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    [post_date] => 2010-07-05 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2010-07-05 06:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Greetings from Leh,

After a long drive back to the "big city," everyone is now contentedly
munching on western delights at "Il Forno," a local "Italian" joint
upstairs. After a week of eating nothing but veggies and
dough-in-various-forms, everyone was totally buzzing over all the
possibilities on the menu! I thought I would take this opportunity to
update you all that we are safely back while we wait for our food to
arrive, always a lengthy period of time when ordering for 13.

Our journey began with several side trips to visit SECMOL school and
Alchi monastery. SECMOL is a school outside Leh that hosts and teaches
Ladakhi students who did not pass their 10th grade exams, sadly
something only less than half of Ladakhi students do. Students board
at SECMOL for a year and are taught material directly relevant to
their lives in Ladakh, and hopefully given the critical thinking
skills needed to re-enter school the following year, or to enter into
other vocational professions. We were so impressed by their campus, by
all the green methods that make the place run: solar power they
harness and educate students about, vegetable gardens and greenhouses,
cows, and recycling facilities. They have beautiful boarding lodge,
kitchen, library, and classroom spaces. SECMOL is on the forefront of
alternative and experiential education in Ladakh, really the only
place like it. They are even producing Ladakhi-relevant textbooks to
replace the outdated and irrelevant textbooks used by government
schools in the rest of India. For more information, please check out
their website: http://www.secmol.org/

Our second side trip on our way out to Domkhar was to Alchi monastery.
Alchi is a small monastery complex with only a few temple spaces, but
it boasts the most beautifully preserved 1000 year-old fresco wall
paintings to be found in Ladakh. Unlike most monastery paintings, the
ones at Alchi were influenced by the Kashmiri Buddhist style, uniquely
different to the Tibetan aesthetic. Walking into the dimly lit
temples, I know my mind is stilled in awe of the incredible art which
stands as a testament to human relationship and devotion to the
divine. It was such a treat to be able to stand under these remarkably
preserved paintings and statues and marvel at the exquisite work
depicting mandalas and hundreds of buddhas present as they were 1000
years ago.

After those stops, we continued on our way to Domkhar, a village about
110 km from Leh - such an epic drive through the high desert. Domkhar
lays about 1000 ft lower than Leh, so we were welcomed by a more
pleasant and moderate climate. Domkhar is a green oasis which rests
above a raging river, complete with relatively lush gardens and
fragrant fields - a nice treat after the dryness we were used to.
Everyone split into pairs and were welcomed by their new homestay
families, and we spent 5 days getting to know them and the surrounding
areas. We explored surrounding towns, volunteered at the school
teaching classes, and took an excursion yesterday to Dha Hanu further
down the valley to see the Dard community. Students helped their
families with chores like picking vegetables and milking the cows, and
also helped in the kitchen and will hopefully have some new recipes to
share when they get home! You should all be so proud of how they
seamlessly and enthusiastically integrated with this new community.
They even sang several songs for the school on our last day
volunteering there, and their performance inspired an exchange of
performances from the local school kids.

Tomorrow is the Dalai Lama's birthday and although he will not be in
Ladkah for another few weeks, all the Tibetans and Ladakhis get
together each year on July 6 to celebrate their devotion in a giant
picnic - of course, we will be attending! Afterwards, everyone will do
some final shopping and then depart the following day for Delhi. We
have been invited to Shreya's grandparent's house which will be a
welcome refuge in the Delhi heat/madness. And not long after that,
they will board another plane back home!

It has been such a treat getting to know and travel with this
wonderful Nueva group. We hope you're excited to hear all the stories!

Thank you,
Kristin, Adrian, and Amrit [post_title] => Back from Domkhar [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => back-from-domkhar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-07-05 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2010-07-05 06:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=47719 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 386 [name] => Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010 [slug] => nueva-custom-india-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 386 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 11 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 386 [category_count] => 11 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => nueva-custom-india-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/nueva-custom-india-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010 )

Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Back from Domkhar

Instructor Team,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

Greetings from Leh, After a long drive back to the "big city," everyone is now contentedly munching on western delights at "Il Forno," a local "Italian" joint upstairs. After a week of eating nothing but veggies and dough-in-various-forms, everyone was totally buzzing over all the possibilities on the menu! I thought I would take this […]

Posted On

07/5/10

Author

Instructor Team

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After spending 3 enriching days in Leh, (an area well known for its Lhamos and people travel great distances to see them) the Nueva group is heading off to a small village named Domkhar today.

Domkhar village is 118 km west of Leh and will be group’s home for the next 5 days. The village is well off of the ‘beaten travel path’ the group will not have internet access during their. They will only have limited access to phones.

After their arrival to Domkhar, 2 students will be paired up with a homestay family who will be their hosts for the duration of their stay. Evenings will be spent with families, but students will spend the majority of days with their group engaging with the greater community and volunteering at the local school.

