Mind Body and Spirit resource

This is my Yoga journey blog and resource with tips and hints relating to the mind, body and spirit. Collaborators, contributors are welcome to add their own journey and tips too.

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by Kimm Fearnley
Bournemouth, Bournemouth, United Kingdom,
Created on 1 Jan 2017

This project is for those interested in learning more about yoga, meditation and other aspects of spirituality. It is a place to share tips and experiences, views and information with others.

Tanya Ring is a yoga and pilates teacher and Kimm Fearnley founded the Happiness Centre - a yoga and meditation centre in Yorkshire where she taught meditation and gave away the profits to good causes. Kimm, who handed over the reins of the centre a few years ago now has a social media page called The Backroom Buddha. The two friends are passionate about yoga, meditation and healthy lifestyles and intend to offer a range of articles and videos to encourage the practice of gentle exercise and meditation. 

In the first article Kimm reveals how yoga helps her to face daily challenges and Tanya talks about how emotional release can be found in yoga postures.

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Sun, 01/01/2017
Interests
Guilds

The Jungle

2

The journey to the jungle began in usual Nepalese fashion.

With misinformation . . .and poor communication of the misinformation.
No one seemed to know, or was willing to impart which airline was flying us the 600Km to Western Nepal or indeed, what time we would leave.
But the time here in this muddled former kingdom, is best simply described as late.
There was a kerfuffle at the entrance as the missing members of our little group finally spilled in from various directions with minutes to spare before the plane should have departed.
But, it too was late so in the end it didn't matter.

The bags were tossed as usual into the unmanned scanner and we somehow made it to the departure lounge.
"Don't worry ma'am," said the man on the Buddha Air information desk, when I asked him for the  WiFi password, "it is good news ma'am plane is usually always being late."
I didn't know if it was his English or if he was simply trying to reassure me that everything was as it always is.
I didn't get the password.

We landed  in heat that shimmered just above the ground as the crew unceremoniously threw our bags on to a trolley pulled by a very small, incredibly strong man of an indiscernible age. There was no baggage reclaim, just a pile of assorted luggage and strung-together laundry bags that we pointed to and gestured wildly at, until they were finally handed to us by a harassed and sweaty baggage handler.

Waiting close by was our driver. A very smart old chap sporting a most English-looking, two-sizes-too-small, cotton trilby which perched precariously on his shiny large head who greeted us with the  impeccable manners of a forgotten time and whom, it turned out was Pramila's uncle. 
Namastes exchanged, we headed off in the back of Uncle's suspension-less jeep to the jungle and to the lodge owned by an old friend of ours, Jungle Johnny. But first we were to call in at the Charity's Sewing project to discuss the next phase and check on progress.

We spilled into a house off the dusty main road, past a collection of assorted bikes all propped up carefully on their stands and headed upstairs to meet the women who rode them - all of whom were painfully shy, beautifully dressed and eager to grasp whatever opportunity may be proffered. 
Some had travelled far.
The room was dim, muted from from the bright sunlight outside by make-shift curtains and was home to seven old, manual Singer sewing machines, all carefully draped in cloth.
Looked after.
Valued.
Like everything in Nepal.
Nothing ever taken for granted.

There was pink sandalwood powder and fresh petals on the table where where we were gestured to sit under a proudly-displayed charity banner, on the only chairs - like visiting Chairmen of The Board ready to address our brightly coloured, squatting audience.
We were offered water.
I left mine un-sipped.
Uncertain as to its provenance.
Raju and Pramila translated our questions and suggestions - all of which were greeted mostly with silence and unchanging expressions.  
Raju charmingly wiggled his head and turned to me with his quick, satisfied smile: "The womens are very happy. Yes the faces they are looking very sad but they are very happy. It just the way they are looking."
I took his word for it.

