Tag Archives: Cusco

Back in Peru … for the third time


We knew our stay in Bolivia was limited by the deal we had made with Carlo to go back to Ollantaytambo and take care of Full Moon Lodge for a month, while he was back in the States over the holidays. So we calculated the dates as best we could, and on December 9 we were back in Cusco, ready to go back to Ollanta on the 10th to take over the reins from Carlo.
We had such a great feeling reentering Peru, and again we felt like we had come back home. We were enthusiastic about returning to the Full Moon Lodge, but our enthusiasm about spending a month there, tied to the land, was not as present as before. Especially when we got to Howard’s office and were overwhelmed again by the feeling that “I wanna stay hereeeee”. We secretly wished we had not made the arrangement with Carlo and we’d now have the freedom to stay in Cusco for as long as our heart desired.

Change of plans again, because… why not?

The last few days we had no Internet access on Isla del Sol, as they don’t do much Internet there, so one of our first concerns upon getting to Cusco was to get to an Internet and catch up with the outside world. Not little was our surprise when in our Inbox we found an email from Carlo, in which he was informing us that he had to leave earlier than expected, and therefore had to find someone else to take care of the lodge… and if we wanted to we could go back to volunteer as before, but he had found someone else to be responsible for the place.

Bang! Talking to Boca we realized we both felt so relieved at receiving the news, that we had both secretly wanted to be free to stay in Cusco for a while instead of going back to Ollanta. And as a result, that was exactly what we decided, and “coincidently” we found the perfect location: Howard’s office! Silviu had just finished arranging a room that was designed for someone in two weeks time, but meanwhile the room was available. That’s because obviously it was meant for us. Howard agreed, and so we got to see our dream of “I want to stay hereeeee” fulfilled. Wouldn’t you know it…:)

It was a great pleasure to spend time there, with Silviu, with an awesome library, with Howard, with the energies there. I started a series of treatments with Howard, Network Spinal Analysis (http://www.associationfornetworkcare.com/whatisnsa.shtml), a type of therapy designed to awaken your inner doctor. Something downright fascinating, and I was glad for the opportunity to experience such a thing over there.

Christmas and Calca, our favorite little town

The 2 weeks passed by in an instant, and before we knew it, Christmas was upon us. Ilya, one of Howard’s friends who became our friend as well, invited us to his place in Calca for Christmas, to the little town we had fallen in love with during our 10 days of Vipassana meditation. So we accepted the invitation with great joy, and were left speechless when we first saw the place: a beautiful house by the river, surrounded by greenery and lots of colorful flowers, and dotted with fig, apple and plum trees. Plums! One of my favorite fruit, but one I hadn’t really had in the last 3 years in Asia. Picking the plums from the tree in Ilya’s yard I felt just like in my grandmother’s garden, and realized how such a simple gesture can recreate such vivid memories.

Sitting around the table on Christmas Eve (a real feast!) and sharing stories, we found out Ilya was also planning to write a book. So we suggested something that seemed to have a lot of sense: “Ilya, we have the perfect plan! The 3 of us should lock ourselves here in your house for two weeks, and each work on our book, and from time to time share writers ideas.” “Ah, that sounds great, and I really wish I could do that, but unfortunately I have a job waiting for me. I can lock the two of you here though, and I’ll come from time to time to chat and share ideas.” Wow! Speaking of dreams come true again! Since Boca and I had entered Ilya’s house, we had both had the same thought – this is the absolute perfect place for writing! And it proved to be indeed – we spent two exceptional weeks there, and could not be more grateful to Ilya for his generosity and trust.

Decisions, decisions …

For a while now, Boca and I had some thoughts we had not previously had: thoughts that yes … we sort of feel that “this is it”… that the time for us to head towards our homes was rapidly approaching. We did not feel nearly half of the enthusiasm we had felt before at the thought of experiencing a new country, we were happy beyond measure when it came to stopping somewhere for a long time, and we slowly began to identify that we were “suffering” from what they call “travel fatigue”. In addition, we were filled with emotion whenever we thought of “home”, and felt so strongly in our stomach and solar plexus that yes, it’s time. It’s time. And as we had created the good habit of listening to our instincts and acting when we feel we must act, we managed at the end of the year to buy ourselves tickets to return to Europe in the first month of 2012. Based on the prices we found most convenient, I was to fly out on the 18th, exactly 366 days since I first put the backpack on my back, and Boca was to fly out on the 22nd, exactly 10 months after we landed on South American land. Quite significant dates, we thought :).

Silviu listened to his instinct as well, and therefore decided that for him the time has not come yet, he still had some discovering, learning and growing to do. So the plan is for him to spend some time, not to long, still in Cusco, then return to Brazil for some projects with the people from Hub Rio, and then move towards Bolivia and Colombia where he has some people to know and experiences to have. We hope he will keep us informed about his plans through this blog. We shall live and see:).

Last days in Peru … and South America

So in the light of these new decisions, and three weeks away from “D” day, we contemplated some options on what to do in the little time we had left. We played with the idea of exploring other parts of Peru, since we had not gone out of the Sacred Valley for the whole 3 months we were there, but eventually we decided against it … we still didn’t want to leave that area! And we figured that whatever else is there to explore in Peru … we’ll do it next time. We wanted to spend our last days in South America in one of our favorite places, the little Calca town … and that was exactly what we did!

We had some great surprises during this time, one of which was Steve, the friend we had made during our Vipassana meditation retreat. It was full circle – we had met Steve and spent some wonderful days with him at the beginning of our adventure in Peru, and now we had the opportunity to spend some time with him again back in Calca, at the end of our adventure (and his) in Peru. Awesome, just awesome.

Another special event was the entry in 2012, which we celebrated in Urubamba and which I can summarize as follows: the Sacred Valley of Peru, greenness, mountains, a fire under the magnificent star filled sky, a group of wonderful people, a big white dog in my lap, a huge bowl of fruit salad and one spoon circling around, a bottle of chicha and one glass circling around, guitars, accordion, divine voices. Joy. Peace. Gratitude. Welcome, wonderful year! 🙂

Perhaps the greatest surprise and joy during this period was the fact that we managed to meet Diane Dunn in person, the woman whose book Cusco: A gate to inner wisdom had impressed Boca and me so deeply. We met her several times, and from the discussions with her a decision was taken: Diane is coming to Hungary for three days in June 2012, to share some Andean wisdom in this part of the world as well. The course will cover interesting knowledge about the 4 elements (earth, air, fire, water), based on the ancient Andean traditions and Munay-Ki.

What is Munay-Ki?

The Munay-Ki are the nine rites of initiation from the descendents of the Inca, the indigenous people from the Andes. Munay-Ki comes from a Quechua word that means ‘I love you’ . Munay-Ki is a nine step process to heal the wounds of the past. Through these we are then free to become who we truly are, the new human being: ‘Homo Luminous’.

After receiving the Nine Rights:

  • You will more easily be able to see the ‘bigger picture,’ and view life from a higher perspective.
  • You will become more of who you truly are: your soul-self, higher self, your Divinity.
  •  Your ‘life purpose’ becomes clear. You follow what brings you joy.
  • You begin to come more readily from a place of greater wisdom, love, peace, harmony and clarity.
  • You know and love who you are.
  • You more easily cast off what does not work for you.
  • You transform in wonderful ways. The world around you transforms in wonderful ways.
  • Your life begins to flow more smoothly and you perceive beauty around you.
  • You begin to truly know that “All is well” and ‘Heaven on Earth’ can be our Destiny.