The group will be heading out on a trek right after their stay in Domkhar. At the moment the Instructors are still deciding if they will leave directly from the village or take an alternative route. We will keep you posted regarding their plans before they leave for their majestic hike.

All is well and everyone is enjoying discovering this magical place. Please keep following the Yak board to hear more from the field.

All the best from the Dragons Admin, Julay!

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Nueva Update

Boulder Admin,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

After spending 3 enriching days in Leh, (an area well known for its Lhamos and people travel great distances to see them) the Nueva group is heading off to a small village named Domkhar today. Domkhar village is 118 km west of Leh and will be group’s home for the next 5 days. The village […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Boulder Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2010-06-27 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Jullay from Leh!

I am pleased to report that after a long stint of travel, the Nueva group has finally touched down in Leh and will be on the ground for the next 10 days! Thankfully their flight to Leh was delayed a few hours this morning, and we knew about the delay ahead of time, so they were able to catch a few more hours of shut eye in Delhi before boarding their final flight up here. Everyone is currently resting and taking it easy adjusting to the altitude - a mere 11,500 ft! Tomorrow's itinerary includes a visit to the local oracle (shamanic healer), the Snow Leopard Conservancy, and some easy exploration of Leh's bazaars (walking very slowly of course).

We will post further reports as we experience them! Thank you for trusting your kids with us - we can sense already that they're an incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive group and we're excited to see how the next few weeks unfold!

Kristin, Adrian, and Amrit

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Arrival in Leh

Instructors,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

Jullay from Leh! I am pleased to report that after a long stint of travel, the Nueva group has finally touched down in Leh and will be on the ground for the next 10 days! Thankfully their flight to Leh was delayed a few hours this morning, and we knew about the delay ahead of […]

Posted On

06/27/10

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2010-06-11 00:00:00
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Namaste!

My apologies for the lateness of this introduction, but I am currently in the mountains of NE India leading a course for NOLS and thus will be joining you a little late.

I can’t say I’m not sad that the course has been rerouted from Nepal to Ladakh, as I was excited to share my country and culture with you, but India is an amazing country and the experiences and adventures we will have, will no doubt impact on you for the rest of your lives. It will be unparalleled!!!!!!

To leave behind the comfortable and familiar to face something unknown takes courage - you have my utmost respect for taking that step. I can still remember the fizz of excitement alongside the dread of the unknown the first time I headed west. Will the people be welcoming? Will I like the food? Will I find my way around? How different is the culture? Just some of the questions buzzing around my head, but I found, as I hope you will, that an open mind and heart can lead to the start of an adventure that has the ability to last a lifetime. And yes, my first experience of full-on western culture left me yearning for more adventures, both at home and abroad.

As my desire to spread my wings, experience different cultures and wide open spaces became more urgent I headed off to the USA to see just how it did mountains and wilderness. I shall never forget the first bear I saw, the majesty of the elk migration, and the shear size of the American great outdoors. But a large part of my heart always stayed back in the Himalayas, and this is why I am so thrilled and honoured to be given the opportunity to introduce you to a snapshot of the culture and majesty within this amazing region, to travel with you on your journey of exploration and to see the same wonder in your eyes that still looks back at me as I continue on my quest for adventure, learning and greater understanding.

Enjoy the first few days of your journey and I look forward to meeting up with you all in India!

Take care, be excited, and see you all very soon!

Amrit Ale

aleamrit@gmail.com

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Instructor Introduction

Amrit Ale,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

Namaste! My apologies for the lateness of this introduction, but I am currently in the mountains of NE India leading a course for NOLS and thus will be joining you a little late. I can’t say I’m not sad that the course has been rerouted from Nepal to Ladakh, as I was excited to share […]

Posted On

06/11/10

Author

Amrit Ale

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We thought we would post a few small changes to the packing list just posted so that you are all best prepared for our trip. Both the cold and the sun can be extreme in Ladakh, so pack keeping this in mind.

For the cold, we recommend bringing a 0 degree sleeping bag. A sleeping bag liner can add warmth to your bag as well (fleece or cotton). You will definitely want a hat that covers your ears and gloves. A scarf is also recommended. A gore tex jacket is also recommended, in place of a raincoat as it does not rain frequently in Ladakh. Rain pants are also optional.

For the sun, be sure to have a good sun hat (one with a wide brim that covers your ears), sunglasses, and sunblock.

Please write if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Julay!

Your Instructor team

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Packing list revisions

Instructors,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

We thought we would post a few small changes to the packing list just posted so that you are all best prepared for our trip. Both the cold and the sun can be extreme in Ladakh, so pack keeping this in mind. For the cold, we recommend bringing a 0 degree sleeping bag. A sleeping […]

Posted On

05/31/10

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2010-05-30 00:00:00
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Greetings Everyone!

