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Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 22:41:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: CJ in Bangkok

Hello all,

We arrived in Bangkok late last nigth after 20 hours of travel time and
two flights. We leave shortly for Bombay. It's hot and muggy and polluted here 
in bangkok, but it has a nice charm to it. We are planning to be back here many 
months from now for exploration of thailand.


cj (and Chris)

never far!

Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 22:08:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: latest cj/chris

\we arrived in |Bombay only four hours late, enduring a the four hours at
Delhi airport while they repaired the control system of the
aircraft!  Made it to our reserved hotel at 330am , slept til about 7am,
ariseing to try out Bombay on our first day there. very hot and humid, we
walked about two hours, then took a taxi back to teh hotel room, where the
air conditioner awaited us.

This is our second day, and we are doing well, it's not as hot or humid,
at least not yet!

We have been daring ourselves to eat at progressively more Indian-oriented
places, rather than western-oriented, and the food in far better in
authenticity, but less likely to be as carefully made, with regards to
health standards. \we stick to fried and cooked foods, and goooood chai
(spiced indian tea), as well as my personal favourite - Limca, an Indian
lemon soda, sort of like 7-Up.

We leave for Katmandu, Nepal on the 9th.

Anyways, back to India, which is already in progess.

regards, cj (and chris)

never far!

Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2000 21:31:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: cj/chris news

Hello all,

We leave for Katmandu, Nepal tomorrow evening - good to get out of 
which is hot, muggy and crowded and very loud and hectic.  Very few
westerners around.  we took an hour and a half train ride north, then an
hour long bus ride thru the country side of rural india, yesterday, up to
the ashram and town that \i stayed in many years ago, to visit the town,
and get out of \Bombay. The train was typically packed with people, very
hot, and so was the bus ride, but it maade for a good time for both of us,
and good experience for india travelling. We bathed in the old hot springs
at Ganeshpuri, had lunch in town and visited the Nityananda temple for
some quiet respite, as I used to do when I lived there many years back,
then headed back to Bombay.

Three hours each way, but worth it!

more from nepal,


never far!

Date: Sun, 08 Oct 2000 
here's chris's first dispatch.

Hey y'all...put together a distribution list ala travelling. We're three
days in Bombay at this point, and I must say the sheer rigour of this city
in terms of heat, population density and general pace is exhausting. The
first two days were spent attempting to acclimate to the general
environment. Personally, the heat/humidity most challenges me. Today was
nice, we took a train ~90miles outside the city to
resting place of Sri Bhagawan Nityananda, guru of Muktananda. It was nice
to finally get a taste of the Indian countryside, rolling green hills and
plains, unusual plant life.  All of this way just to see greenery! After
bathing in the hot springs outside the temple, we spent a few minutes
sitting quietly in the inner area of the Nityananda temple; beautifully
painted white and the first really CLEAN thing I've seen in India thus
far. Even a short stay in Ganeshpouri has me feeling refreshed and excited
to get out of the Bombay chaos. A festival is being celebrated tonight, in
full regalia with extremely loud and shocking firecrackers exploding just
outside the 'cafe'. Sleep ought to be and cover!!!!
Anyhow, I'd love to hear from any/all interested in emailing. Try sending
to both of my accounts: azure***, cgose***, as both accounts
are sporadically available. Best of wishes...on to khatmandu!



Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 04:34:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: Kathmandu!!!

Hello all,

Went to the Bombay airport good and early at 3:-00pm, to await the 7:30pm
flight, only to find that the flight had been postponed 8 hours until
3:30am! So since the terminal was air conditioned, and Bombay wasn't, we
decided without hesitation to stay at the damned airport, and wait it
out. Twelve hours of junk food, and reading and uncomfortable seats later,
we board a beautiful 757 bound for Nepal. A 3 hour flight that was so
smooth, I couldn't tell I was flying, except for the smallish airplane
seat and that black window next to us. I awoke several hours later from a
light sleep to a dawn at 30,000 feet that brought tears to my
eyes. Mountains rising in the distance so high, all white with snow, just
like the photos I've seen all my life - the Himalayan range. And thru
scattered clouds below us, green lush mountains and valleys unlike
anything else.

We landed shortly, and were passed thru customs with no delays, and got to
our reserved hotel room. Cleaning up a bit we headed for the streets of
Kathmandu to check out the scene. Trekking shops after trekking shops,
incense shops, clothing, brass stuff, the whole works. We are buying
clothing made locally for our trekking adventures to come, the prices are
fair, bargaining is mandatory, and we're still getting taken, but what the
heck, we're here!

We'll prolly stay a couple of days, then bus out to Pokhorra, about 80
miles west, the second prominent city in Nepal, for the start of our
mountain trekking.

We are both healthy and eager to get going, and are excited about the
upcoming adventures.

More probably soon,


never far!

chris's second posting:
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000
Subject: from katmandu!