If you would like to participate to this unique workshop or would like to get more information, please drop us an email at threebackpacks@gmail.com.

Ready to go

Our flights back to Europe were from Lima, so we got on a bus from Cusco on a Sunday afternoon, after saying goodbye to our dear Silviu, enthusiastic about the continuation of his adventure, and we prepared for the 21 hour bus ride* to Lima. Time passed quickly and without major events, and in Lima we were received and hosted by Emi, Giselle’s mother, who lives there. Two days later … I was on a plane heading home:).

Read in the next posts our thoughts and feelings on finishing the journey, and on the beginning of a new phase: home.

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* The quality of the buses and the prices of the trips from Cusco to Lima are extremely varied, ranging from 130-185 Soles, and from normal bus seats to presidential seats with a recline of 160 degrees. From what we understood, the best company is Cruz del Sur, 180 Soles, and the second best is Tespa, 140 Soles. We chose Tespa, and we definitely recommend it

Az Inka főváros, Cuzco

Boliviából viszatérve egy napot akartunk Cuzcóban tölteni, majd tovább meni Ollantytambo-ba, ahol már várt minket a Full Moon Lodge és egy hónapos munka. Azonban mikor megérkeztünk kaptuk az emailt Carlo-tól, hogy előbb el kellett utaznia, s megkérte a másik tulaj feleségét, hogy dolgozzon addig a lodgeban. Így munkánk nem volt már nélkülözhetetlen. Persze Carlo hozzátette, hogy amellett, hgy nem leszünk felelősek aa lodgeért, mehetünk önkénteskedni ha akarunk az eddigi ingyen szállás és reggeli cserébe, de nem tud nekünk fizetni sajnos így. Mi rögtön azon töprengtünk, hogy miért derült ez pont ma ki, 1 nappal azután, hogy elhagytuk Bolíviát, hisz ha előbb tudtuk volna, akkor nem jöttünk volna még vissza Peruba ilyen hamar. Mivel mi nem hiszünk  a véletlenekben, gondoltunk, hogy van valami nyomós oka, hogy a dolog így alakult, s csak annyit tehetünk, hogy nyitott szemmel járunk tovább, hogy meglássuk hogyan alakul mindennapi életünk.

 

Cuzcóba Howarddal

Azt mind a ketten éreztük, hogy Ollantába való nem visszamenésünk nem lesz nagy baj, s Cusco energiája amúgy is nagyon tetszett nekünk, így elhatároztuk, hogy itt maradunk.

Megérkezésünkkor Silviu „szállására” tartottunk, ahol megismerkedtünk Howarddal. Howard egy „Kapcsolat Csontkovács” – Network Spinal Analysis (www.associationfornetworkcare.com ), aki sima csontkovácsként kezdte, de mikor megismerkedett a Nerwork, aza kapcsolat Csontkovácssággal, amibe energia munkát is bevonnak a csont ropogtatás mellett, látta, hogy a páciensek sokkal gyorsabban gyógyulnak, így innentől ezzel mozgot tovább. Emellett Reconnection-nel (www.thereconnection.com/, http://www.reconnection.hu/ ) is foglalkozik többek között, ami szintén egy energia gyógyító módszer. Howard eredetileg Canadából származik, s 15 éve jött Cuscóba, hogy egy barátjának besegítsen, aki szintén csontkovács, amíg ő utazni ment pár hónapra. Peru annyira megtetszett Howardnak, hogy azóta haza se ment, hanem saját irodát nyitott, s itt él boldogan.

Silviu pár hónapja ismerkedett meg Howarddal, s mikor mi Ollantába költöztünk, ő ideköltözött hozzá, hogy együtt dolgozzanak és tanuljanak egymástól. Mikor megismerkedtünk Howarddal rögtön megszerettü egymást. Kedvességével, hatalmas szivével, állandó msosolyával és melegségével rögtön belopta magát a szívünkbe, s itt létünk alatt apánk helyett apánk volt.

Megérkezésünkkor Silviu ép egy szobát festett, amit Howard majd ki szeretne adni, így rögtön kaptunk az alkalmon és megkérdeztük nem maradhatunk e itt 2 hétig. Howard igent mondot, így boldogan költöztünk be a kisszobába.

Cuzcóban napjaink városnézéssel, olvasással, írással és egy kis vásárlással teltek. Élveztük, ahogy magunkba szívhattuk Cuzco varázslatos atmoszférájának erejét. Örültünk, Howard irodájában is lenni, mert rendkívül motiváló pozitív energia lebegett mindenhol a levegőben. Az iroda a San Blas Téren található, közel a főtérhez (Plaza de Armas).

Howinak rengetek szuper könyve van gyógyítás, energia és pszichológia témakörben, így élvezettel merültünk el bennük hetekig.

Hogy hogyan teltek az ünnepek Peruban, megtudhatjátok a következőkben…

 

Vipassana – the challenges

There were quite a few things that could have been challenging, but only a couple of those actually proved to be so:

The men and women segregation – starting with the first evening, women and men were separated and this remained so for the entire duration of the course. We had different sleeping quarters and eating rooms, and in the meditation hall the men were seated on the left and women on the right. In the yard there was a line delimitating the areas, and the idea was we were supposed to be ignoring each other completely during the 10 days. It wasn’t so hard to do if you did what you were instructed to: focus on your own self, the inside.

The noble silence – the not interacting with any of the other participants for 10 full days. The only people we could talk to during the course were the teacher for issues related to our meditation, and one of the volunteers assigned to address any admin issues we might have.

Some people found this quite challenging, but to me it was maybe the best part of the whole 10 days. Before the course started, Boca, Carmen and I made this agreement that we were not going to as much as look in each other’s direction for the whole 10 days. It worked so well that we’d sometimes end up eating at the same table and not realising it.

It was weird not saying good morning to our roomates when waking up, or good night when going to sleep, but truth be told, not “having to” make small talk with others for a change was so liberating…

At the end of the course we found talking again such a weird experience and we could not recognize our own voice. I guess the voice in our head does sound different than the one we project outside :).

The waking up at 4 am – surprisingly so, not at all such a big issue as I had imagined. In fact, I woke up feeling refreshed pretty much all the 10 days. A big part of it was the fact that I was asleep by 9.05pm, and the other one was that after 11am we only had food once, fruits at 5pm. Still… I was pretty proud of myself for this early waking up I didn’t think I was capable of.

The eating schedule – I had thought I’d be hungry all the time, but as mentioned, I wasn’t. Not at all, I might say.

The constant meditating – one might think it’s easy to get completely bored and fed up with doing nothing but meditate for bloody two thirds of one’s awake time. That seemed not to be the case, at least for me.

I do believe though this part would turn out to be Achilles’ heel for many, especially for those who are not used to being alone with themselves. And especially for those who don’t like themselves.

