to the foreground of a variation of a Bollywood dance routine...Ireland feels a long way away!
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Comments

sergionovis
sergionovis on

weird but sounds like good experience
Dancing during the day with no beer sounds just like a scene form another planet..living and learning ..that's the best of beeing in touch with different cultures...MIND YOU ,..carnival in salvador is something off this plannet too... I'll be reading your jornals and even though stuck in maceiò- Brasil (for a while)..wanna be travelling with you

mfinan
mfinan on

Sligeach
You celebrated the Dali Lama's birthday in style- very different to birthday celebrations at home and in O.L.M. Did you miss the 'zinc ointment' cake with the dreaded picture on top?It's so interesting reading about your adventures - you'll have lots of material for a book when you return. Let me know well in advance when you are returning and I'll organise a summer course where the team can assist you with the project .Continue to enjoy your travels as I look forward to your next update.Keep that 'messenger' close to your heart.Sláinte, M.F.

mfinan
mfinan on

mouse happy
sent message twice- what's new . please delete- I can't and nobody here to attempt to instruct me;;;;M.F.

cdnski12
cdnski12 on

Presumably you purchased a pair of those Tibetan Boots for you famous Boot Collection?

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