Hey all
     Well, after a 12hour delay in Bombay, we arrived yesterday in
Katmandu with the rising sun, luminous orange-red, casting soft gold light
over the valley below; even made it worth the delay. Katmandu is pleasant
in climate, relatively cool without the humidity of Bombay. And, though
vendors tend to grossly overcharge foreigners, there is more a sense of
sociability and friendliness to the transactions. We managed to completely
equip ourselves for trekking on about $60: rain jacket, two pile/fleece,
sleeping bag, socks, windpants, long underwear, a few shirts, shorts-not
bad, though I've spent more than I thought I would. Today, I visited two
local temple, sguided by a young nepali claiming to be a student. His
student story perhaps strains credibility, but his information made the
day delightful: why Ganesha has an Elephants head, the symbology of the
Buddhist and Hindu temple structures, and the spiritual significance and
form of the cremation ceremony. I witnessed part of a cremation; the body
is mostly burned, leaving one core piece, which is then wrapped and buried
in the river, returning the body to the element of earth. One senses that
death is viewed naturally, as the cremation ceremony takes place out in
the open on the rivers edge for any and all to view without the secrecy
and solemnity that characterizes funeral rites in the states. After 13days
ceremony, family/friends even celebrate the death! My mother always said
she'd like her funeral to be a big party-could be fun. The Shiva-temple
donned typical Hindu design with tiered roof and access denied to
foreigners, though I did manage to see the blood-stained insides of a
 shrine dedicated to Kali and her voracious appetite for animal blood.
Farther down the road, the Boudha stupa-like a great big, white hershey
kiss-rose up above a square largely inhabited by Tibetan refugees. Prayer
flags oscillating in the wind, everywhere attached to the stupa, made for
a festive yet peaceful atmosphere. After circling the stupa clockwise, my
guide and me took rest on one of the stupa's tiers. In all, a nice dayI do
look forward to Pohkara and the mountains beyond, we leave day after
tomorrow via bus. Best of wishes to all of youwill write again soon!



Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 06:51:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: Pohkara and trekking

Hello all,

We went out on a rowboat together across this huge lake here, to get to
the other side , to then climb a thousand feet or so thru a forest, to get
to this huge stupa (a Buddhist shrine or temple) at the top of the
mountain.  Then as we were getting
ready to leave, a thunderstorm began, and we walked back down this
mountain thru the forest on this rocky slippery path , to get to the
boat. The we rowed back across the lake in the rain, as it was pouring
down around us!  Fun! So thru the rain, we walked to a restaurant and
sipped on vanilla milk shakes and fresh squeezed fruit juice and had
dinner while it poured down outside.

So we starting our trek in two days, on Monday - the 21 day Annapurna
circuit, with high elevation of over 15000 feet.

We have engaged a porter/guide, a young Nepali, and he will carry about 20
pounds of our gear, so we don't have to. We provide his food and board,
and he provides guidance and carries some stuff for us.

I will be off internet for these three weeks. Hopefully enjoying myself
and seeing huge mountains and stuff. Maybe one more message before we

Y'all take care,


Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 08:36:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: travel news on CJ/Cal

Hiya friends,

We just arrived back in Kathmandu, after 25 days trekking the Annapurna
Circuit, over 120 miles of rugged Himalayan trails which take one
around the Annapurna mountain range, which includes some of the
highest mountains in the world. We crossed the Thorong
La pass at 17600 feet, visited the highest lake in the world at 5200
meters (17,160 ft), and generally knocked ourselves out
everyday. Definitely the most strenous physical event of my life, and an
accomplishment that I am happy with. We did get to relax for five days at
Tatopani, near the end of the trek, spending the days soaking in the hot
springs near the hotel, and eating chocolate cake and pastries, and good
food in the orange-tree filled garden, surrounded by flowers and oranges,
and crazy trekkers of all ages from all over the world. It's a hard life,
and it was a long and difficult trek, and we're on travel mode, and
that's our excuse.

We are both healthy, more or less, and spent the last ten days after trek
in Pokhara relaxing some more, eating to regain our wieght, and hanging
out with folks we met and trekked with.

We arrived today back in Kathmandu, where we relax some more, take care 
business, and organize for our India adventure.

More soon,


 never far!

This one from chris!
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 
Subject: back in kathmandu

130miles around the annapurna massif, reaching 17600 feet in elevation ,
back down again and we've returned to Kathmandu. Physically exhausting at
times but well worth the effort, I'd do it again in a heartbeat; belittled
by towering peaks, never have I seen such a blue depth of sky-so vast and
expansive. So much occurs on any given day that it's difficult to transmit
a really comprehensive sense of the experience, yet certain days stand
out. From lush tropical terrain, the trail circles upward through low
alpine forestm then a high dessert similair in character to the
descriptions I've heard of the Tibetan plateau.  The week surrounding our
hike to, in and around Manang (3500meters) stands out most vividly in my
recollection. Taking the high path from lower Pisang (near the tree line)
up along the valley wall opposite the Annapurna massif left one breathless
as the morning sun pierced the cloud cover illuminating the snowblown and
blinding whiteness of the Annapurna peaks. From certain vantages, the
sheer immensity of the peaks cast ones sense of space and perspective into
a dervish of awe and wonder...perhaps just the altitude, perhaps not.  One
day, my porter  (Hira, a Magar who lives near  Dhaulagiri) and I ventured
out of Manang in search of a certain cave outside Braka (south of Manang
15minutes walk) touted as one of the retreat caves of the tibetan saint
and poet Milarepa. Hearing the cave was a few hours walk up towards
Annapurna 3, we set out with a few candy bars and some water. Upwards,
trailing through abandoned gompas and houses, the sign pointed onwards.
Up, Up, Up....we likely scaled a good 1000meters before reaching the top
of the trail...which ended abruptly spilling into a high alipine meadow.
An abandoned gompa with the ubiquitous prayer flags strewn from unlikely
sheers in every direction divulged no hint of any nearby cave. So, up we
continued as the alpine field ceded to bits of strewn boulder and rough
stone. My porter walking with typical gait, lightfooted and sure of step
continued up and up ahead of me until his figure vanished over the
hillside. Suddenly, I perceived the visceral hum of total and complete
solitude and silence; dropping to the ground, my whole body felt like one
vibrating smile...and I wasn't sure whether I should cry or I
cried (just a lil' bit). After basking in the quiet, I pulled myself off
the ground and continued upwards hoping that the false tops might reach
completion...finally, the figure of my porter sitting on a rock at the
base of Annapurna 3 brought cheer to my heart and calm to my eyes. Joining
him, I pulled out the two candy bars I brought and together we munched...I
must say, the best candybar of my entire life (mounds, if anyone cares to
know). The preternatural glow of the sunlight off the Annapurna glacier no
doubt deepened my enjoyment. A brisk wind down the mountainside and 
porter in his typically stunted english commented 'oooohhhh...cold!'.
Something in the way he said it, and the both of us were besides ourselves
with laughter...funny the things that need no saying to be heard. Anyhow,
I've sort of ran off a bit with that lil' aside...a bit tired, more to
come in the future (after sleep!)