Many of us have so many issues with our own selves that we can’t stand being alone, with nothing to do… because then we’ll have to deal with all the thoughts that come up when in silence. Thoughts of inadequacy, blame, shame. That’s why in our daily life we keep distracting ourselves with movies, Facebook, music, reading, meeting people…because we dont know how to be alone with ourselves and have a good time too.

The great news is that’s one of the things the meditation will help with: removing all that stuff that makes us feel bad about ourselves and about life, and allowing space for wonderful thoughts about the future and about how this life is actually a pretty magical gift and our planet a pretty magical space.

I was fine with the long hours of meditation as I was no stranger to it, but mainly because of all the 7th Path practice I had done, which has helped me tremendously with getting rid of the rubbish in my mind. Plus, since I was used to travelling mostly on my own, the long hours spent on buses, trains and planes were very good training for the 10 hours of meditation a day.

The sitting in a meditation posture for 10 hours a day – this proved to be the most challenging thing of all for me. The first day passed much better than expected, but the second one was a living hell. I have a hip sensitivity since birth, so my hips started hurting so badly that I even had trouble walking. I kept massaging my legs any chance I got, but I honestly didn’t think I could make it until the end. I had the thought of asking to be moved near a wall, so I could at least have some support for my back, but I told myself I’ll give myself just another day, and if I really can no more I will ask to be moved. And so I went with “one more day” all the way untill day 10, observing with fascination the changes my body was going through in terms of pain. If the second day I thought I would not make it, the third day was 1% better. The forth and fifth were quite incredible in that my hip pain went away during these days… but it then moved to my knees. And it was as excruciating as the hip pain. The subsequent days varied in terms of the intensity and location of the pain, but I nevertheless managed to pull through them all.

I had heard of this before and never knew to what extent it was true: that when you reach a certain level a pain, you can transcend it. Similar to getting runner’s high.

Well, during the retreat I have found the above mentioned to be true. It was not that during the last 5 days I was in less pain, but I became so much better at handling it, and at times even transcending it. It is the most incredible feeling and I cannot blame you for not believing it if you’ve not experienced it. I do hope you will have a chance to soon, though.

For me it mostly happened during what was seen as the most dreaded time of the day: a full hour of meditation in which we were not supposed to move our arms or legs at all. We had 3 such hours a day and at the beginning it was incredibly difficult and painful… but as days went by I was able to spend more than 2 hours without moving at all. And that to me was an incredible achievement, since I hadn’t before believed it was something within reach for all, but more likely something reserved to the monks who spent their entire life meditating in caves and deserts.

I was able to understand much better and actually believe those stories of monks sitting in meditation for hours or days on end, not eating, not drinking. I had only a glimpse of that state and I know it’d be not only possible, but wonderful too.

The effects of the meditation – we heard a few things before starting the meditation about the effects it had on people. There were stories of people having physical pain, continuously crying, vomiting, having head aches and stomach problems etc etc. All sorts of physcical and emotional effects.

So we were curious to see which of those we would experience. Besides some bad skin days and a lot of pain, I had no other physical effects. But the emotional ones were plenty.

The first three days were ok, the next two were good too, but by day 8 I was so irritated, anxious and practically a nervous wreck that in the morning of day 8 I almost walked out of the ashram. I went into the meditation hall at 4am as usual, and after a few minutes I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore. I felt I could not continue that “nonsense” which “might not even be for me anyway”, and didn’t understand why I was doing that stuff in the first place. I had to change my state so I walked out, took some deep breaths, looked at the stars, talked to them, walked back in and had the best meditation session of the entire 10 days. It was pretty much down hill from there, with the last 3 days ending on a high.

This was of course only my experience, and every single person doing the course had and will have a different experience. Yours might be completely different as well.

I found it interesting how my thoughts were changing from day one to ten. If in the beginning they were mostly upsetting and related to recent events and things I was going through short term, after two or three days they turned into thoughts related to what we were doing at the time, and very soon to thoughts about the future.

I had heaps of insights about what i’d be doing once I get home, about my plans and dreams. They were so detailed I could not believe it, from the coffee shop in which i’ll be catching up with friends, to the cover, first and last page of my first book. I later found out Boca had had the same kind of thoughts about the future, including the one about writing her book. That was what would make us spend 2 more weeks in the ashram once the course was over – to finally start writing the books we’d had in our mind for the past few years.

Talking to others after the end of the course we realised there were two things everyone had strong thoughts about: ex boyfriends/girlfriends and, for those of us who were traveling, going home. We found it so interesting that no matter how long we had been away, or how far we were, we all felt we really wanted to go home!

All in all, it was a unique and special experience that I definitely recommend to … everyone.

 

So who should do it?

Anyone who feels it’s time for a change for the better. Anyone who is unhappy and dissatisfied with life as it is. Anyone searching for peace, happiness and liberation. Anyone who wants a new perspective. Anyone who is afraid of life. Anyone who wants to not only overcome that fear, but really embrace and enjoy life to its fullest. Anyone who feels there’s something more out there. Anyone who feels the time has come:).

 

How can you do it?

Just go to http://www.dhamma.org/, find a time and place that suits you and register. Then reward yourself for taking the first step.

 

Lastly,

if you have any specific questions about any of this, please do drop us a line, we’d love to help out in any way.

Oh, and as Goenka would say, “may you all share my peace, joy and happiness”. Forever :).

 

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A Vipassana legnagyobb kihívása

Akik szeretik NEM tudni, hogy milyen kihívásokkal szembesülnek majd egy ilyen proramon, azok kihagyhatják e poszt olvasását.

 

Gondolataink mindig elkalandoztak

Meditálni napi 12 órát nem volt gyerek játék. Iuniával mi hozzá voltunk már szokva magához a meditcióhoz és ahhoz, hogy ezt 1-2 órán keresztül csináljuk, de amikor ez napi 12 órán át megy és közben nincs semmi külsö inger, mert nem beszélhetsz, olvashatsz stb, akkor ez több nap alatt elég kihívóvá válik, merthogy koncentrálnod kellene, de gondolatod állandóan elkalandozik. Próbálod visszaterelni a meditációra, de megint csak elkalandozik. Persze mondják, hogy ez normális és az a jó, ha minnél előbb észreveszed, hogy elkalandozott, s visszatereled gondolatod a programra. Szóval szerintem nem voltunk rosszak, de nem volt egyszerű. Persze miközben a gondolatunk kalandozott sok insightunk (gondolat, megértés, megvilágosodás) volt. Legtöbbje a jövőre vonatkozóan, de persze a multra is.

Eleinte a multban történt apróbb, nagyobb események játszódtak le újra a fejemben. S mivel semmi külső kontaktust nem létesíthettünk magunkon kívül, nem lehett olvasni, írni vagy beszélgetni mással, így nem volt semmi más ami stimulálta volna a gondolataimat, így maradt a körbe körbe futkosás a gondolataimmal.

Semmi nem volt csak én és az elmém, amit próbáltam nem gondolkozásra fokuszálni, de erre agyam valahogy még jobban beindult. Godolataim még intenzívebbek lettek, s még gyorsabban forgott az agyam. Ez olyan szintre emelkedett, hogy a második nap már szinte könyörögtem magamnak, hogy hangyjam abba a godolkodást. Agyamnak, mint egy külső személynek beszéltem, hogy álljon le, vagy legalább lassítson le, mert ez már túl sok. Már 48 órája csak a mult bizonyos eseményei voltak a fejemben, s ez megterhelő volt. A gondolataimba már belefáradtam. Belefáradtam, hogy nem tudok semmi újra kilyukadni, csak belül forogni a talán elrontott mult és a kifürkészhetetlen jövő után.