As you all know, we will be flying to Ladakh from Delhi. We will be at elevations above 11,000ft (over 16,000ft on our trek) and while we will be careful to acclimatize as much as possible, we fly directly in to Leh at over 11,000ft. You may want to consider speaking to adoctor about bringing the prescription medicine Diamox, which helps with the acclimatization process. We will be carrying Diamox but cannot administer it without a prescription. If you are able to obtain a prescription before you leave, you will have the option to take Diamox should you want to.

As may have been communicated to you already, you may also like to bring non prescription preventative medicines, such as:

-Anti-bacterial gel to keep your hands clean
-Vitamin C and Echinacea to fight off colds

-Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)- which acts like a natural anti biotic (nutribiotic)
-Multi-vitamins
-Perfect Food (a super food powder)
-Spirulina
-Energy bars

- Due to Ladakh’s elevation, vegetables are limited and you may want to consider bringing some of the following, or anything else which helps promote a healthy immune system or works as a dietary supplement

Also, don’t forget to bring warm clothing!

We look forward to meeting you all soon!

Julay!

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Altitude

Adrian Smith,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

Greetings Everyone! As you all know, we will be flying to Ladakh from Delhi. We will be at elevations above 11,000ft (over 16,000ft on our trek) and while we will be careful to acclimatize as much as possible, we fly directly in to Leh at over 11,000ft. You may want to consider speaking to adoctor […]

Posted On

05/30/10

Author

Adrian Smith

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The following is the packing list for our "Identity in Exile" program. It is geared toward a similar region to where you'll be headed, and will help you pack for this new itinerary. Please post questions if you have any.

North India: Identity in Exile

Clothing & Equipment List

THINK LIGHT! Do not bring more than you are comfortable carrying as it is very important that you can fit all of your belongings into one backpack and a daypack that you are comfortable carrying on your own. Pack your bag and then walk around the block three times. Anything you can live without?

Here's a list of all that you will need to stay warm, dry, cool and comfy. When packing, think layers and do your best to stay away from cotton (save T-shirts) because cotton takes a long time to dry. We recommend that you bring what's listed here, and not much more. The lighter your pack, the happier you (and the rest of the group) will be. Students who arrive in Los Angeles drastically over packed will be asked to send extra items home at their own expense. There will be opportunities (in urban areas and while on trek) to do laundry. Remember too that culturally-appropriate clothing, as well as extra bags, and some of the other items on this list (like batteries) will be available for purchase in India, for less than half of what you would pay at home.

GEARThe most important point here is that your gear should be functional and comfortable. Be sure you know how to pack and adjust your pack, and that you can carry it comfortably when it is full! We have made suggestions of possible companies that make certain items on this list; however, the same product is almost always made by other non-brand name brands. Comfort is key! For more information, please refer to the purchase chart and shopping guidelines on the pages that follow this list.

q BACKPACK: We recommend something between 4500 and 5000 cubic inches in size. Please bring an internal frame pack, as an external frame pack may break. Most important is that the backpack frame fits your body size (note that they make S, M, L and XL frame sizes), and that you’re comfortable carrying the pack when it’s full. Keep in mind that the more empty space you have, the more you’ll be inclined to fill it up; therefore, go ahead and carry a pack smaller than 5000 ci as long as you can manage to fit everything into it! All other bags, such as your daypack and lightweight duffle, must be compressible and fit inside you big pack. Please note that many backpacks now come with detachable “lids,” which can be used as daypacks.

q BACKPACK COVER: Waterproof slip that cinches to fit over your backpack, still allowing you to wear the pack; available at any good outdoor equipment store. They come in different sizes, so please make sure that yours fits your pack! An alternate option would be to use heavy duty trash bags to line the inside of your pack, although an external cover is strongly recommended.

q DAYPACK: Small, light, nylon bag with shoulder straps and/or a hip strap – again, something that is compact and can either fit inside or be part of your bigger pack. This is what you’ll take with you on day excursions. It should be compressible and yet big enough to hold a water bottle, headlamp or flashlight, some food, a raincoat, and a book or journal.

q STUFF SACKS: You’ll never regret bringing too many of these: lightweight and compact, stuff sacks can be very useful for separating clothes, food, toiletries, and everything else so that you may bring order to your pack and make your life simpler. We like to bring a few larger stuff sacks (even old, beat up pillow cases may work) to separate clean and dirty clothes. It’s also nice to have some smaller bags to hold toiletries, batteries, etc.

q HIKING BOOTS: North India students are advised to have a fairly rigid pair of boots that offers good ankle support. When on course, you may find that your boots become your everyday footwear! We recommend trekking/hiking-specific boots with Vibram soles as they tend to be solid and offer long-term comfort and protection. IMPORTANT! YOU MUST BREAK IN YOUR BOOTS AHEAD OF TIME! Once broken in, they will give you better support and protection, and will be much less likely to cause blisters. When fitting your boots, be sure to try them on with a suitable sock combination. If you’re getting new boots, ask the folks at the store what sock combo they recommend, and come with three to four sets of that sock combo.