We gathered for a photo outside and left the women to complete the last hour of our hot dusty pot-holed drive past mud and straw huts, ramshackle villages, people on bikes carrying everything from 10 large crates, a door, to scores of upside down chickens.
Johnny is best described as a true eccentric adventurer and endearing, animal-loving free-spirit - or the boy who forgot to return from a gap year and woke up stoned, two decades later in a different continent asking: "what the f**k just happened?"
It was a question we were to ask ourselves a few times over the coming days.

It wasn't long before we realised there was something amiss.

For me, it was the grass, which on closer inspection was nothing less than a carpet of suspicious looking plants and the toilet that fell off the wall. Closely followed by the discovery that there was no electricity and no water - and scorpions in the bathroom. 
I didn't know they were scorpions until Raju calmly confirmed he also had them sharing his room.

A good sunset can always settle my soul and this one was no exception and we cheerfully met a few elephants in the conservation project and stopped off at Sunset View Cafe where Johnny introduced us to the local home-made hooch, rice wine. 
We sat in the warmth of the approaching evening, the odd mosquito humming, the smell of excessively applied Deet in the air, ready to enjoy the sounds of the jungle's transition from day to night.
Instead we were serenaded by The Red Hot Chill Peppers blasting from the cafe-owner's speakers.
It was to be a recurring theme.
Dusk turned to night and Jungle Johnny was in no hurry to return us to the lodge for food. We had two three year olds with us and they were fractious after such an arduous journey and not keen to  wait for him to finish sharing tales of adventure with other rangers and locals.
Finally he came and started the truck.
It was pitch black.
The truck had no lights.
"Anyone got a torch?" 
Leander and I exchanged looks.
Torches were hastily found on phones and held aloft in an attempt to shine a little light on the perilous track back to base.

Spring rolls and cold chips were not-so-hurriedly served on filthy food-smeared tables by one of the other guests, as our vagabond host vanished into the blackened dust on his motorbike.
 We were all too tired to argue.

Johnny returned clutching a bottle of tomato sauce long after the plates were cleared away but I doubt the addition would have made the food any more palatable - he was joined by two oddly dressed young German men who were introduced as Journeymen. 
They were working their way around the globe on a three-year program working to pay for their food and lodging. 
They had to wear their costume at all times.
It was a little surreal.
They didn't really mix with us but later, in the night, while we cowered, unwashed under our mosquito nets, we were introduced to their musical playlists as they raved on full volume, well past midnight fuelled by rice wine and local herbs.

Breakfast was a slightly better affair - not much you can do wrong with toast and omelettes - and we headed off, excitedly on our safari. 
It was a relief to leave the lodge and in the fresh morning air, light with excited chatter and anticipation, Johnny came into his own. 
He really was at home in the Jungle.
Riding shotgun (or should that be riding bamboo stick!?) was Krishna named after the Hindu God of love who had many wives - Krishna told us one woman would be welcomed  - a lack of female company in the wildness of this Jungle seems to be the only aspect of life the rangers lament.

Johnny drove and Krishna spotted and we were thrilled to see the monkeys, wild deer, elephants and hundreds of birds. We passed an occasional jeep but were largely alone in this magnificent wilderness. The calls and cries of wildlife our only soundtrack as we roamed the arid landscape which at times was desert-like giving way to grassland then to dense forests of trees strangled by thick vines, the smell of burning bush and curry plants growing stronger as the day heated to smouldering.
We were on a tiger hunt.
We ate Marula berries from the ground, sat under trees watching a bathing elephant, feasted our eyes on a vast, unexpected river that resembled a palm-fringed southern ocean and eventually climbed a wildlife tower close to a refreshing stream to have some lunch from the customary tiffin tins.
It was idyllic.

The children and parents headed for the water to cool off and I lay on the grass in the shade. Suddenly Pramila was shouting.
There was a tiger!
I made it up the four flights of wobbly, wooden stairs just in time to see the beast strolling from behind some trees to the cover of some thicker bushes.
I couldn't believe the size of him.
This was no nature reserve Tiger. 
This was the real thing. 
In the wild - no fences.
I suddenly realised how vulnerable we were. 
It didn't stop me wanting to walk closer toward it.