 

Végre konstruktív gondolatok

Gondolataim persze nem csillapodtak, de legalább harmad naptól kezdve több válltozatosság volt bennük. Itt kezdődöt talán, hogy elkezdtek konstruktív ötleteim lenni. Ötletek a jövőről s, hogy mihez is kezdek majd ha hazamegyek. Tisztán láttam magam otthon a leendő munkahelyemen, a leendő lakásomban, láttam a falak színét, az eltöltendő kévákat a barátnőimmel, az eltöltendő vacsorákat ismerőseimmel, és sok más karrierhez kapcsolható ötletet. Ezen képek és jelenések izgalommal töltöttek el, s alig vártam, hogy végre haza menjek s belekezdjek eme rendkívüli ötletekbe.  Később mikor a többiekkel egyeztettük tapasztalatainkat kiderült, hogy szinte mindenki részesült hasonló képekben a jövőre vonatkozóan, s mindenki egy extra lökést és biztatást kapott, hogy jó úton halad.

E képek mellett Iunia és én is erős késztetést éreztünk, hogy végre kezdjük el írni a köyvünket. Láttuk magunk előtt ahogy egy hónapra letelepedünk egy csendes kis sarokjába a világnak, s csak írunk és írunk. Tisztán láttuk ahogy könyvünk elkészül, tudtuk mit írunk majd előszónak, s még a borítóról is tiszta képünk volt. Nem volt vitás, írnunk kell.

Mozdulatlanul ülni??

A fokuszáláson kívül volt valami, ami talán még kihivóbb volt. Két nap után egyhelyben ülni napi 12 órát, igazán fájdalmas lehet. Török ülésben kezdett szinte mindenki ülni, s először az ember déli része kezdett el fájni, aztán az ember háta, térde, majd bokája, aztán elzsibbadt a lába combtól lefelé. Majd pozíciót váltasz, a feneked alá teszel egy pár párnát és a térdedre ülsz. Az megy egy darabig, de aztán megint fáj az összes fent említett testrészed. Eleinte azért mozoghatsz és ha elkezd fájni valami, akkor áthelyezkedhetsz egy másik pozícióba. Vizont a negyedik naptól kezdve napi 4szer 1 órát úgy kell egy helyben végig ülni, hogy nem mozogsz. Azért kell mozdulatlanul végig ülni, mert ha mozogsz, akkor azért teszed, mert valami kellemetlen és nem akarod, hogy kellemetlen legyen. Viszont ha a kellemetlen érzés ellen küzdünk, akkor nem gyakoroljuk az Anicca-t, azaz az érzések csak jönnek és mennek szabályát, hogy ezzel megszüntessük szenvedésünket.

Meg kell mondani, ez rendkívül kihívó volt. De meg lehet csinálni, annyira meg lehet, hogy mi nem csak a 4szeri alkalommal próbáltunk meg mozdulatlanul ülni, hanem minden másik meditáció alatt is. Napi kétszer volt 2 órás meditáció, s azokon mozdulatlan lenni, volt a legkihívóbb. Érdekes módon néha a 2 óra eltelt anélkül, hogy nagyobb szenvedést éreztünk volna, de a kötelező 1 óra alatt bármit megadtunk volna ha mozoghattunk volna. Ez a megpróbáltatás nagyon jó volt arra, hogy fájdalomküszöbünket és tűrőképességünket kitoljuk. S a fájdalom is elmúlt, amint átestünk a holtponton, s utána már nem is volt kellemetlen egy helyben ülni. Emlékszem az egyik legfájdalmasabb gyakorlásra, mikor már majdnem könnyek folytak a szememből a fájdalomtól, de nem mozogtam, s mikor átestem a holtponton, ott ültem, s mikor vége lett az órának, akkor sem akartam már fölállni. Ott tudtam volna ülni órákat…

Sokszor úgy érezzük, hogy nem bírunk elviselni bizonyos dolgokat, hogy ez túl fájdalmas nekünk, s elkezdünk ellenük küzdeni, de ha ezt teszük, akkor olyan, mintha árral szembe úsznánk. Egszerűen csak el kell engedni, abba kell hagyni a küzdelmet és a fájdalom elmúlik magától. Ezen gondolatok kavarogtak fejemben, mikor első fájdalmas meditációmmal küzdőttem… S rájöttem, csak elmém küzd a fájdalom ellen, s tudtam ha akarom el tudom engedni… a fájdalmat agyunk teszi elviselhetetlenné, de ha megtanuljuk kontrollálni elménk s ezzel gondolatainkat s reakciónkat,  s elfogadjuk, hogy a fájdalom is csak egy érzés, akkor elmúlik minden szendevésünk…

fél óra próbálkozás után végre sikerült… elengedtem… s nem volt több fájdalom… elfogadtam ami volt, a fájdalmat a lábamban, s megszünt a szenvedésem… béke volt…

Megérte, minden egyes perc, gyakorlás, fájdalom és némaság megérte. Sokat tanultam, fejlődtem és okosodtam. Megtanultam, hogy az érzéseket el lehet viselni, s hogy minden elmúlik egyszer, hisz ez a világ törvénye.

„Ez is elmúlik majd, mint minden más a világon.” Sissy

 

Posztjainkkal szeretnénk minnél több kérdéseteket és kiváncsiságotokat kielégíteni, így légyszives írjátok meg visszajelzésként (Leave a Reply) vagy akár emailben, hogy miről szeretnétek még hallani egy – egy országgal kapcsolatban. 

Hogyan is telnek a mindennapok egy 10 napos néma meditációs programon

Aki jobban kedveli a meglepetéseket, s nem szeretné előre tudni, hogy mi fog történni egy Vipassana programon, az kihagyhatja a következő posztot.

A program a következő volt

  • Ébresztő hajnali 4kor.
  • Az első meditáció 4.30tól 6.30ig tartott amit reggeli követett.
  • 8.00tó 9.00ig közös meditáció.
  • 9.00től 11.00ig meditáció a hallban vagy a szobádban.
  • 11.00től 1.00ig ebéd és interjú a guruval.
  • 1.00től 2.30ig meditácó a hallban vagy a szobádban.
  • 2.30tól 3.30ig közös meditáció.
  • 3.30tól 5.00ig meditáció a hallban.
  • 5.00től 6.00ig vacsora.
  • 6.00tól 7.00ig közös meditáció.
  • 7.00től 8.30ig beszéd a gurutól.
  • 8.30tól 9.30ig közös meditáció, amit lámpaoltás követett.

