Welcome to my travel log.
Friday 3 August, 2018 – Saying good-bye to my temporary home in Santa Fe. Last month I moved out of my house and put everything in storage. Please, no comments on my luggage. It’s only 2 suitcases, a backpack, and a “purse”. Ha Ha! Sadly, I had to leave behind some of my of my favorite toiletries and supplements. Looks like I may be gone for several months…
Took Norwegian Air from Chicago to London on the amazing new Boeing 787. Called the “Dreamliner”, it’s the healthiest way to fly, cuz there’s no toxic “bleed air” recycled from the engine! I arrived in London fresh as a daisy with no exhaustion or jet lag to speak of!
Say good-bye to travel fatigue. The old toxic 737 is a thing of the past. Last year only top carriers offered these new planes. Now all airlines are using them, as they’re economical, fuel-efficient, and the air system is way healthier. A welcome change! Look for 787 equipment on any flight.
Found a tiny hotel room with this bright city view just two blocks from Master Lam’s studio. See the London Eye on the left?
Master Lam Kam Chuen and his family welcomed me with great kindness. First I received a Dit Da Chinese Medicine treatment from the Master, which was quite interesting. After the session I felt much lighter, a noticeable clearing of tensions in my back, neck, and lymphatic system. Now we are doing daily private Qigong lessons. While I’m here I’ll also attend his public Qigong, Taichi, and meditation classes. I’m so happy to be here.
Question of the day: Do I dare walk under Westminster bridge? Frighteningly huge metal sheets weld together two distinct bridges, one for railway, the other for cars, but from different ages, arching over a narrow pedestrian walkway amid screeching noise! Do you see the welding seams?! This is not street art, but high-level traffic engineering in a centuries-old city. I made it just fine. London is a surprising mixture of many milleniums and cultures.
With my Oyster Card, I can get anywhere on the Underground. Hang on!
After our first Qiqong lesson, I went to my favorite haunt for another memorable bone broth soup at the Shoryu Cafe on Denning street. This dish is called Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen. The broth is stewed for 12 hours, served with seaweed, egg and veggies. Yum! I skipped the noodles. AMAAAZING flavor and deep nourishment!!
The new Apple store on Regent street is a popular place, very crowded with heavy security.
Took a walk down Regent street to discover all the chic shops. You’ll hear every language in the world here. Uh oh! It’s starting to rain.
Oh dear! Forgot my brolley today. A downpour on Regent street threatens to ruin my afternoon. I step into Papillon at the Hotel Cafe Royal for lunch with the bluebloods. Tasty smothered onion quiche with salad and herb tea, spiked with my personal stash of chocolate chai. Ha Ha!
The new Harry Potter floor just opened at Hamleys children’s store on Regent street. This talented lady greets lookers at the entrance and enthusiastically invites them inside! I asked her to give me her best stuff for 30 seconds, and this is what she did! She’s great!
Hungry again for dinner, but had to reject two food carts. One showed me their GMO canola oil, and the other served boiling hot curry in toxic BPA plastic containers. Eeek! I got a definite “yes” on this Indian cafe near my hotel – CAFE ISHAQ, and was rewarded with scrumptious Chicken Masala and cauliflower. Too much sugar in the masala made me feel funny.
I love this chant. It is reputed to be Milarepa’s last words. At the end of his life, it is said that Milarepa passed away in the presence of his loving students. But then – he got up from his deathbed, chanted this final message, lay down again and departed. Wow! I wonder what he said? Maybe we should translate his words right now! I created this file of the Tibetan uchen script. Can anyone translate it? Milarepa-chant-to-translate.compressed. Milarepa is one of the most famous saints of Tibetan Buddhism, born in 1052 CE. Read about his surprising life here.
A quick power breakfast of apple, avocado and pumpkin seed butter before my Qigong lesson. Not shown is my instant green drink with protein and beet powder!
LONDON BRIDGE was my destination today. The first bridge across the Thames was was built by Romans c.50 CE in their conquest of Britain, it was the ONLY bridge across the Thames until 1729! After the wooden bridge suffered a terrible fire, it was rebuilt in 1209 of many stone arches – see above photo. To pay for the bridge, many apartments, shops and a chapel were built on it, with a narrow street for horses and carts to pass. A small drawbridge in the center allowed ships with tall masts to pass.
Traffic was dense on early London bridge, and it could take a couple of hours to cross. Multi-seated public latrines overhung the bridge, discharging into the river below, as did all the private homes and shops! Yeah! On the south side of the bridge was a tower displaying the heads of beheaded traitors. See them on the spikes? Yep, this bloody sight continued until the 1700’s.
In recent times, the stone bridge was sold to Robert McCulloch, an American oil baron, who dismantled it stone by stone in 1967 and reassembled it in Arizona as a PR attraction! The modern London bridge is a simple concrete construction, not to be confused with the decorative Tower Bridge nearby. Amazing!
Food heaven! My best Indian food so far was at Mango Indian Restaurant near London Bridge. A real find! This time I told them I have a terrible allergy to sugar, and they made it without sugar! I enjoyed succulent KADAI LAMB LAHORI with BHINDI DOPIAZA, fresh okra in a superbly spiced sauce. I succumbed to garlic naan and OMG was in flavor heaven! Brought back leftovers for dinner tonite.
The Borough Market near London Bridge is a fantastic place to shop. Today the oyster bar sampled fish and oysters from around the world. A vast selection of fresh juices, cheeses, olives, sweets, breads and snacks from from every country boggles the imagination. I found organic greens and duck eggs for breakfast! A full-time job opening for a Trainee Ham Carver at the Brindisi Spanish Bistro, if anyone’s interested…
A rainy day in London. A good day to cook lunch in my tiny hotel kitchenette. Fresh duck eggs and steamed greens. Yummy! Good thing I brought my Himalayan salt!
This evening I attended the most amazing Taichi class I’ve ever seen. I’m not allowed to take photos of Master Lam or his sessions. The class began with 20 minutes of “push hands” and martial exchanges between partners. Then the students all lined up and did 3 Taichi forms in succession – Short, Medium, and Long. During the class Master Lam observed in silence with no instruction. In the last 10 minutes of the class, he stood up and made a few comments. Then he demonstrated the long form in silence, with great reverence and humility. It was utterly beautiful. This is his own Taichi form. Although he is 70 years old, he moves like a young man of 25. I was in awe. I thanked him for allowing me to participate in the class. In order to learn Taichi like this, I’d have to move to London and study with him for about 20 years.
Great news! My Bhutan visa was approved today! I’m going into the Land of the Thunder Dragon! Bhutan’s high mountains have regular thunders, and people in ancient times heard it as the sound of dragons, or “Druk”. In the Dzongkha language, Bhutan is called “Druk Yul”, or “Land of Thunder Dragon”.
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Tomorrow I leave London to go to Kathmandu for 3 weeks, to enjoy the Himalayas and wait for my September passage into Bhutan. Stay tuned!