q CAMP SHOES, TEVAS, OR CHACOS: You will need a pair of shoes to wear during water crossings and at camp (after a long day, nothing feels better than pulling your boots off and throwing on some lightweight duds). An old pair of sneakers may work wonders, but some people prefer the outdoor industry prototypes. Tevas and Chacos are light and quick-drying. Chacos are slightly more expensive but fit more snug on the foot and have more support with no Velcro. It is important NOT to bring flip-flops (they won’t stay on your feet) and also NOT to bring leather, as it is more difficult to clean and does not dry as fast.

q SLEEPING BAG: Synthetic or down, 10 to 20 degree rating. If you are a cold sleeper, consider a 10 degree bag. Some bags are designed for women—bigger in the hips, and smaller in the shoulders. Bags often come in short (up to 5’9”) and long sizes (Up to 6’ 2”). If you are in between sizes, opt for the longer size, as you can always use the extra room to keep your clothing warm at night. Down bags last longer, are lighter, but require more maintenance. Getting a down bag with a vapor-barrier exterior is a great idea to prevent condensation from jeopardizing the insulation. It is also essential that if you do get a down bag, you line your stuff sack with a plastic bag. Compared to down bags, synthetic bags are bulkier, but they are a lot more economical and you can stay warm in a synthetic bag even if the bag is wet. We recommend a compression stuff sack for packing your sleeping bag, especially for synthetic bags.

q SLEEPING PAD: A good insulating layer between you and the ground is essential. Thermarest makes an inflatable pad that is optimal, but if you do get an inflatable pad, be sure to get a repair kit – they can sometimes get small holes and need repairs! Ridgerest and other outdoor companies manufacture foam pads, which are functional, but not as highly recommended due to their bulky size; they are, however, more economical, and they don’t require any special precautions or repairs. Although a half-length sleeping pad is OK, we recommend something ¾ length or longer given the number of nights that we’ll sleep out.

CLOTHING - In general, layers are the key to keeping warm (and cooling off) when you need it. Also, keep in mind that dressing in a way that is culturally appropriate goes a LONG way in gaining the respect of local people and opening doors for you. Clothing that does not show dirt, is lightweight, and dries easily is ideal, but remember that whatever you bring will get a lot of use, so bring things that you don’t mind beating up!

q RAINCOAT: Best if lightweight and breathable. Gore-Tex is great, but there are other materials that are more economical. We like coats that are a little oversized to accommodate under layers. A plastic poncho could work, but it is much more effective to hike with an actual raincoat. For North India, we strongly recommend that you invest in a good quality raincoat as well as rain pants (see below).

q RAIN PANTS: Waterproof pants, coated nylon or Gore-Tex. These should be pretty lightweight, and as with the raincoat, breathable materials are best. Your pants will take a beating, though, so they should either be fairly cheap, or if you are going to invest in a good pair, make sure they have a reinforced bottom and reinforced knees.

q PILE JACKET or WOOL SWEATER: Pile, often called Polartech or fleece, is great because it is light, doesn’t hold odors, dries fast and keeps you warm even if it’s wet. This coat is an essential element of the layering system, and a wool sweater can serve the same purpose. A light down jacket could serve this purpose as well, and may be a better option as it will pack down into a very small size. Cotton sweater and sweatshirts are NOT OK as they are heavy, take a long time to dry and will only make you colder if they get wet.

q DOWN OR SYNTHETIC “PUFFY”: The cure-all for layering. Does not need to be an expedition-fill jacket, but this warm insulating layer adds an incredible amount of warmth and comfort in the evening and packs down very small in your bag. For synthetics, Polarguard is the best insulator. Look at Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, Cloudveil or Montbell for highest quality (and cost!). North Face makes a cheaper down jacket that would be sufficient.

q PILE PANTS: Any warm, light to medium weight synthetic pants will be fine. Alternatively, you could be quite happy with heavy or expedition weight long underwear!

q LONG UNDERWEAR: Top & bottom, mid-weight capilene or polypropylene: basically some type of synthetic or wool. NO COTTON. Patagonia makes excellent long underwear.

q WOOL or PILE HAT: Bring your favorite winter hat, or pick up a good cheap wool hat along your travels.

q WOOL or SYNTHETIC SOCKS: 3 pairs. Some wool socks are blended with nylon to make them more comfy and to help them last longer. Old, military-style wool socks would work, but aren’t recommended. Patagonia, Smart-wool, and Thor-Lo sell great socks. Wool or synthetic socks are essential as they insulate even when wet. We recommend that you consider one expedition-weight pair (for sleeping) and 2-3 lighter-weight pairs (for hiking).

q COTTON SOCKS: 2 pairs. These are for the plane ride, home-stays, walking around town and for wear when not trekking. Keep in mind that darker color socks will appear clean…even when they’re not!

q GLOVES / MITTENS: 1 pair, medium or lightweight. For chilly evenings and mornings.