 

A program szoros volt, de pont e kellett ahhoz, hogy sikeres legyen. Az embernek nem volt ideje unatkozni, viszont meditálni annál inkább. A 4kori kelés szerencsére nem okozott gondot, mert Rióbol jövet 2 órával korábban lett, s nekünk olyan volt, mintha 6kor keltünk volna. S a buszon az elmúlt napokban amúgy se aludtunk sokáig. Mások azonban eléggé szenvedtek. Mi nem éreztük fáradtságot a nap folyamán, de voltak, akik mindig elmentek aludni reggeli és ebéd szünetben. Persze mikor eljött a 8-9 óra akkor már mindenki szivesen gondolt az eljövendő lámpaoltásra, s 9.30kor senkit nem kellett altatni.

 

Étkezés

A reggeli álltalában valami tejbepapi volt (nemtudom milyen szóval lehetne a legjobbana porrige-t kifejezni). Szóval különböző búza, rizs és egyéb helyi pelyhek (Quinoa és Kiwicha) voltak vízben vagy tejben megfőzve, almával, fahéjjal stb ízesítve, ezzel egy könnnyű, de laktató ételt kapva. Mert ugye mikor az ember meditál fontos, hogy ne teli gyomorral tegye. A legjobb ha az ember gyomra 3/4ig van tele csak, s az is könnyen emészthető étellel, mert ha teli eszi magát az ember, akkor nem tud a meditációra koncentrálni. Én egy nap voltam csak megilyedve, hogy éhen maradok, s sokat ettem reggelire és ebédre is, és hát meg kell mondjam az nap meditáltam a legrosszabbul.

Ebédre rizs, krumpli vagy tészta volt szolgálva külöböző zöldséggel, s levessel. Természetesen minden étel vegetáriánius volt (nagy örömünkre).

A vacsora, ami este 5kor volt, s amitől én a legjobban féltem, hogy éhen halok este 9.30ig, csak egy darab gyümölcs volt teával. Öszintén az első 2 nap elég éhes voltam utána, de a harmadik napra megszokja az ember. A vissztérő diákoknak, 5kor csak teát lehetet inni (ezzel is növelve a kihívást).

Az ételeket önkéntesek készítették, akik Vipassana diákok votlak előzőleg. Minden tanuló motiválva van, hogy jöjjön vissza segíteni évente egyszer.

Csöndben maradni

Megmondom őszintén, azt hittem a némaség lesz a legnehezebb dolog, amivel meg kell bírkozni, mert hát a meditáció nem újdonság már nekem, de tévedtem. Nem beszélni kimondottan felüdítő volt. Az első nap furcsa volt fölébredni, majd semmit se szólni a többi 8 szobatársnak, elvonaulni enni, együtt ülni egy asztalnál 3 másik lánnyal, s meg se mukkanni, összetalálkozni Iuniával a ház előtt, vagy a mosdóban, s csöndbe maradni. De aztán szépen lassan megszokja az ember. Hogy elkerüljük az esetleges motivációt a beszélgetésre senki nem nézett senkire sem. Lehajtott fejjel mászkáltunk, a másiknak csak a ruhájára néztünk; vagy a zöld füvet, a kék eget, vagy a virágokat bámultuk. Nem egymásra nézni olyan jól sikerült, hogy Carmennel többször is egy asztalhoz kerültünk, de ezt csak felálláskor vettük észre.

Mikor az ember nem fecseg másokkal, rengeteg ideje marad megfigyelni a környezetet, csodálni az égboltot, a felhőket, a mezőt, hegycsúcsokat, köveket, a virágokat, a játszadozó kutyákat… s nem csak mefigyelni, de gyönyörködni is benne. Reggeli után volt majd egy óra a meditációig, s így a legtöbben az udvaron járkáltunk, vagy lekucorodtunk egy sarokba és élveztük a reggeli napsugár első melegét. Ebéd után ott feküdtünk a fűben és élveztük a csenedet. Oly annyira fejlődött a megfigyelő képességünk mivel nem vontuk el figyelmünket fecsegéssel, olvasással, stb, hogy minden nap újabb és újabb virágokat, természeti csodákat vettem észre a kertben, s ilyenkor mindig ezt kérdeztem magamtól: Ez itt volt tegnap is? 🙂

Mivel senki nem szólalt meg, az egész Ashramban síri csend ült. Szerencsére a városkától messzebb voltunk, így még utca zaj sem volt. Csak mi és a környezet. Pár nap alatt ahhoz is hozzá szoktunk, hogy ott fekszünk a fűben 5 másik lány mellett, de rájuk se kell bagózni, mert tudod, hogy nem beszélhettek. Egyszerűen kizársz mindenkit körülötted. Rá se hederítesz senkire sem, csak magaddal foglalkozol és ez nagyon jó érzés. Nagyon som ember nem tud meglenni egyedül, főleg nem csendben. Ők mindig valakivel lenni akarnak, valakivel élnniük kell. S ha nincs senki körülöttük, akkor TV-t néznek, telefonálnak, interneteznek vagy olvasnak. De ha csöndben csak maguknak kell lenniük egyhelyben, akkor baj van. S ez nem jó. Meg kell tanulnunk csak magunk lenni, elfogadni gondolatainkat és megbírkózni velük.

Élveztem a csöndet és magam lenni. S a 9edik napon úgy éreztem meg sem akarok még egy jó ideig szólalni. Azon töprengtem hogyan tudnám a csöndet továbbra is folytatni…

11 nap után vége lett a meditációnak, s érdekes módon már nem vágytunk annyira emberek közé, mint gondoltuk. Van egy házaspár ismerősünk, akik azt mondták, hogy a vipasana után nem nagyon volt kedvük beszélgetni. Iunia egyik ismerőse folyamatosan írt, s a Vipassana után fél évig tollat se ragadt. Szóval készültünk valami ilyesmire mi is, de azért fura volt elhinni, hogy nem az ellenkezője fog előfordulni, hogy alig várjuk majd hogy beszélhessünk. A tizedik napon szünt meg a némasági fogadalom. Ebéd előtt már az emberek öszeühettek és elkezdhettek fecsegni. Ez sokaknak akkora könnyebbséget jelentett, hogy alig bírták abba hagyni. De mi egy páran, csak lassan, keresve a szavakat beszéltünk. A hangunk is nagyon furcsa volt… 10 napig nem hallottuk magunkat. Aztán a vacsora asztalnál is mikor beszélgettünk olyan volt, mintha minden fel lenne gyorsítva. Megterhelő volt egy 1 órás bezsélgetést lefolytatni 3 másik emberrel. Aztán másnap mehettünk szabadon.

 

De ha nem a némaság volt a legnagyobb kihívás, akkor mi??? Mindez  a következő posztban…

Posztjainkkal szeretnénk minnél több kérdéseteket és kiváncsiságotokat kielégíteni, így légyszives írjátok meg visszajelzésként (Leave a Reply) vagy akár emailben, hogy miről szeretnétek még hallani egy – egy országgal kapcsolatban. 

Vipassana, our 10 day silent meditation experience

So what is Vipassana then?

Vipassana is a silent meditation course that follows the teachings of Buddha. It’s purpose is to share with the students the technique that has helped Buddha reach enlightment under the Bodhi Tree, techniques he so compassionately decided to share with us all, even though that meant he’d have to come back to the world and deal with it’s unblissful state (as opposed to remaining far away, in a continuous state of the bliss he had acquired).

