All Change! – from MUN to LON to SFO

My God, where to start?

Last time I blogged anything significant was over a month ago, so that’s a lot to catch up on. Thankfully, the last 4 weeks of my karma yoga went pretty much the same as the first 4 weeks – lots of getting up early, working all day, cooking food, and waiting for the time I could head off traveling – with the exception of the final week where things got a bit crazy.

The hotel by the ashram closed for renovations, so all the yoga guests were staying with the ashram for a while. I suddenly went from cooking for 14-18 people to cooking for 40-45 people in one fell swoop. And cooking for that many people makes a big difference let me tell you. Changes in recipes, cooking time, prep time, all has to be taken into consideration. I’ll be honest, I was glad it was only for my last week, and when it came time to go I was more than ready to get out of there.

Here’s a few pics from my final day of karma yoga. This is the last meal that I prepared, a kind of curry stew with split green dahl and brown rice.

the last supper

That’s the sort of thing I was cooking every day, dahl for protein, a grain, some vegetables, and a salad for a bit of raw. Get all those and you’ve got a balanced vegan diet.

I also made some Sivananda cookies for my last day, the ubiquitous cookies you get in the Sivananda centres around the world. They came out ok, and I even had enough mixture left over to make some giant (and one uber!) cookies for my leaving do later that day.

uber cookies, straight out the oven
 
you have been warned!

My ‘do’ was a bit of an impromptu affair. We just sat around, chatted, and had a bit of cake. I got gifts of a t-shirt and a book about Swami Sivananda, and I read from the Upanishads to get some inspiration for the journey ahead.

kicking back with the swamis

It was a nice way to bring my time at the ashram to a close. I’m glad I went there and gained the experience that I did. I’m now quite confident that I could run my own retreat centre one day – by that I mean it’s do-able, not that it’d be easy – but that is after I’ve done a bit of traveling and had a break from all the rules and all the early starts.

MUN – Munich

First stop out of the ashram was Munich for one night. I spent a couple of days with someone special, exploring the sights, having fun (and by that I mean eating lots of yummy vegan food cooked by someone else, lol) and just readjusting back to the ‘real’ world.

Here’s a few snapshots of what we got up to.

secret vegan club ;o)
 
vegan cake!
 
vegan eats in Munich

I had a really great time, and wished it could have been longer, but time waits for no man, and I had a mission to begin.

LON – London

London was crazy! I basically spent 4 days tear-arsing all over the place trying to get stuff done. I had stuff to buy for my trip, friends to see, a haircut to be had, an osteopath’s appointment to keep, my computer to get fixed, and a storage locker to visit, all of which had to happen in different parts of the city.

If I tell you that my computer got picked up on the Tuesday and didn’t get delivered back to me until half an hour before I left Friday morning, that I missed half my osteopath’s appointment because I was trying to buy a copy of Watership Down in central London, and I had to get a bike courier to pick up my jacket from the storage place because I left it there and didn’t have time to go back and get it, you can see what ‘fun’ I had, lol. It really was a mental couple of days, and part of me was glad to get on a 10 hour flight to San Francisco. There are certain aspects of London life I miss, but all the aggro isn’t one of them.

SFO – San Francisco

sunny days in san francisco

I got here a few days ago and, even with all the rain, it’s great to be here. This is a great city, nice looking, not too crazy, and the views are spectacular.

And the food! My God, the food…

surprisngly vegan diner burger, san francisco
 
This burger I had in a diner by the coast. It was vegan, which was a real bonus. In America most people tend to be vegan rather than vegetarian, if a plant based diet is the way they want to go, so you seem to get more vegan food in different places.

This bit of cake from the Loving Hut was delicious.
 
raspberry cake at the loving hut
 
Even the slightly disappointing vegan breakfast at the Red Victorian where I stayed for my first 2 nights wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

breakfast at the red victorian

I haven’t eaten this well in ages, and I’m in serious danger of putting back on the wee bit of a belly I lost while I was in the ashram. I need to keep an eye on that. Would be a shame to waste all that hard work for the sake of a few burgers and fries (and cake).

I was only in San Fran for a couple of days before heading out to Sacramento to see an old friend and his new family. I stayed on his Uncle’s strawberry farm out in the middle of nowhere,
 
the wrong side of the tracks
 
we went to visit the place where the gold rush (which pretty much made Califronia what it is today) started,
 
the chinese in the gold rush
 
and once again much delicious food was had by all, lol.
 
vegan reuben sandwich

vegan rocky road chocolate brownie
 
And now I’m back in San Francisco for another week, to do some proper sight seeing before I head off for my meditation retreat. It’s raining still, but that should clear up by the end of today, then it’s blue skies all the way. I hope so anyway, I’ve booked a trip to Alcatraz the day after.

And that’s me for now folks. Sorry for the long delay in blogging, and the need for a big catch up. Too much traveling, a lack of computer, and not enough online access make for a poor blogger. I’ll be sure to rectify that in the future.

And sorry for the lack of yoga based stuff too. I’ll be doing more of that too hopefully. After all, that’s kind of the point of this blog also, lol. To be honest, what with everything that’s been going on, I haven’t done a whole heap of sadhana recently. Did none for a few days in London, and just the most basic practice since I’ve been in California. But I’m getting better and pretty soon I’ll be trying some local classes and seeing what they’re up to. Now that I’m a bit more settled, and I’m caught up on all my stuff, I have the head space to give new things a go and see what they’re like. Keep your eyes peeled for new ‘revelations’, lol.

In the meantime, here’s a few extra pics from my travels for you to enjoy.

another world
 
trails in the sky
 
twin peaks 1
 
sunset from twin peaks (lens flare)
 
train, old sac
 
words at dusk
 
twin peaks 2

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