q UNDERWEAR: 4 pairs. If you can avoid cotton, do. Synthetic, quick-drying underwear will be much easier to wash and keep clean. Patagonia makes great synthetic underwear.

q T-SHIRTS: 2. Should be neither white nor black (grey is good), and in fair shape. May be cotton, or better yet, synthetic. Please DO NOT bring thin-shoulder tank tops or other shirts which reveal skin as these are culturally inappropriate.

q LIGHTWEIGHT, SYNTHETIC SHIRT: 1. Something short or long-sleeved that will dry quickly. Many companies now make synthetic shirts designed for outdoor activities or sports. Anything that will dry quickly is ideal.

q LONG PANTS: 2 pairs, at least one synthetic. We don’t recommend jeans, as they take a long time to dry. Your pants should be durable and lightweight, and, if possible, dark in color. We recommend lightweight trekking pants with zippers so that your pants may be easily converted into shorts. DO NOT bring wide-leg pants that might drag on the ground, as these are a disaster on Asian streets. Girls: DO NOT bring pants that are fitted in the waist/ butt area; they are culturally inappropriate, and you will undoubtedly feel uncomfortable in them.

q SUN HAT OR VISOR: Along with your sunglasses, this is essential protection from the intense sun of the Himalayas.

FOR MEN -

q COLLARED SHIRT: 1. Should be long-sleeved and lightweight (synthetic or light-weave cotton). Important for visits to monasteries and conservative rural villages, and for meetings with NGOs and other important city contacts.

FOR WOMEN -

q SUN DRESS or SKIRT: Important for visits to monasteries and conservative rural villages, and for meetings with NGOs and other important city contacts; also remarkably comfy for hiking. Your dress/skirt should be simple and lightweight and MUST cover the shoulders and come down below the knee. Don't go out and buy anything fancy! Make sure your dress or skirt is loose enough to squat (to use the toilet with out showing skin) and to sit cross-legged in. Sarongs are very versatile and could serve this purpose as well.

PERSONAL ITEMS

q WATER BOTTLES: 2. 1-quart, plastic or aluminum water bottles. Nalgene makes great, durable plastic water bottles, and both Sigg and Brunton make great aluminum bottles. They may be picked up at any backpacking store. Camelbacks and other hydration bladders are great for trekking but must be cared for as the hoses can break.

q SUNGLASSES: Bring one pair that offers good protection. Make sure that your shades are 100% UVA/UVB protection. If you have extra-sensitive eyes, polarized lenses are recommended, although they are expensive. You may be able to find a cheap replacement pair in North India if you lose them, but quality glasses cannot be guaranteed.

q TOILETRIES: Best to bring a 6 week’s supply of everything you need for grooming yourself. Women, please bring enough tampons/pads for the entire course.

q SECURITY WALLET/BELT: You’ll want to keep your passport, ATM card, traveler’s checks and other valuables in a secure wallet or belt that’s well attached to your body. We prefer the cloth ones over nylon because they are cooler against the skin in humid weather. Eagle Creek makes good products.

q JOURNAL/NOTEBOOK: You must bring something that you can write in. Should be compact, but have room enough to record your daily thoughts.

q HAT / BANDANAS: Bandanas are versatile and can be very comfortable for women to keep their hair clean and tied back.

q HEADLAMP: We strongly recommend that you avoid bringing a hand-held flashlight. Headlamps are best, as they’re hands-free and can provide an extra modicum of safety should we find ourselves hiking at night.

q SUN SCREEN: Important! We recommend SPF 30+, water/sweatproof.

q LIP BALM: Make sure that your lip balm has SPF 15 or higher. Lip balm w/o SPF actually intensifies the effect of the sun’s rays!

q INSECT REPELLANT: A small bottle will be more than sufficient. Can fit in with your toiletries.

q PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Any personal prescription medications that you regularly take (and printed information on side effects and contraindications) and a cycle of Ciproflaxin or other broad-based antibiotic. Consult with a travel doctor for recommendations and a prescription.

q GLASSES / CONTACTS AND CONTACT SOLUTION: Please bring an extra pair of glasses in case you lose your first! Contact lens wearers should consider bringing extra pairs and enough saline solution to last the length of the course.

q TOWEL: Preferably quick-dry and not too big; can be found at any outdoor equipment store. MSR makes a great PackTowel.

q ALARM CLOCK or WATCH WITH BUILT-IN ALARM: If not a watch, your alarm clock should be travel-size. The alarm needs to be loud enough to wake you up and get you moving!

q GUIDEBOOK, PHRASEBOOK, and PROGRAM READER: Sent to you by Dragons.