The teachings were spread 2500 years ago but starting getting lost a few centuries later. For 20 centuries they were carefully carried on by small groups of people, until it was time for them to be widespread again. As it seems, that time is now. Vipassana is taught in almost all countries in the world, and there are more “schools of thought” teaching it too. The one we attended was a course by Goenka, a teacher originally from Burma but who now lives and teaches in India. That is also the place in the world where most courses take place.

 

There are a few core ideas shared by Goenka:

Anicca – the law of impermanence. Everything in this world is temporary, from a body sensation, to a broken heart, to a being’s life. Whatever situation you find yourself in, remember that this too shall pass, be it good or bad. That way you can keep your objectivism, realism, balance. Sanity. Anicca.

The law of reacting – what causes us all to suffer is the reacting we do to what happens around us. It’s the aversion and the craving. The whole idea of “it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that determines how you feel”. So it’s not the pain in your leg, but the aversion that you feel towards it that makes you unhappy. The pain alone doesn’t make you unhappy, it can just be there and you can be present to it, acutely aware of aniche… Eventually it will go away, as everything does. The same goes for craving – it’s the desire for something that makes us unhappy, not the fact that we don’t have it. So many people are happy without gadgets… until they want them. Then they cannot be happy again until they have them. And the tragedy is it never stops with one gadget, it goes on and on with bigger and fancier devices, people, statuses. It’s the permanent craving that makes and keeps us unhappy.

The “I” and “mine” are also reasons for unhappiness. You’d never cry for a broken Rolex unless it were yours. You wouldn’t cry for yor friend’s Iphone being stolen, but you’d shed buckets of tears if it were yours. You wouldn’t spent a minute crying for someone else’s relationship falling apart, but you’ll spend sleepless months crying over your own. It’s the attachment that brings the misery. And it’s the non attachment that brings the liberation.

There were many more wonderful ideas he shared during a daily 1.5 hrs recorded speech. It was entertaining and thought provoking and I’m sure you’ll enjoy discovering these thoughts and ideas as much as we did.

Why did we do it?

All three of us had heard of or been exposed to Vipassana one way or another before starting the South American trip, so in a way we all felt the calling to do it. When we first landed in Cusco we loved the energy there, and we had a thought about this being a perfect place for meditation. So when we found a course there at the end of August we felt it matched our plans perfectly.

We didn’t know much about Vipassana, but had friends who had done it and told us how great it was and how it was so worth it. We were elated at the thought of spending 10 days in silence, with ourselves, undisturbed by anyone or anything. You don’t often have the opportunity to do that, so we were looking forward to experiencing it.

 

What did we actually do there?

If I were to use only one word:meditate. We spent an incredible amount of time, 10 hours a day, sitting down and meditating. It was madness and the fact that we managed to do that for 10 days in a row was already a belief breaker and a great achievement.

The other thing we did was be in silence. For 10 day we observed noble silence, which means we did not communicate with any of the other participants, not by word, gestures or even looks. This was to be a time we’d spend with ourselves and ourselves alone. And it worked wonders 🙂

 

Our daily schedule looked something like this

  • 4.00 – Wake up call
  • 4.30 – 6.30 Meditation
  • 6.30 – 8.00 Breakfast and rest
  • 8.00 – 11.00 Meditation
  • 11.00 – 1.00 Lunch and rest
  • 12.00 – 1.00 Optional talks with the teacher
  • 1.00 – 5.00 Meditation
  • 5.00 – 6.00 Evening snack
  • 6.00 – 7.00 Meditation
  • 7.00 – 8.15 Recorded evening speech by Goenka
  • 8.15 – 9.00 Meditation
  • 9.30 – Lights out

 

So we’d wake up each day when the stars were still up (the sky was stunning as we walked to the meditation hall each morning), meditate for a couple of hours, then greet the sun coming up from behind the mountain as we were enjoying our breakfast of porridge and tea. We’d then have another round of meditation followed by lunch, one of my favorite times of the day. Not because of the food, which in itself was reason enough for that as it was the most simple and delicious vegan food, cooked with love by the amazing volunteers we had the fortune of having with us. It was my favorite time of the day because it was the time we’d all be hanging around in the big yard, with our bowls of food and cups of tea, and enjoy our lunch in complete silence and separation… yet feeling like we’ve never been more connected. I loved the awareness that we were all spread around, some walking, some lying down, some sleeping, some looking at the sky, all doing our own thing yet all feeling so together. Looking around at the incredible nature and at the lot of us enjoying it immensely every moment, I’d find myself wondering… is this was what Paradise is like?

After lunch we’d get back to the meditation hall for some more meditation, and at 5pm was snack time. The snack was always a very small portion of fruit and tea. Nothing more. Initially I thought I’d be hungry in the evening, but truth is I almost never felt hungry during the entire 10 days. I guess when your focus is not on the food, hunger doesn’t distract you unnecessarily.

At 6pm we’d get back for yet another round of meditation, and at 7 came my second favorite moment of the day: Goenka’s recorded speech. I loved these moments when he’d share his teaching with us, and I think a major reason for that was Goenka’s thick Indian accent. It made me feel like I was back there, in my soul’s home country. His speeches were entertaining and full of thought provoking stories and ideas. Many of them I had heard before, many were new, many made a lot of sense, many I had to spend some time digesting. All in all, it was very good stuff being shared and probably gave the mind some processing to do during the night.

The day ended with a last and short round of meditation, generally with instructions on how the technique would evolve the next day. Those who had questions could address them with the teacher immediately after, and lights were out at 9.30pm. By this time we’d all be exhausted, so we’d fall in a very deep sleep as soon as out head hit he pillow. I usually sleep very well during the night, but those nights during Vipassana were characterized by very deep and restful sleep. Waking up at 4am was not at all the effort I was expecting it to be. And I was indeed very happy about) that!

The challenges we faced during the 10 days – in the next post :).

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Vipassana meditáció

Sokak életében eljön egy pillanat, mikor olyan dolgokba fognak bele, ami a megszokottól különböző, eltérő, netán egyedi, ami mások számára különös, vagy akár elfogadhatatlan. Soszor ezen motivációk spirituális indíttatásúak s ilyenkor rátalálnak a meditációra. A meditációnak rengeteg fajtája van. Különböző guruk, különböző technikákat tanítanak. Vannak melyek Buddhizmushoz köthetők, vannak melyek a hinduizmushoz, s vannak melyek egyikhez sem. Ön-hipnózist gyakorolva volt foggalmun arról, hogy milyen is a meditáció, s próbáltunk is 1-2 félét magunk is, de volt egy 10 napos néma meditációs program, ami már egy ideje vonzott minket. Iunia rákeresett az interneten és láttuk, hogy Cuscóban lesz egy program Szeptember elején, ami egyszerűen tökéletes a számunkra. Be is neveztünk, hisz pár hónapja Peruban járva megállapítottuk, hogy Cusco energiája rendkívül különös, így reméltük, hogy a tapsztalatunk is különös lesz. Ahogy közeledet az időpont egyre izgatottabban és egy kicsit persze idegesebben vártuk a nagy nap eljövetelét, hisz nem másra neveztünk be, mint napi 12 óra meditációra, 10 napon keresztül, mindez beszéd, olvass és írás nélkül. Ott csak te magad leszel telejes valódban a gondolataiddal és az érzéseiddel kizárva mindenféle külső hatást.

