Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Champagne Bay, Vanuatu - A Memory

Champagne Bay is on the island of Espiritu Santo in the nation of Vanuatu. Save for basic toilet facilities, there is no hotel or any sort of accommodations on the beach,The sand is powdery white and the  beach inclines into the ocean ever so  gently. Dense stands of old-growth trees and coconut palms ring the turqouise waters. The ni-Vanuatu (locals) sell cheap, live crabs and lobster that they'll boil for you with a smile.
Lobster in hand and Tusker beer on the other, you can't help but surrender your senses to this breath-taking confluence of sun, sand, sea and  South Pacific  scenery. And the ni-Vanuatu has got to be some of the friendliest, most uncomplicated, un-pushiest people on earth.
I’ve heard some company was going to build a resort  club here. Fly, sail or swim  there if you can before it disappears under a forest of cabanas and stilt-houses.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reading Peter Matthiessen's "The Snow Leopard"

The Snow LeopardThe Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's  so uncanny how Peter Matthiessen's hiking journey through the Dolpo region in Nepal seems to mirror my own hike on the Inca Trail in Peru. Even his initial doubts about going on the hike into the unknown in search of the elusive snow leopard rings true with me when he wrote these words: " On the calamitous weather, the journey was losing all reality, and the warm smile of a pretty tourist at the hotel desk unsettled me; where did I imagine I was going, where and why?" The uncertainty of the journey,the  grandeur of the mountains, the bad weather, the hardy porters, the poverty one encounters on the outskirts of the wilderness: Peter experienced them all, and so did I. I haven't finished the book yet but I can already vividly recall the pounding in my feet and the heaving of my lungs as I went up and down those Andean ridges and the ecstatic feeling I had when I reached the highest point of the trail. Peter never saw the snow leopard, but entermeshing his journey with Buddhist contemplation, he achieved something else: a sort of Zen oneness with nature. I can totally relate to that. This book is for anyone who seeks a meaning beyond the platitudes of religion and materialism. Peter seems to be telling us that every life is a journey in search of the snow leopard. which we may never even get a glimpse of, but a journey worth taking nonetheless.

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