Much Love,



Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 
Subject: pt. 2 from katmandu

     cjay feels a bit under the weather this evening, so a little email is
perhaps in order. Last I wrote, my porter and I stood mouths agape at the
base of Annapurna 3. Well, retracing our steps backward down the hillside
and visiting the assorted meditation huts built into the cliffs skirting
our descent, we never actually found the Milarepa cave. However, the sun,
blue sky and fresh air left little to be desired. In the days that
followed our little adventure, my porter and I frequently joked about our
failed attempt at the mythic and ever-absent Milarepa cave.
     The days surrounding that experience attest to the beauty of the
Manang area; picturesque views of the Annapurna range, glaciers, frozen
lakes etc. After a few days in Manang, we ventured up to the world's
highest lake (Tilicho at 5200m) with an Australian couple we befriended. A
four-day detour off the main path, the way to the lake was cold and
physically trying but wholly worth the effort. A glacial, high mountain
lake of the most beautiful blue-green color, the memory of walking down
from the viewpoint to touch the water stands out as another highlight of
the trek. Bending down at the water edge, I was again struck by that
uncanny sense of solitude and silence that Himalayan immensity seems to
embody. Something in the clarity of the water, the depth of the sky and
the pristine beauty of the surroundings tonifies the soul; such a shame
the pace at which the remoteness of such beauty is vanishing. Gazing up at
the stars that night, I wondered if my children would ever know such
deeply healing skies; there really is something not fully human about
city-life. Aside from that, the Thurong pass at 17599feet was beautiful,
an accomplishment, but strangely anti-climatic; something about the
motivation to 'get over the pass' leaves you sort of wondering what the
hurry was all about, especially when you're on the other side. Anyhow,
after the pass, our trek felt finished; we spent 5 days bathing in a
hotspring a couple days walk from Muktinath (just over the pass), and back
to Pohkara. Aside from a respiratory infection and a nasty case of food
poisoning, my health has been good and I look forward to India. After a
flight around Everest our itenerary takes us from here in katmandu to the
various Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the following order: lumbini,
kapilavastu, kushinagar, sravasti, vaishali, nalanda, rajgir, patna,
bodhgaya, varanasi ending in sarnath. At this point, I'm raring to go!

Much love and will keep y'all updated as chance affords.


Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 
Subject: thanksgiving in nepal (fwd)

Thanksgivng greetings to all from Kathmandu Nepal. We will probably have
the usual interesting somewhat-Indian-like delicacies here for dinner
tonight, basically good food, but getting a bit boring, having somewhat
given up on the psuedo-western varieties of 'pizza', 'lasagne', and other
interesting attempts to satisfy the western pallette. There is no turkey
dinner offered here - now that would be interesting - something like
Nepalise duck or chicken might work.

ANyway, enough babbling,

regards from nepal


Subject: cj/chris travel news (fwd)
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 21:34:37 -0800 (PST) 

Hello all,

We are heading out of Kathmandu tomorrow ( thursday morning) for 
Nepal, then out of Nepal into India several days after.

Prolly wont be any Internet access for several weeks.

We will be following the footsteps of the Buddha for several weeks,
visiting various important Buddhist shrines and sites. We are hoping to
possibly take a 10 day retreat in Bhod Gaya, the final resting place
of the Buddha, and  we are also hoping to possibly be in the presence of
the Dalia Lama if and when he visits Bhod Gaya in January. That would be a
high point of our travels.

Then either on to Varanasi and Calcutta, or down to south india.

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 19:06:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: cj's adventures

Hello from Varanasi, India...(though I am long since gone by now),

Varanasi Views, 19 - 23 Dec 2000:

The burning ghats... where devout Hindus come to die, and be cremated. The
burning platforms, or ghats, lie along the Ganges river, where the ashes
are scattered after the burning.

I am walking north along the rivers edge, the river to my right, in a
contemplative mood. I am looking for the burning ghats, with a strange
mixture of curiosity and fear. The waters are filthy, yet people are from
children to adults are bathing, washing clothes, and playing at the river
bank. Several hundred meters north of the 'main ghat', I notice smoke
rising from the shore. I continue onward. Rounding a sharp bend, past an
old concrete and brick structure, I am suddenly immersed in a clearly
all-Indian scene. I am the only westerner here, and before me, a half
dozen piles are in various stages of burning, from raging flames, to
smoldering ashes. An old man leads me to a secluded vantage point above
the nearby ghat, indicating to me that there is no photography allowed.
I suddenly feel very isolated and alone, watching the earie scene below
and directly in front of me. Small groups of mourners surround each pile,
while between and around them, a stream of wood carriers and fire tenders
scurry about, avoiding the large black water buffalos that wander about,
oblivious to the activity around them.

