Lakadkh Gompas

The land here is very dry; the altitude over near meters. The hills of Kashmir attract all the snow and very little rain makes it to Ladakh. The sky is crystal blue, with rarely a sight of clouds. Over 2 weeks ago, a storm blew in and dumped enough snow to close up many passes. Mandi Road seems closed as well as many of the treks that are available.

A short jaunt up the ridge leads me to the mysterious third gompa above the town of Leh. Admidst the mud, stone, and rock, the wind tufts through the prayer flags. All the while I sit, soaking in the view of Leh, vaguely glowing in the distant sunset.

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Back to Mbale

I was born in Kampala, Africa but we lived in Mbale.  My parents were advised that the hospital in Mbale was not yet the right place for us.  We left in late 1965, at a time where first grade in America was beginning but also Uganda was not partial to mazungu at that time. Foreigners are commonly called this in East Africa, literally the meaning in Swahili is “people who go round and round”. Luckily, I was able to return in 1989 by myself and then again in 1996. This time, I brought my father with me and we stayed two weeks.

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Protest March in Ladakh

Ladakh is a magical place. I was fortunate to spend a month there in October, 1989. Beyond all the wonderful, scenic vistas and people, one of the most interesting events I attended was a rally for Union Territory status. The rally was set for October 27th, the day the Indian troops first entered Kashmir in 1947. The day is very symbolic to the people, because both Kashmir and Ladakh were planning “bandhs”, the local equivalent of a strike. In Kashmir, the people were another Indian population that were striving for some autonomy from the state. Ladakh had different ideas. They desired Union Territory status from Kashmir.  They believed that they had little political authority in the Jammu and Kashmir government. A Union Territory would preserve their culture and heritage. Also, the Kashmiris were hoarding the state and tourist money, keeping the business and cash in Kashmir and not Ladakh.

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Grand Canyon Backpack

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon for almost a week in January, 2014.  I traveled with my best friend Tim and we hiked down the South Kaibab trail and back out the Bright Angel trail.  The best thing about the trip was every 100 yards was a totally new view.  These videos just don’t come close to being there yourself.  If you want a brief summary, this article provides a great brief overview of the hike.

 

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