After the excitement abated, Krishna headed off down a path to look for rhino and Johnny took out his herbs, suggesting we could cool off at the river and wait for the sun to move from midday before we set off again.
The parents among us were getting a little edgy and I too wasn't particularly enamoured at being in the jungle with one guide missing, the other stoned at the top of the tower and a wild tiger roaming within eyesight.

We took the children to the river and a water fight broke out. The children screeched and we made a huge commotion as we cooled ourselves down in the fresh water. It wasn't long before the sound of Johnny's phone ringing was accompanied by jeeps and rangers coming from all directions. Our noise was scaring the rhino AND as one old, earnest guide pointed out it was also attracting the crocodiles! Waving his hands around and telling us how stupid we were to be bathing in crocodile-infested territory was enough for Johnny to demand we all return to the jeep, muttering the jungle was no place for kids.
He was right of course.
Shame he never mentioned that when he took the booking.

Slightly subdued and suitably chastened, we piled our sodden-selves into the jeep and headed back to base and to good news that there was water - cold water - but nonetheless we were grateful indeed.
I chatted to Krishna and asked him to share the extraordinary tale of his narrow escape from the jaws of a predatory tiger. His knowledge of animals, his love of the jungle and the place of his birth was apparent.
As sunset came Johnny and Krishna shared stories of animal sightings, wild nights and the three weeks spent in jail together and which, they described as useful to know what it will be like should it ever happen again.
It's hard not to like these two.
I headed for the kitchen to check up and dinner - my stomach rumbling with deprivation. 
Seeing the floor being used as chopping board shelved any ideas I had for eating that night and I retreated to my room in search of any stray nuts that may have found their way to the bottom of my bag. 
There were none.

Hunger called me to the dining room and I finally braved a tiny bowl of dhal soup which seemed reassuringly hot.
It seems heat alone does not kill all bugs and I paid a heavy price.
My trips to the bathroom were many that night and I lay wretched under my mosquito net, shrouded in a cigarette-burned sheet, listening to the jarring sounds of hip hop interspersed with Supertramp coming from the dining hall as I counted the minutes to morning. . .and Kathmandu

The flight home was, of course, delayed but it was impossible to tell by how much as the departure board was being used by the staff to play a Bollywood movie and estimates ranged from a shrug, to wiggling heads to wild and inaccurate speculation
It would come when it would come.
Living in the moment is a matter of course here in Nepal - it doesn't take practice - just submission.

I surveyed the scene which was like something from a 1950s film set and settled on a sticky, plastic seat to wait.
The magazine kiosk was manned by a man with an air of resignation whose stall was set out with a variety of scary-looking dolls, various toxic-looking toys and selection of grubby-looking magazines.
"Ma'am this is facilities for the delayed passengers. All magazines not in English . . You want magazine?"
I smiled and politely declined.

However tired I was, however much I wanted to be back at my guest house, I couldn't stop the warm feeling these eternally optimistic, never disappointed and patient Nepali people evoked in me.
I looked over at a harassed-looking Raju and his beautiful wife Gna and felt a surge of love for them. 
I couldn't fully decide whether the jungle had been an ordeal or an adventure but I did know that I couldn't have wished for sweeter company than this family. 
Our eyes met.
We all started to laugh.
We are still laughing now. . .

 

 

 

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2 Comments

961

Lou Mycroft

A visceral piece Kimm - I really felt it, pity you don't have your readers on webcam, I'm sure we'd be most entertaining! But you are always kind, cheerful, hopeful, optimistic and I love that about your writing xx

73

Pete Lawrence

"Seeing the floor being used as chopping board shelved any ideas I had for eating that night and I retreated to my room in search of any stray nuts that may have found their way to the bottom of my bag."
classic line :)
x