OPTIONALWe include these items to give you an idea of some extras that might come in handy; however, they truly are optional – all items that we believe are necessary for this course have been included above. If you have any questions regarding the necessity of a particular item, please contact us.

q DUFFEL BAG / TRAVEL BAG: You may need an extra bag to keep items that are left behind during hikes and short trips and a bag in which you may bring souvenirs home. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and in fact, just about anything nylon and lightweight will be fine. Osprey and other backpack manufacturers make small, compactable “travel covers” that can double as a all-purpose duffle. If you can’t find something that works, don’t worry – you can get a great simple bag in-country for a fraction of what you would pay at home!

q CAMERA: Please bring extra batteries for digital cameras and extra film if you are using 35mm. Remember: if you have a rechargeable battery, you need the appropriate adapter (voltage converter) so that you don’t fry your device. Keep in mind that we will NOT have access to electricity during some parts of the course; you should therefore bring an extra battery or two. For people using digital cameras, bring a few memory cards as downloading your photos in internet cafes may take a long time!

q SOCK LINERS: 1 pair. Not essential, but nice as an additional layer…and they can help prevent blisters.

q ZIPLOCK BAGS: Of small and large size. These can be good for “waterproofing” or separating items in your pack. Stuff sacks may also work for this purpose, although very few are waterproof.

q GIFTS: A few simple things to present to people who help make our course special. Picture books of home and inflatable globes are great. Gift ideas that were a hit last year: T-shirts from schools or hometowns, pictures of yourself, name cards with your mailing address and email. (Students can discuss other appropriate gifts when their instructors call to introduce themselves in early June.)

q BANDANA: 1+. These can serve multiple purposes while traveling.

q STUDENT ID CARD: If you have one that’s valid, bring it in your safety wallet!

q SMALL BACKPACK PADLOCK: 1-2. It is a good idea to have some way to lock your bags.

q EXTRA PASSPORT PHOTOS: Not a bad idea to have a few extra pictures with you.

q PURELL: A small bottle of this hand-sanitizing gel, or anti-bacterial hand wipes.

q GOOD BOOK: Bring one to trade!

q EXTRA STUFF SACKS

q PLAYING CARDS / DICE / TRAVEL GAMES: As long as they’re small and light.

q EXTRA FILM: If you do bring film, it’s best if you pack it in a lead carrying bag, or pack it so that you can remove it from your luggage before sending it through any airport X-rays.

q DUCT TAPE: Wrap some around your water bottle, and pull it off as you need it.

q OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS: You might consider bringing a small supply of whatever you use at home, along with some vitamins and some Pepto-Bismol tablets for bellyaches. We stock our medical kit with just about everything, but if you are especially prone to motion sickness, headaches, or menstrual cramps, it’s a good idea to bring some of your own. Instructors will collect and review all medications at the start of the course.

THINGS TO LEAVE AT HOME!

* TANK TOPS, SLEEVELESS SHIRTS, TIGHT PANTS, SHORT SHORTS AND MINI SKIRTS

* REVEALING CLOTHING OF ALL KIND We are not here to make a fashion statement.

* WIDE-LEGGED PANTS THAT DRAG ON THE GROUND A disaster on Asian streets and in public toilets.

* MAKEUP AND OTHER FANCY TOILETRIES

* iPODS AND OTHER TYPES OF MP3 PLAYERS These have been known to break easily at high elevations!

One final thing, and this is essential: A HEALTHY BODY! Your experience will be so much more enjoyable if you come with a body that is fully prepared for the journey. We recommend an exercise regimen that gets your heart rate above 120 beats per minute, for thirty minutes at a stretch, four times a week. We also recommend you go on at least one overnight backpacking trip before the beginning of the course, to get a feel for your pace (and also to use your pack and break in your boots). The better your condition, the greater the number of opportunities you’ll be able to seize!

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Helpful Packing List

Reed Harwood,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

The following is the packing list for our "Identity in Exile" program. It is geared toward a similar region to where you’ll be headed, and will help you pack for this new itinerary. Please post questions if you have any. North India: Identity in Exile Clothing & Equipment List THINK LIGHT! Do not bring more […]

Posted On

05/30/10

Author

Reed Harwood

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Introduction

Lucas Currie,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

My name is Lucas and i’m a rising junior at a small boarding school in southern california. I play football and basketball and spend a lot of time outdoors so i’m pretty excited for our trip. looking forward to meeting you all

Posted On

05/29/10

Author

Lucas Currie

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Greetings Everyone, or as you will all be greeted shortly in Ladakh, ‘Jullay’!

Thank you for being patient as we work to re route our program to Ladakh. We are excited about the program we have planned and appreciate your flexibility and understanding. Ladakh is an extraordinary place and in many ways we are fortunate to be relocating there.

Most of the components of the program will be the same as what we had planned in Nepal, although we will see far less rain and trees. Ladakh offers us the opportunity to explore some of the highest inhabited land in the world, dramatic desert landscapes and mountains, and the extraordinary people who have made that area their home. Since my first trip with a group in 1998, I have taken many groups to Ladakh and all have been captivated by the landscape and its people. Much like the highland people of Nepal, Ladakhis are honest warm hearted people whose hospitality will astound you. Kristin has already written a nice introduction to Ladakh, so I will leave the rest for you to discover for yourselves.