The bodies, wrapped in a gold-plated foil, with garlands of marigolds
draped across, are tied to two bamboo poles. They are first dipped into
the river as a blessing, and then carried to a wood pile that has been
carefully built by a worker, carefully stacking the various sizes of logs
- the wood costs 120 rupees per Kilogram.

The body is laid onto the finished pile, and relatives scatter sandlewood
powder and clarified butter over the form. A holy man arrives with a swath
of straw, within it burns a chunk of coal taken from an eternal flame,
kept buring in a nearby temple. He sets it into the base of the pyre,and
in minutes, it is aflame.

Nearby, a ghat worker shoves a long bamboo pole into a smoldering pyre,
lifting and shifting an unmistakable form of a ribcage and attached skull,
in an effort to insure better burning.

On the pile nearest me, a foot sticks out of a flaming inferno. The flesh
is buring off of the leg. It shifts slightly, then falls away, out of

I am still the only westerner in this scene, and I watch the whole thing
quite dispassionately at first. I suddenly become aware of my thoughts,
and my problems, and that I am standing here, unmoving for the last hour,
taking all this in. We receive these bodies for an indefinite time on this
earth, then we are plucked from them. My important relationships whirl
through my head, evoking a stream of feelings - pain, joy, regret.

After an hour or so, I check my watch - I am to meet someone at the
restaurant about a half-hours walk north, and must leave. Varanasi is an
interesting and intense experience,and I leave pondering things.

I have been living in Sarnath this last week (just outside of Varanasi),
the place where the Buddha gave his first sermon to his first set of
disciples. I have been visiting the newly finished and extraordinarily
beautiful new Tibetan temple every morning, sitting for an hour for
meditation, and then spending some time outside, on the lawn, speaking
with Tibetan monks. I leave for Bodh Gaya tomorrow morning (24 Dec 2000),
and am expecting to do a 10 day silent retreat at one of the various
meditation centers there. I am told there is internet service there,and
will send this from there if I can.

I am now in Bodh Gaya, signed up for a 28 day silent meditation
retreat. Me and chris split up a while ago to try india out alone. The
space has been really good for both of us - meeting folks and dealing with
teh intensity of this place alone is a real growing experience. We wwill
get back together in a month or so. Chris is having his own adventures,
and is doing very well, as am I.

I will be out of contact until first week february. Have a great new year
everybody.  I may get out another post before the retreat begins on Jan 7.

cheers, cj(cal)

never far!

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 06:08:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: Our journeys thus far

I finished 16 days of retreat on 23 January, which consisted of two 8 day
retreats, each of eleven hours a day of both silent meditation in the main
hall, and walking meditation in the beautiful gardens and grounds of the
Thai Temple monastery, there in Bodh Gaya, rural India.

To speak of the effect of doing a Vipassana retreat is very difficult, as
the experiences are constantly changing, the feelings and emotions often
overpowering, and the ultimate results are impossible to predict.

There were about 80 westerners from around the world in attendance at
these retreats, most of them taking both sections. The age range was from
late-teens to late 50's, mostly mid-twenties, with several people in their
70s and 80s. In the silence-breaking group meetings which were held every
other day, all retreatants were reporting similar experiences of high
intensity and immense depth.

Coming out of this serene and beautiful environment, back into the
full-blown intensity of India just beyond the gates, I recall thinking
that it would be a simple re-integration back into the small town which
has become almost a home in which I have been living for over a month. It
wasn't to be, and a very-long-distance phone call to young Luke (chris) in
south India was necessary to help re-ground me for the grueling trip down
south. The retreats were both emotionally intense and deeply profound in
effect. The two intrepid travelers will be regrouping together on 31
January, after six weeks apart, each of us doing our own thing here in
this India.

The Tibetan Buddhist festivals which take place every January there fill
the town with the beautiful colors of the robes of all of the various
sects of Tibetan Buddhists. The main temple becomes an incredible
spectacle of tens of thousands of lit candles every night, while all day,
the sounds of the chants and Tibetan long horns, trumpets, drums and gongs
permeate the town. Everyday, the town has become more and more colorful,
with huge Tibetan decorations going up all around the main temple, and out
into the roadways and street sides.

Yesterday, 24 Jan, I left Bodh Gaya around four PM, riding the 13
kilometers in a three wheeled auto-rickshaw, to Gaya Junction train
station to wait for the 8:43PM Jodhpur Express, which takes ten hours to
reach Calcutta. The driver was a young daredevil with a good sense of
humour, daring the oncoming trucks to the last second, and treating me to
the thrill of Indian driving at its best.

The train came on time, and this is the description I mailed to chris
earlier today -
The train ride was awesome! Jumped onto a coach, they were all 2nd class
sleepers on the Jodhpur Express. Got shuffled into another car by the
crowd (ie, the universe is carrying me along here). It's the usual
madness, but I am keeping my cool, and just hanging out with it. Before I
know it, I'm in the aisle of this quieter car, and the crowds settle out.