 

Összefutni új és régi barátokkal

A kisvárosba, Calcába tartva ismerkedtünk meg Steve-vel, akit a pokrócról és a 4 tekercs WC papírról ismertünk meg, amit mindenkinek magával kellett hoznia. Steve egy középiskolai nyelvtanár Angliából, aki 10 hónapja lépett le otthonról és azóta járja Közép és Dél Amerikát és ahol lehet önkénteskedik, gyerekeket tanítva. Együtt érkeztünk meg az Ashramba, ahol a következő 10 csendes napot töltöttük. Az ashram csodálatos környezetben tallható. Vájog falak választják el a meditálni vágyót a külvilágtól, vájag házak sorakoznak alvás céljára, gyönyörű üde zöld fű borítja a több száz négyzet méteres területet, ami a Sacred Valley, azaz Szent Völgy hegyvonulatai között fekszik.

Kezdés előtt még összetalálkoztunk Carmennel, akit még az ECO Yoga parkban ismertünk meg, s akivel azóta tartottuk a kapcsolatot, s akit pár hete megkérdeztünk nem tart e velünk a meditációra, ha már úgy is a közelben, Bolíviában tartozkódik. Ő rögtön kapott az alkalmon és örömmel öleltük egymást pár hónap után.

Vacsora előtt búcsút vettünk Silviutól és Stevetől, mert a lányok és fiúk nem érintkezhettek egymással. Persze láttuk egymást az udvaron, de egy szallaggal voltunk elvlasztva, s nem lehetett átmennia másik oldalra. A meditációs hallban is jobb oldalon a lányok ültek, bal oldalon meg a fiúk persze külön bejárattal, s még az étkező is külön volt. Az esti bemelegítő meditáció után másnap kezdődött is a nagy kaland.

 

Mi is az a vipassana

A Vipassana meditáció 2500 évvel ezelőtt születet Indiában Buddha álltal. Lényege, hogy a testünkün és azon belül lévő érzéseket megfigyelve és megértve, – hogy ezen érzések csupán jönnek és mennek, – megszabaduljunk olyan berögződésektől és hitektől, amik nem szolgálnak minket.

Buddha azt tanítja, hogy problémáink és ezzel szenvedéseink azért keletkeznek, mert reagálunk a körülöttünk és velünk történő dolgokra. A probléma a reakcióban van. A külvilágot nem tudjuk megválltoztatni, se nem mások viselkedését, beszédét stb. Az egyetlen dolog, amin változtani tudunk az a mi reakciónk. S hogy mi mire reagálunk pontosan? A bennünk lévő érzésekre. A velünk és körülöttünk történő dolgok különböző érzelmeket válltanak ki belőlünk, s mi ezekre az érzelmekre évek során különböző reakciókat tanulunk meg kiválltani. Buddha azt tanítja, hogy ha ezeket az érzéseket, amik legyenek fizikaiak vagy emócionálisak, megfigyeljük és megtanuljuk, hogy ezek is csak jönnek majd mennek (Anicca, ahogy ő nevezi), mint minden más a világon, akkor megtanulunk nem reagálni rájuk. Nem reagálni, annyit jelent, hogy nem kívánjuk a roszz érzések elmúlását, sem pedig a jó érzések eljövetelét, hanem csak elfogadjuk, hogy minden érzés csak egy érzés, se nem rossz, se nem jó, s így nem fogunk szenvedni többet. Tehát magyarra lefordítva, ha valami olyan történik velünk, ami rossz érzéseket, fájdalmat, szomoróságot, haragot stb vállt ki belőlünk, s megtanulunk ezekre nem ragálni, tehát nem kívánni, hogy bárcsak ne fájna a lábam; nem siránkozni, hogy miért történik ez meg ez velünk, hanem megértjük, hogy ez az érzés is elmúlik majd, akkor nem fogonk szenvedni.

A Vipassana meditáció alatt órákat töltenek a meditálók ezen érzések megfigyelésével, amik egy 10 napos program alatt leginkább fizikaiak. Pár nap után elég erős fizikai érzések (fájdalmak) keletkeznek az ember lábában, hátában stb, amit igen csak kihívó csupán megfigyelni és nem reagálni rájuk, azaz nem megmozdítani a lábadat, amíg meditálsz. Vipassana kurzusok 3, 10, 30 és 45 napos válltozatban találhatóak szerte a világon. A legtöbb kurzus indiában van, mert a most élő fő Guru, aki amúgy burmából származik, már vagy 20 éve Indiában él. Európában, sőtt még kishazánkban is van vipassana program, bár Magyarországon az utolsó 2010ben volt. A Guru természetesen nem tud ott lenni minden kurzuson, de esténként egy videót, Cd-t hallgatnak meg a diákok az ő előadásában a megtanulandó leckével. Az érdekődők, a guru álltal írt Art of Living című könyvből több mindent megtudhatnak a meditációról és hatásáról.

Minden vipassana tanfolyam ingyenes, csak adományokat fogadnak el a kurzus végén a diákoktól, ezzel fedezve a minimum költségeket, pl. szállás és étkezés.

Folyt. köv. a részletes programmal.

Posztjainkkal szeretnénk minnél több kérdéseteket és kiváncsiságotokat kielégíteni, így légyszives írjátok meg visszajelzésként (Leave a Reply) vagy akár emailben, hogy miről szeretnétek még hallani egy – egy országgal kapcsolatban. 

Saying good bye to Rio de Janeiro. Theft attempt in Sao Paolo.

Such a hard day it was, the day we said goodbye to Rio. It had been a completely unexpected experience, and that was exactly what made it so special. All three of us felt we’ve grown so much in those 6 weeks, learned so much and changed so much. Discovered parts of ourselves we were not aware of before. Did things we didn’t think we would or could. The time spent in Rio shed a new light on parts of ourselves that used to be dormant. We could not be more thankful to this city for facilitating our “evolution” this way.

We left Rio with the words of one of our friends still ringing in our ears: 

“From the moment I saw you I could tell you guys were different. I have traveled to 30 countries and worked in hospitality for many years, I have seen thousands of tourists… and i can immediately tell you are different, special. The way you carry yourselves, the way you talk, the way you interact with others, the things you are looking at experiencing…. you are not tourists at all, you are real world travelers!”

Indeed that was how we felt. And we were prepared to carry on globe trotting.

The plan to get to Peru

The plan was to make it to Cusco by the 31st of August, when our 10 day Vipassana silent meditation course was supposed to begin. From mid August we kept searching for ways to get there and we could not believe how expensive the flights were. After many an hour spent on the internet, we took a radical decision: we were going to cover the 5000km by bus, in less than 5 days. We found a bus going straight from Rio de Janeior to Cusco, but unfortunately it was only going twice a month and the next one was on the 31st, so didn’t really match our plans. We then found another one going from Sao Paolo to Rio Branco, a city close to the border with Peru, so that meant we’d be crossing Brazil from East to West in 60 hours straight. We got ourselves a ticket for that and got some basic info from Vitor, one of Vanessa’s friends, about the way from Rio Branco to Cusco (passing through Assis and Puerto Maldonado). It seemed doable, so we went ahead with it.