After a spectacular flight into Leh, the capital of Ladakh, we will spend our first day resting as we acclimatize to an elevation of over 11,000ft. This process will take several days and we will spend our first few days getting oriented as we meet with locals and visit the monasteries and other sights around Leh. We will then drive 185 km west to our village stay in Domkar where we will stay with farming families in a dramatic rural setting. This is the home village of our guide Namgial, who will be joining us and arranging our homestays. Please take the time to read Namgial’s introduction. He is wonderful person who we are very fortunate to have with us. We will join our families in their daily routine of farming and will also work in the school teaching English. Throughout this time we will be acclimatizing for our trek which will take us for 5 days from Spituk through remote Himalayan valleys and nomadic encampments, up over 16,000 ft passes, to Chilling and then back to Leh in time to fly back to Delhi and home.

Ladakh is said to be one of the few places in the world where you can get frostbite and a sunburn at the same time. At that elevation the sun is very strong, but temperatures can plummet overnight and it could even snow on our trek. It is important to bring warm layers and a warm sleeping bag (0 degrees), down jacket, gloves and hat.

Rest assured that we have a fantastic journey planned. Safe travels and please don’t hesitate to be in touch! I am looking forward to meeting all of you in Delhi airport shortly!

Julay!

Adrian

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Preparation for Ladakh

Adrian Smith,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

Greetings Everyone, or as you will all be greeted shortly in Ladakh, ‘Jullay’! Thank you for being patient as we work to re route our program to Ladakh. We are excited about the program we have planned and appreciate your flexibility and understanding. Ladakh is an extraordinary place and in many ways we are fortunate […]

Posted On

05/29/10

Author

Adrian Smith

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    [post_date] => 2010-05-28 00:00:00
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Welcome! Jullay! This is the beginning of an extraordinary unfolding together, and I so look forward to meeting you all in about a month!

I just returned last night to warmer climes after spending the last month up in Ladakh with Dragons. Although I just emerged chapped and sunburnt and am still thawing out from the unusually low temperatures for this season, I am itching to get back up onto the geographic Tibetan plateau with all of you! I imagine the weather will actually shift quite dramatically in the next few weeks and Ladakh will be more climatically hospitable, but as they say, if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes. When the sun goes behind the clouds, get out your down jackets, but when it's out, you'll be wishing you could actually shed layers of skin!

I was quite pleased when a flurry of e-mails were sent a few weeks ago informing me of our re-routing to India. Although Nepal is a place close to my heart and I know Amrit had organized an awesome itinerary there for us, the dramatic peaks of Ladakh speak to my spirit and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to spend more time up there this summer. Adrian, Amrit, and I all have spent extensive time up in that western corner of the Himalayas, and we are excited to share our passion and perspectives with you. We are still working out the kinks to put together our last-minute itinerary, but know that we have some serious treats in store for you! With Adrian and the whole Dragons office in the States, and me still in India, we are literally working round-the-clock to get final arrangements made so that everything will run smoothly upon your arrival.

In anticipation of that arrival, I’ve been reflecting on my first trip to this part of the world, 11 years ago. Nothing can quite prepare you for the sensory overload you will likely experience, for the seeming paradoxes existant in any one scene, for the simultaneous levels of response that you'll have. I'm not going to fill your head with too many expectations, but wanted to shed some (abridged) light on Ladakh as a unique geographical area with a profoundly rich heritage and fascinating evolving culture. Ladakh's name itself means "land of high passes." It rests at a significant physical crossroads between the so-called "east" and "west," made famous by the ancient Silk Road. It shares sensitive political borders with China, Tibet, and Pakistan. It became a melting pot of goods, ideas, languages, and traditions that we can still see the remnants of today. Of the many products exported throughout India, China, and the Persian empire from this harsh land were ponies, apricots, pasm (the wool used to make the famous Kashmiri Pashmina/cashmere shawls), and salt from neighboring areas in western Tibet. It became an important cultural center, embracing the Muslim and Buddhist faiths of the traders who settled there, and influenced by Tibetan, Indian, Arabic, and Persian arts. Despite being a very harsh localle of altitudes starting at 11,000 ft, extreme temperatures and seemingly infertile sands, the Ladakhis developed an advanced irrigation system allowing them to live and sustain themselves in some of the most difficult landscapes on earth. Although Ladakh shares a common religious and cultural heritage with Tibetans, and were often alied with Central Tibet throughout the ages, Ladakh has is a unique culture and language of it's own. Finally, though some romantically call Ladakh the "Last Shangri-la" and "Little Tibet," and though there are many relics of the past that make it seem like you're traveling back in time, remember that this is a developing land with an evolving culture influenced now, as it has been throughout the ages, by it's recent exposure to the "modern" world. You will soon see it yourself, and we will discuss all of this later, but until then, please go check out a map and locate this incredible land of shifting sandunes and sharp mountaneous pinnacles, of deep red canyons and green settled oases'.