I get my pack into compact mode ( the arms zippered up), take my jacket
off and dump it inot the pack, and now I'm comfortable. Just opposite me,
an entire family is having an orderly dinner of home cooked food - you
know the scene. I'm just enjoying breathing and being the westerner
in the aisle. They look up at me, and motion me to sit, space appears out
of nowhere, and I'm the dinner guest. They're returning from Rajastan -
Jaipur, to Calcutta. He speaks good English, and , and before you can
count to three, we're talking away, asking each other all those cultural
whys and wherefors. So now I know why they throw the garbage out all 
the place, but they sweep up India each morning, moving it all three feet
to the left every morning. And the recent hundred year history of India
from an Indian's point of view. And they know everything they wanted to
know about Americans, at least from the cj point of view.

So the ten hours flew by, they tossed me into their cab, dropped me off at
Sudder St, and wouldnt let me pay my share of the fair.

 So I am now here in Calcutta, settled into a nice room in the tourist
section, with this fast Internet connection and lots of good Indian food,
and the excitement of a fast-moving large Indian city around me. I have
three days here to get the most recent three rolls of film developed
[pictures from our last days together in Nepal, at the Buddhist shrine at
Lumbini, and other good stuff, including scenes in Kathmandu, and probably
some great shots of young Luke and myself, and to go looking in the
world's best Indian classical musical instrument stores for a possible
tamboura for me, and a sitar for chris (if we are serious about purchases,
we'll be back here in several months).

Chris has been studying yoga at the Sivananda Ashram down there for
several weeks, and he is getting really good, he's a natural for it, and
is very happy and enthusiastic about it.

Our hair has grown out (unless chris has cut his back, down there in hot
and beautiful south India), and he now sports a goatee and mustache,
looking really good and very sophisticated. My hair has grown out to where
I used to have it twenty years ago - semi-afro, and those damned gray
hairs are beginning an even harder attack on my ego. Life! Can't live with
it, can't live without it!

So the two-day train ride to Trivandrum, at the southmost tip of India,
leaves Calcutta at 10:30PM, Sunday evening, the 28th of Jan. I'll be
riding reserved seat in the lower 2nd class cars, with all of the rest of
india that wants to get to south India on this train. I could have taken
the 1st class choice, but I find I prefer the real India, with the real
Indians, to the ultra-rich and conservative ones I would ride with in the
high-price car. The difference in the fares is 16 dollars US compared to
over 50 dollars US, but that isnt the reason anyway.

So, that's the report for now, more some other time. Our plans are to tour
south india together and probably get up to the northmost end of India in
early March, to see His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, in his annual public
appearances in his home town of Daramsala.

love and best wishes to all, cj
never far!

Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 09:43:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: Undisclosed recipients:  ;
Subject: CJ travels

More travels-

Chris loves the Indian method of eating -  no utensils. Just dig in with
your right hand!

Our style of traveling:
The priorities:
  One auto-everything Pentax MZ-30 camera with wide-range lens.

One SONY CD player, lots of new CDs bought on travels, with booster 
to run two headsets, plus a pair of tiny SONY self-powered
speakers for room listening.

One rather large handbag filled with at least 2 dozen different
varieties of incense,

An ever-growing collection of the best quality essential oils,
for smelling good,

An assortment of 'SpiceDrops' dropper bottles of various spice
concentrates useful for turning an ordinary plain cup of
milk-tea into great tasting masala-chai (Indian spice-tea),
with or without saffron.

There's more, but those are the immediate priorities. This doesn't
mention our ever-changing wardrobes, as we leave old clothes behind,
picking up new, more appropriate clothing along the way.

We are currently touring around South India, in the state of Kerala.
Tomorrow, we head inland again, leaving the beach resorts and great
southern foods behind, as we gradually zig-zag our way northwards
over the course of the next month, arriving eventually in the first
week of March, at Daramsala, in the northmost state of Himal Pradesh.
Daramsala is a large and popular Tibetan settlement, and the permanent
residence of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. He will be giving public
teachings and audiences in the time that we will be there, and
it will be one of my personal objectives to attend some of these
occasions and be in his presence.

Travelers we've met along the way describe Daramsala as 'posh', and very
western-comfortable. By the time we arrive there, we'll be ready for some
western comfort.

Daramsala is located in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas,
so we will be in the high mountains again, surrounded by impressive
scenery once more, somewhat like Nepal, I imagine. A great contrast
to the tropical beaches of south India.

My most important reason for traveling is for new experiences, for
the enrichment of my life. For 30 years, I have listened to the words
of a Crosby-Stills-and-Nash song, with the phrase ' underneath an orange
tree',  attaching no particular importance to this phrase. Until
commencing travel, I have never sat under an orange tree, or picked an
orange from a tree. Relaxing in the garden of a lodge deep in the
western Annapurna range of Nepal, during our trek, a garden area
studded with blooming rhododendron and orange trees brimming
with ripe fruit brings a new experience to that song lyric, as we
sat there munching on fresh-picked oranges.

Unique and interesting experiences happen here so often that it
is almost impossible to digest them, let alone write them down.
Chris and I are careening down a narrow, crowded street in Cochin,
heading the several miles through town towards 'Jew Town', an
old Jewish settlement, to stock up on exotic spices and oils, in one of
those 3-wheeled noisy vehicles known as an auto-rickshaw, driven
in a manner that would make headline news in any American city once
the local police pulled us over. Peering out of the vehicle, my
hungry eyes attempt to soak up the contents of every small and
large shop, each one filled with strange and colorful objects, as
we speed by. People of all descriptions, colorfully dressed,
crowd the streets, while drably-dressed workers busily load
intricately and brightly painted trucks with large sacks. The
occasional beggar sits by the side of the road, and the hot sun
beats down on everything with equal intensity.