We didn’t know it at the time, but it would take us 5 buses, 2 cars, 1 minivan and 2 ferries to get to our destination. Four out of the five nights were spent sleeping on the bus, and one of them in a very dodgy hostel in Puerto Maldonado, a town in the selva (jungle) that could never complain of lack of heat and humidity. The last 10 hours of the trip were the most horrific hours we had ever spent on a bus, but overall the experience was much less painful, tiring and frustrating than we had expected it to be. So much so that when we got to Calca on the day of the meditation we were fresh, energized and looked like we had spent the past week in a luxury resort rather than on the road. Well, almost. In any event, those who met us then were shocked and impressed that after such a week, we looked the way we did.

Leaving Rio de Janeiro after a rough night

We started from Rio on the 26th in the morning with the first bus, the one that would take us to Sao Paolo. Since that was our last night in Rio we had to make the best of it, so we got home around 5.30am. We thought a short sleep would render us refreshed and ready to start packing at 7am, then leave for the terminal at 9. What a joke! We thanked God for Felippe’s mom that day, who shook us awake at 8am worried as she was that we’ll be missing our bus. We have no idea how we managed to switch off the alarm clock repeatedly between 7 and 8 and then not have any recollection of it either.

We packed hurriedly and got to the terminal in time. The 6 hours ride passed quickly as we were mainly catching up with last night’s sleep. In Sao Paolo we had a 2 hour layover, so off we went hunting for some feijao, not knowing if we’d have the chance to have it again before exiting Brazil. In the spirit of “it’s just down there”, we ended up walking for 20 minutes to find a place that served it. We took it away and ended up eating it in the bus terminal, sitting on the floor and watching people pass by. Some of them must have never seen 3 gringo backpackers eating take away feijao on the bus terminal floor, because they simply could not stop staring.

The theft attempt

Boca and I were sitting with our backs against the wall and Silviu was about 2 meters in front, facing us. Our backpacks were behind us and I hadn’t realised my back was touching my big backpack, but not the small one. As we were slowly eating our food and having the fun conversations we usually have, we saw some strange movement happening behind Silviu. Some guy had dropped his glasses and was leaning to pick them up; it had caught my attention because it was all happening so close to Silviu’s backpacks. As we all stopped to stare at the man, a voice appeared in my head out of nowhere: “Turn around, your backpacks”. The moment I turned I was shocked to actually see a guy there, so close to me I could touch him. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t sensed him before. He was facing the wall and was slowly moving away. I immediately saw he had a black backpack in his hand, and on the other side, glued to it was… my pink small backpack! Incredible! I was so surprised at the sight that all I could muster was an “Oi!”, the kind that rather said “Oi, excuse me sir, are you actually stealing my backpack?”. He looked at me with a “busted” look on his face and said (in English): “Oh… sorry, sorry, sorry” as he handed the backpack back to me. He then stepped away slowly, still apologising on his way away.

We were flabbergasted! First, that none of us had felt or seen him. Second, that he was this well dressed good looking man who you’d never imagine would go around stealing gringos bags. He was so well educated too, not only that he apologised for trying to steal my bag, but he even did it in English! Third, that we were all so slow in reacting. Fourth, that he reacted that way when caught red handed, as opposed to just taking the bag and running. Upon analysing we realised that was the smartest thing to do on his side, as the bus terminal was studded with policemen who had their hand on their guns at all times. Had he run he would have attracted too much attention and would have surely gotten caught. Fifth, that we, and especially I, could continue to be so careless even after the theft episode on Ipanema beach in Rio. Sixth, that my reaction was so calm and composed, as if I were tranquilised. It was the strangest experience and we were so grateful once more that it did not turn out much worse (having your passport stolen two days before you’re about to exit the country is anything but fun).

The 60 hour bus ride to the West 

Soon after, we boarded what was going to be our home for the next 60 hours. We could not believe it! It was one of the most basic buses we had been on for an overnight ride – not only that the TV was not working, but the chairs didn’t even have leg rests! Plus, it was packed. We wondered how we’d survive the 2 days and 3 nights trip to the other side of the country.

It was 7pm when we started the trip, and the first night passed uneventfully. The second day came and it became fascinating to observe the changes every time we stopped on the way. The more we moved East, the cheaper things became, and also the less luxurious the facilities were. We went from squeeky clean bathrooms with hot showers the first day (3 Reais for using the showers and 1.5 for the toilet) to free yet dodgy toilets that not only didn’t have showers, soap or toilet paper, but barely had enough water to be cleaned themselves.

The eating places changed a lot as well, from fancy buffes at 40 Reais/kg to basic restaurants where the buffes were 25Reais/kg. We were elated to be able to eat feijao every dinner, as we wanted to have as much of our favorite food as possible before leaving Brazil.

The bus never stopped being crowded, as even when people got off, others would get on and take their places. We spent 3 nights and 2 days on that bus and the only night we each had 2 seats to sleep on was the last one. Better than none, we thought. Even though this was supposed to be a direct bus, we ended up being woken up twice in the middle of the night to change buses. It was great fun being shaken awake by the bus driver at 4am and sent to wait outside for the other bus that would be there “in just a few minutes”. Fifty minutes and 2 carrots later we’d get our sleepy selves back on the new bus, thankful for another good night sleep.

Or we’d be awakened at 7am by an excited passenger: “Take your camera! We’re crossing the river”. So we’d get out of the bus and drag our feet to the ferry that would take us across the bridgeless river.  Not that we ever understood what was so exciting that would require a foto camera, but anyway…

That was how we made it to Rio Branco on the morning of the 29th, 5 hours later than we were supposed to and hence one hour too late for the bus that was to take us to Puerto Maldonado. We’d now have to find another way to get there…

 

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FINALLY arriving at our destination – Cusco

Lima – Cusco was finally our LAST leg on this enourmous journey from Singapore to Cusco. We were so grateful to be on the plane for the last time in many months to come! The flight was uneventful (we were so happy we got muffins on board though), and when we landed we found Carlos and Hermano Tahuro waiting for us with big smiles on their faces, open arms and warm hearts. It was love at first sight, both with them and with the surroundings. We were welcomed by a most beautiful sky, a perfect blue interupted only by puffy little white figures and the colorful peaks of the nearby hills and mountains. We could not believe how pure the air felt and how clear, diverse and perfect the colors around us appeared – every scene seemed an exqusite painting!

After DJ arrived and we made sure everyone around knew she was with us :), we went for our fist Peruvian meal in the heart of town. Oh, the joy when we realised we were in the land of fresh veggies and delicious bread! Our walk around Cusco was sprinkled with ‘Oh’s and ‘Wow’s and ‘Oh my God’s that we simply could not hold back when we met with the sheer magic of the place.

Carlos planned for us to spend the next few nights in Urubamba, at Ninos de Arco Iris – a beautiful place hidden in the middle of amazing vegetation. Definitely not a backpacker place, it is special in that 100% of the profits go to helping a group of Peruvian children get proper nutrition and education. If budget is not your concern, we’d stongly recommed this quiet, magical place that allows for great peace and relaxation, while also helping to make a difference.

When we got to the hotel it was already dark, and ending the night around fire was all we could have wished for at that moment :).