Isabel’s flat in Kreuzberg Berlin ( May 11-19) — I had 12 hours to find a place to stay in Berlin and through a friend of a friend of a friend I found this place near the Sudstern stop on the metro. I took an early morning train from Hamburg and felt so much melancholy as the scenery played out in stripes of green and yellow and gray skies. There was no knowing what to expect from the brief emails exchanged with Isabel the night before. Up three steep flights of stairs with my heavy suitcase and I must say, a heavy heart, I felt my condition acutely. Homeless. Isabel greeted me kindly, and in a transparent top no less. She showed me around the small flat and gave me the keys before heading to work. There is so much trust involved and in a way I feel held by that, in a good way. That this person would give me keys to her house, nearly a stranger. And then over tea we discover so many things in common.
There is a collage on the wall next to the bed of people kissing mixed with sayings like “Push me against the wall and kiss the hell out of me.” Fantasies of romance. It’s not really something I need to be looking at right now.
I’m finally almost up to date with the beds of 2013. I think I missed a few here and there. This is the eighteenth bed of the year. I’ve run out of things to say and I’ve run out of places to put my body. And it’s only just begun. This will be a very unsettled year.
Anja and Hanno’s sofa, Hamburg (May 3-10, 2013) — Like a bull in a China shop, me, covered in the dust of Bhutan, surrounded by excellence, slicing Hermes, disappearing men, a dear sweet boy, private yoga with Claudia, and Anja at the helm, a heart of vajra crystal. I left a different person after just one week. Cleaner, a bit heart broken, well fed, but more clear minded. Anja’s own clarity must be a bit contagious. One highlight was the meal with Anja at Olsen Restaurant on Bellealliancestrasse.
Reading Material: How to Get Filthy Rich in Developing Asia, Olsen Restaurant on Bellealliancestrasse.
Aeroflot Flight 233 from Delhi to Hamburg (May 3, 2013) — not comfy. And I lost my favorite scarf.
Inderpuri, New Delhi, India (May 1-2, 2013) — Oh Inderpuri. My home away from home. The two Pemas are my saviours. After popping into rickshaws and metro stations in 100 degree heat, coming back to the respite of the house is always a reason for celebration. This house really needs a name.
I spent hours of my life staring at spinning pinwheels and striped straws while waiting for my 16 kilobyte per second internet connection to deliver and send my messages and load or not web sites in my earnest attempt to remain connected to the world outside the monastery. I just thought I would share with you a tiny bit of what that felt like.
SamRah Family Dhaba, Guwahati, Assam India (April 30, 2013) — Leaving Bhutan “for good.” Missed my flight this morning due to strikes in Assam so had to spend the night. I used to like IndiGo Air, especially for their tins of cashews, but now I am not so fond. But I liked this hotel a lot. Totally clean, not trying to fancy. No televisions. 600 rupees per night.
Samraj Family Dhaba +91 9085503327 Near Airport SOS Road Ghy 15
My room at the shedra. Afternoon siesta.
Paro Labrang (March 14, 2013) — Its impossible to take a photo that shows how small this room is. The new attendants’ quarters at Rinpoche’s new house. It was a privilege to stay here. There is no room to move but at the same time, it became warm in an instant with the space heater. And it couldn’t have a better location in the world. Strange dreams.
Hotel Holiday Home, Paro, Bhutan (March 13, 2013) — I made a mistake and thought my flight back to east Bhutan was on the 14th so I booked a hotel near the airport. Turns out my flight was on the 15th. The room was 1200 nu. Free tea.
Chokyi Livingston’s Guest Room on the eve of our Taksang hike (March 11, 2013)
James Hopkin’s Flat, Boudhanath, Nepal (Feb 23-March 8) — James slept in his shrine room and gave me his fancy master bed, which came with a towel, a bar of soap, and a man (not James). James might have just won best host ever. Definitely in the top three (“does that mean I’m number three?”) I had an extraordinarily good time here. Some of my favorite people in the world appeared. Cruella De Ville for one. There was a whole lot of love and memes. (“Have you met the landlady’s dog?”) Was it really only two weeks? I believe Truth or Dare was involved and patchouli was discussed. Strange blessed beverages were imbibed. I didn’t get much rest. Nepal is fantastic.
So is James’s charity Quilts for Kids.
There was no time for reading.
Inderpuri (February 22, 2013) — That’s Maggie asleep in the corner. We shared a room for one night then we were both on the same flight to Nepal the next day by chance.
Gaile’s Room, Thimphu (January 26-February 3, 2013) — Gaile went on an adventure so I got to move off the sofa and into her room for my last few days in Thimphu.