My experience of all these things is usually that of amazement and
wonder, and I am barely capable of taking it all in, to my
amusement. The human element of travel evokes the full range
of emotional reactions, as everything from rich finery to abject
poverty passes through my range.

We leave Cochin tomorrow on the 9th of February for a local mountain
resort to escape the heat here, and then inland towards Mysore,
Hampi, and other  places of interest.

Regards to all,

cj (Cal, etc.)

Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 07:26:35 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: cj's  travels

From Bangalore,

Bangalore is the nearest equivalent to India's silicon
valley, with a huge
software industry, and lots of young Indians producing world-class
software products, so they tell me. It is very modern here on Brigade
Street, where there is in the space of two blocks, a Pizza Hut, a
Dominoes Pizza, and the local version, where we chose to eat - Pizza

We are enroute towards Dharamsala, in northmost India, where His Holiness,
The Dalai Lama resides. We are threading our way thru central India,
having spent the last two and a half days spending too much money in
Mysore, where the sandlewood products and the sandlewood oil comes
from. Also all the other wierd and rare and expensive oils we purchased
here came from. Our hotel room always smells beautifully scented one way
or the other.

We are headed to Hampi tonight, on a overnight train from here in
Bangalore. A seven hour trip, short by recent standards! That two day
train ride was interesting indeed.

We left Cochin last week, an Indian paradise, and headed for beautiful
Munnar, 4500 feet up in the Western Ghats (mountains), where we spent
three beautiful days roaming in the tea plantations, living in this simple
yet tastefully appointed Indian-run guest house, where the owner calls
himself Roy Hastings! He loves westerners, and treated us and the other
ones there very hospitably.

I had never seen tea growing before, or cardamom (the expensive
spice) either. Well, we roamed thru thousands of acres of tea, literally
mountains after mountains, all meticulously planted with tea plants. THey
are very much like grape plants, and are carefully grown and trimmed just
like grape plants are. They are clearly very old plants, and are
hand-picked by Indian women who live in settlements right on the
plantations. All of the plantations we saw are owned by the huge Indian
conglomerate, TATA Ltd, which builds all of India's cars and vans, adn
many of its trucks and buses.

Cardomom is an amazing plant. When we began walking through a plantation
on the second days walk, we were aware that we were going to pass a
cardomom plantation, but neither of us had known what it looks like. I
imagined a bush; chris imagined it was that wierd stalk-like plant we were
passing as we walked. No way! Cardomom comes in these little pods, I
said. We chanced upon one of the stalklike plant close by. I said, it
couldn't be cardomom, where would the pods be? Chris looked down at the
base of the plant, where these tubors were growing out of the base of this
ten foot high plant with long, thin, leaves that emerge in all directions
from near the base, and said - I see the product!  I bent down, and sure
enough, there were familiar looking pods. I broke one open, and tasted a
seed. Serious cardomom! So we know what it looks like now.

From Munnar, we traveled a heavy travel day consisting of four buses, and
lasting fourteen hours total, whereupon we ended up in a large hotel in
Mysore, complete with hot water shower (from 5am to 11am only) in the
attached private bath.

We left Mysore this morning, and I am typing this in Bangalore, off the
cuff. In an hour or so, we should be on a train headed for arrival in
Hampi tomorrow morning. Hampi attracts tourist to its beautiful and
ancient ruins. We have lots of film, and we are ready.

Regards to all,

cj (cal,etc)

never far!

Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 01:33:05 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: CJ travel photos online

Hello all,

We traveled at hectic pace for six days straight, mostly on trains,
stopping for a day at the beautiful and amazing Ellora Caves, and arrived
ontime, at Dharamsala, up in the mountains of NW India.

We had some interesting adventures on the way, not all pleasant, but here
we are, safe and fairly sound. We have been relaxing and just taking it

We have just placed some photos online, for your viewing. You can find
them at:

Enjoy! More news at a later time. We are both healthy and in great
spirits, and none the worse for the traveling, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama 
is looking great, at his daily teachings.

regards, cj

never far!

Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 20:10:26 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: more pictures!

Hello all,

A bunch more shots  are up at:

We leave Dharamsala and India next week, stopping in Delhi around the
April 3rd, and flying probably 6 April to Bangkok, Thailand.

We are both ready and eager to leave, having both enjoyed and put up with
India for over three and a half months. We plan on being in Bangkok only
several days, then heading for the northern areas, to visit monastaries
and do some site-seeing.

regards, cj

Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 20:04:43 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: Bangkok!

Hello all,

After four months of travel in India, we left last evening from Delhi, and
arrived in Bangkok, later that evening. It's hotter than hell here, and
also humid, but that's life. It's also clean, and very western, and very

just letting you all know we are here.

regards, cj

Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 05:08:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: India wrap-up from CJ

We left India on 6 April, bound for Bangkok, Thailand. We spent almost
four months in India, traveling and exploring and sight-seeing. Traveling
India was an intense experience for both of us, as it tests one's physical
and emotional endurance in many ways. India is always directly in your
face from the minute you walk out of the airport terminal building until
you  enter it again. There is very little peace externally;
one must contact peace within oneself to maintain a good relationship with
travel in India. And it is constantly intense, bombarding all senses
constantly - it never stops, not even at night.  But it is
a valuable growth experience and it teaches one alot about oneself.

We spoke with an Australian couple who'd been traveling India for eight
years - they had a joke which I still get a kick out of: What does INDIA
stand for? - I'll Never Do It Again! I don't know if that is my personal
opinion at this point, but it gets the point across well!