In an effort to give you a taste of what adventures you're in for, I'll describe a bit about our (still evolving) itinerary: from our descent into the wilds of metropolitan Delhi to our ascent into Leh, Ladakh, we will fly over some spectacular territory, and then begin winding our way through narrow bazaars ripe and wafting with piquant smells of spices tickling our nostrils, and through some gnarly mountain ranges and rugged villages perched precariously on mountain edges. We will spend some time acclimatizing to our new altitude and exploring the capital, Leh, and then head west for homestays and our service project (still in the works - we will inform you as soon as we have more info). We will conclude our program with a several-day trek through soe of the most dramatic ranges you'll ever see! And then, a short flight back to Delhi and onwards...You're in for a wild ride!

And so, from the outer to the inner, I suppose I should tell you a little bit about myself. I was in your similar shoes about 11 years ago when I felt the mighty Himalaya calling my name for reasons then unknown and still unfolding. I was about your age, and found Where There Be Dragons through a fluke internet search. I chose to travel to Nepal and Tibet that summer (1999) when I was 16, and haven’t felt the extinguishment of the call to Asia since – in fact, it continues to grow with each successive journey back. I returned to the Himalayas in 2001 between high school and college with Dragons’ Tibetan Studies Semester. It was on that program that I discovered the Tibetan art of Thangka painting (Buddhist ritual painting of various deities and meditational scapes) as my ISP project, and have been continuing my study ever since.

I went to art school after my return which I enjoyed immensely, but soon discovered that I was given the incredibly gift of studying various forms of expression, but I lacked much of meaning to express. A year and a half into art school, I transferred to Naropa University where I completed my B.A. in Religious Studies with a concentration in Tibetan Buddhism. Studying Buddhism in this western setting was illuminating and a necessary accompaniment to my studies while in the very heart of it in Tibetan areas in the Himalayas. Above all, my experience at Naropa convinced me that a contemplative approach to study and life was of paramount importance to me in order to uncover those deeper truths that I always sought above all else. I learned the importance of taking responsibility for my reactions to the world rather than respond with aggression or apathy. Each moment offers us infinite opportunities to grow as compassionate beings part of the great human family. It also offers us choice, and thus total independence – the opportunity to not be victim to the storms and gales that the world throws at us, but rather respond with grace and thus transform the whole situation.

After completing University, I have dedicated the years until now to “experiments in truth” as Gandhi coined, primarily with the backdrops of Asia midwifing these explorations of inner and outer dimensions. My travels have taken me through much of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas: practicing the intricate art of Thangka painting in Kathmandu, trekking to remote meditation caves of Tibetan masters in Nepal and Tibet, riding the rails in India while sipping small cups of steaming chai, wandering through cloud forests that end in white mist and always a welcoming village to lay my head in the evening – belly full of dal bhat (Nepali rice and lentils), volunteering after the 2004 tsunami in Thailand building boats for fishermen who lost them, exploring the jungles and rivers and rice paddies of Laos, being dwarfed by the majestic Angkor ruins in Cambodia, attempting to build a wooden schooner in Th ailand with some friends with the dream of sailing around the world (hasn’t happened yet!), living in a Chinese city to check out what in the world is going on in that very complex country, completing several yoga teacher trainings in tropical Kerala and Goa (South India), and living in Kathmandu, taking many field trips out into the mountain villages to help the construction of a school in my friend’s remote village. These travels have led to numerous interactions with the great human family that have humbled me, left me on the hay laughing, made me question myself and the state of the world, frustrated me, and always kept me coming back for more. What is so wonderful is that many of these experiences have been while instructing Dragons programs (this program will be the 11th time I have instructed for WTBD). I cannot wait to see what we come across!

One again, I bow to all of you who have chosen to embark on such a journey together. Not only does it take a certain amount of courage to leave behind what is familiar and comfortable, but it takes a certain surrender to the draws of the wild, a surrender we should respect and feel honored by. What lies ahead involves a tickling of all our senses, a recognition of the brother and sisterhood between ourselves and those we will meet along the way, and a healthy dose of bliss, challenge, and great adventure all around!

We will all be in touch as our plans develop, and I look forward to seeing your (jetlagged) faces at the Delhi airport in a month! Until then, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

See you soon!
Kristin Brudevold

k.brudevold@gmail.com

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Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

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Introductions…

Kristin Brudevold,Nueva: Custom India, Summer 2010

Description

Welcome! Jullay! This is the beginning of an extraordinary unfolding together, and I so look forward to meeting you all in about a month! I just returned last night to warmer climes after spending the last month up in Ladakh with Dragons. Although I just emerged chapped and sunburnt and am still thawing out from […]

Posted On

05/28/10

Author

Kristin Brudevold

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