We saw a lot of India, and visited many interesting and beautiful places,
met many interesting travelers on the way, and had a wide range of
interesting experiences, some pretty darn intense. We traveled separately
for about six weeks at one point - probably one of the most rewarding
parts of our journey so far. You really get to see what you put out come
back immediately!

Onward to Thailand, another culture, little or no English outside of
Bangkok, and who knows  what!!!

More soon from Thailand,

regards, cj
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 20:06:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: thailand letter, from cj

Hello all,

* * * * *
Ko Chang (Kho Chang):

Donning our snorkels and masks, we  jump overboard from the small
boat that has brought a group of us to a tiny coral attol in the Gulf of
Thailand into the bright turquoise-blue, 85-degree-warm sea water.
I find myself swimming in a tropical fish aquarium - all around me
are exotic and colorful fish of all varieties, swimming around with
me, totally unafraid of my presence. Diving down, I am in a wonder-
land of color, as coral shapes dotted with orange, yellow, and blue
sea creatures wave lazily in the undersea currents. Large clams
nestle into the coral forms, each with beautiful wide lips of purples
and blues, large sea slugs crawling along the sea bed, and thousands
of colorful fish... I swim through schools of iredescent blue fish,
multi-colored blue-red-green fish, yellow and black-striped angelfish, and
long, thin silver fish with long noses - dozens of varieties of tropical
fish. The water is clear and bright blue everywhere. Large black sea
anemones with bright glowing blue eyes stare up, waving their spines
as I swim by.

Arriving back on the island in the evening, we dine on fresh sea bass,
cooked right on the beach, and served with fresh local vegetables and
rice - a vast difference from travel in India!

Ko Wai (Kho Wai):

It's near midnight on a hot, humid, moonless night, I'm floating in the
dark about one hundred feet from the shore of the white sand beach
at Ko Wai, in 85 degree warm ocean water. The onshore lights have
gone out for the night - the generator runs for several hours each
night at the island resort we are staying at - and I'm looking at a
magnificent phenomenon. As I wave my hands through the warm
water, clouds of bright blue diamonds appear, then fade away. A
splash of my feet below me spawns clouds of light in the dark sea
below. When I dive under with my snorkel and mask, I am swimming
through a warm dark universe of sparkling diamonds everywhere I move...

* * * * *

We left Bangkok on the 12th of April, after exploring for a week,
headed for the large resort island of Ko Chang, off the coast of
Thailand, looking for a place to relax for a week or two, before
heading inland.

Arriving on Ko Chang, we proceeded down the west coast, looking
for our island paradise. We found several nice spots, but, on a
hunch from Chris, we rented a motorbike, and headed to the small
town of Bangbao at the southmost end of the single-lane road cut
through the jungle. There we discovered the Bangbao Paradise
Lodge, a tiny but very hospitable hotel built out over the small bay,
and our two very friendly hosts, who proceeded to help us learn some
Thai over the course of a very pleasant week there. From there, we
headed to Ko Wai, to the Paradise Lodge KoWai, where we spent 8
very relaxed days snorkelling, swimming, and eating the great food
there. The island of Ko Wai is the last minimally-developed island
left in the Gulf of Thailand. There are only two small bungalow lodges
on Ko Wai, and it is very quiet and beautiful there. We discovered it
while on a snorkelling day-tour boat ride from the tiny town of Bangbao
on Ko Chang.

Returning from Ko Wai, we spent another three days with our
gracious hosts at Bangbao, then headed back to Bangkok to plan
our next move. Four days later, we headed out by bus to
Kanchanaburi, a small town built near the bridge on the river Kwai,
where the wartime drama occurred. We spent four days there sight-
seeing on rented motorcycles, driving out 40 miles to the Erawan
National Park to swim in the beautiful waterfalls one day, another
day we drove out to another park and spent an hour underground
being guided through a deep limestone cave by candlelight and

Leaving Kanchanaburi, we headed north by bus to Lopburi, where
we rested for several days, relaxing on the grounds of the old palace
there, then took the train to Chaing Mai, where we have been staying
for the last week and a half. We will be leaving here in several days
to arrive at a monastery in North East Thailand, where we will stay
for several days. I will probably be leaving for Bangkok at this point,
while Chris stays on for a month or more. I will probably head back
to San Francisco after several weeks. My plans in the states are
not certain, but I am probably going to head east to visit friends
and family for a month or so, then head back to San Francisco. I
may return to Thailand for a while as well.

Pictures from our Thailand travels will be posted in the near future.

regards, cj

never far!

Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 18:48:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: cj returning home

Hello all,

I will be returning to San Francisco on 5th of June. Plans are to catch up
with business there, visit friends, and then visit friends in the LA
area. Afterwards, I wish to travel east to visit friends in midwest and
then on the east coast.

More soon,

regards, cj

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 19:27:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: cj/chris's travel site is ready!

CJ here...

I arrived back belatedly (traveling is good) in San Francisco on the 5th
of June, to take care of affairs and such, while Chris headed north from
Bangkok to a forest monastery in NE Thailand, as planned.

Chris and I want to welcome you all here to our travel website which is
at URL:

It's really quite large, so it will only be up for several months
(expensive!); if someone has a server to host it in the future, let me
know at cjay[(at)]

We hope you enjoy this offering of our travels and adventures.

regards, cj

never far!

Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2001 08:09:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: cj's (cal's) plans to come

Hello all,

There's a heck of a lot of you all on this list, now. Thanks for all the
support and interest. Here's a rundown on how we are doing, and my plans,
which include more travel. First, if anyone doesn't wish to be on this
list any longer, lemmeee know, and I'll remove you.

Okay, here's what's been happening thru June, July, and August:

I returned home to SF, and began storing, selling and giving away
everything that me and chris owned, in the effort to simplify life, and
let go of most things. In the meantime, chris is still over in Thailand,
and has had some health problems, resulting in a minor operation in
Bangkok last month. He's doing much better and has recovered well, and
just arrived in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, to rest, recover from
his month in Bangkok, the operation, and life in general. His plans now
include studying Tai Chi, advanced yoga, and teaching English.

I am leaving San Francisco today for a Buddhist monastery in northern
california, to check out the lifestyle, speak to the abbots, and
participate in the activities there for 2 - 10 days. This monastery
follows the Thai Forest tradition of Theravadan practice, and is closely
associated with the many other monasteries around the world that are also
involved with this tradition.

After this visit, my plans are to travel south to a similar monastery
outside of San Diego, in the mountains just NE of that city. I will
probably stay there for two weeks, at which point, I am bound for Oklahoma
to visit friends for several weeks, or until we can't stand each other any
longer, then on to New York to visit family, then on to Florida to visit
my sister and her family for a while.

So for all the Okies on this list, that means last week Sept, or first
week Oct.

Those are the intended plans, we'll see what happens. One never knows
about plans when one is traveling. We found that out very quickly
overseas this past year.

Speaking of which, our travel site, with all of its 500 plus images, has
moved to a no-cost location, along with my gallery of large-format desert
photography. Many thanks to Tim and Ed, on this list, who made possible
the site's new home, as it was too expensive to keep it going where it

If you missed it, or want to see these sites again, go to:

for the travel site, and

for the photo gallery.

I will be out of email contact for about 10 days, so you'all take care and
I'll report on what's going on in the near future.

Be well,

cj (cal, etc)

never far!

Date: Sat, 9 Mar 2002 16:20:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Cal Grant <cjay***>
To: cj's travel news:  ;
Subject: cj/cal's travel news

Hello all,

It's been a long time since my last update on my 'travels', and alot of
water has gone under the bridge since then. An update, then what is
going on. First, if anyone no longer wishes to receive my posts, lemmee
know and we'll remove you from the list.

My last posting to this list of friends was on 4 September,
2001, when I left San Francisco and traveled up to the Abhayagiri Buddhist
monastery about 3 hours north of SF. I stayed there for a week, then
traveled south to Santa Barbara, where I relaxed for 6 days, visiting with
a good friend. I then drove to another Buddhist monastery, Metta Forest
Monastery, up in the mountains north of Escondido, where I went on a two
week personal retreat, joining in with the other residents for dinners and

Both of these monasteries follow the disciplines of the Forest
monastic tradition of Theravadan Buddhism, as practiced in Thailand for
the last 2000 or so years. My experiences at these monasteries were
positive and noticeably uplifting, the abbotts at both places were
wonderful and the atmospheres, though quite different, were very
conducive to doing inner study.

After two weeks, I left Metta, and traveled to Oklahoma, where I
visited with my old friends in Norman and Oklahoma City. It was about the
time I left Metta that Chris flew back from Thailand, after four months
alone there. He flew out to Oklahoma for a week for a reunion before I
headed east, then returned to California to find us a place to live.

I visited friends and parents in Long Island, NY for a week and a half,
then drove down to Florida, where I stayed for a month with my sister and
her family. I then drove back thru Oklahoma City, taking a break for a
week, then drove to southern California, to the small town of Encinitas, a
beach community north of San Diego, where we have been living since

At the end of March, Chris is going to leave for the midwest, where he
will be going back to college, studying pre-med, for a hopeful career in
medicine. At the same time, I will be entering the Metta forest monastery
for a year, where I will part of the lay community, and in training for
the monastic order there. At the end of the year, a decision will be made
as to my continuation into ordination.

I will have access to email several times a month, and my email address
will change at end of March from the cjay((at)) to the following:


although email addressed to my original address WILL be forwarded as well.

I expect to post occasionally to this list over the course of this next
year, to let folks know how I am doing. I hope everyone is doing well,
and getting ready for spring!

Some info on the two monasteries I visited:

The folks at Abhayagiri, in Northern Cal,  are very sociable and outgoing,
and there is a sense of applied Buddhism in real contact with a large and
very enthusiastic lay community, living both far and nearby the
monastery. I urge anyone in the Bay area who's interested in such matters
to visit their website -

and drive up there for a day's visit.

At Metta Forest Monastery,

the monks are not generally in contact with the
lay community, except at the dinner, and the abbot is available at the
dinner, and later in the day at the early-evening daily meeting. Metta is
supported primarily by a very large Thai community, with a sprinkling of
westerners. Metta is very isolated, though it can be reached easily from
anywhere in the San Diego area in an hour or so.

The abbots Ajan Amaro and Ajan Passano, at Abhayagiri, have a long history
of traditional practice, as well as a large following of westerners.

The abbot at Metta, Thanissaro ('Ajan Geoff'), has written many fine and
articulate papers, and has translated many Buddhist texts and scriptures,
many of which may be found online at -

The general home page for this site is -

Visitors are always welcomed at both monasteries, and interested folks
should check out the web sites before going, in order to familiarize
themselves with schedules, etc.