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Day 18 – Journey to Wutai-Shan

Took high speed train 🚊 from Beijing to Xinzhou. Then a 3 hour bus 🚌 ride to Foguang temple (The oldest temple in Asia)

It was a really quiet, peaceful and serene place. Had to climb about 30 really steep steps to get to the temple itself. Saw a 1,000 year old 🌲.

Went on another 2 hour bus 🚌 ride and arrived at about 7:30pm at the temple of the Heavenly jade emperor. We made an offering of incense sticks and received a blessing from one of the monks. The abbot of the temple allowed us to use the area where the monks meditate, for a teaching on the 6th Chakra (3rd Eye).

The abbot then invited us for snacks and we had a cultural exchange between Dawa and the Abbot. He gave us blessed Mala’s and invited us to meditate with him after breakfast 🍳 the following day. Late dinner πŸ₯˜ and off to bed.

Day 17 – Great Wall of China

Drove 90 minutes from Beijing to the Great Wall of China.Β  We ascended step by step for what must have been well over 1,000 feet on different heights and widths of steps. It was good exercise as well as amazing πŸ˜‰ views of the surrounding countryside. I got as far as they would let us go, which was fortress 12 and Kathryn made it to between fortress 11 and 12. I had great fun doing a controlled run/walk descent however my quads paid for it for the next few days. I came down in less than half the time it took to go up. Took a couple of group pictures and purchased a medal πŸ… to document the event.

Drove back to Beijing and on the way back stopped at the sites that hosted the 2008 Olympics. Birds nest, Aquatics Center, and Olympic torch holder. Dinner at the Hotel.

Day 16 – Beijing walking πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ tour

Went to Tiananmen square and took our picture in front of the Mau memorial. Some of the ladies in our group began spontaneously twirling in the square and out of nowhere armed Chinese police arrived and told them not to do that. Jason also took some pictures of the police and they immediately came over and watched him delete them on his camera. No Individualism allowed here.!!

Walked through the forbidden city where there are more than 200 acres and 3 or 4 great harmony halls in different courtyards. There was a huge palace that was home to the Emperor until 1918. Walked through the gardens and then went to lunch.

After lunch went to the Temple of Heaven. A huge wooden temple where the emperor prayed to the God in Heaven. The whole grounds were 600 acres with beautiful gardens to walk in. We had our pictures taken with a group of Chinese people who seemed to be very amazed by how tall we were.

Went out to a Chinese restaurant in the “Blue Zoo” for Peking Duck πŸ¦†, had a great meal πŸ₯˜ , and learned how to use chopsticks πŸ₯’ the Chinese way from our guide. Had wine 🍷 and a Chinese vodka called Bao zhou.

Day 14/15 – Varanasi to Beijing

Up at 4 am (still cannot believe that myself)

We had a bus 🚌 ride and then walked back to the banks of the Ganges. Got on a boat πŸš£β€β™€οΈ and went down the Ganges to watch the sunrise β˜€οΈ. Many Indians bathe in the Ganges at sunrise as they believe that it cleanses their bodies. We had a teaching on the 4th Chakra(heart) on the Ganges and performed a ritual of releasing flowers πŸ’ on the river. Saw where funeral ships 🚒 were prepared on the banks of the river.

Went back to the hotel for breakfast πŸ₯ž then checked out and went to visit Sarnoff. This was where the first Buddha taught his 4 friends. Walked around the temple and had a teaching under an old Bohdi tree.

Went back to Varanasi airport for the trip back to New Delhi and then Beijing. In New Delhi, we stayed in a day room where we could shower and nap before our 3 am flight to Bejing. We arrived in Beijing at about noon and had lunch at the Hotel.

Went for a walk and talk with Dawa and went back to the Hotel for a quick nap before dinner. While meditating/napping I had my first profound experience feeling energy moving around my body, especially in my stomach. I had been having stomach issues in India and I felt a real “warming” in my stomach which became the basis for my powerful digestive system (PDS). Mind over my stomach!

Dinner at the Hotel and then rest and recuperation for the next day.

Day 13 – Varanasi

Arrived at the Hotel in Varanasi at around 1 pm. Time for lunch and a quick nap 😴 and then left for a festival on the banks of the Ganges. Took a bus ride and then a 45-minute Tuk-tuk ride to the banks of the Ganges. The only rule of the road seems to be that “there are no rules” it is amazing to see bikes 🚲, mopeds 🏍 , and cars πŸš— coming towards and around you within touching distance. Just trusted our driver and everything was fine.

The ceremony that we watched was great. All the senses were activated. I meditated and watched and there was so much going on that it was almost sensory overload. Very spiritual event. Went back to the hotel for dinner.

Day 12 – Travel day to India

In the morning we went to the museum of the Holocaust, in Yad Vashem. Over 6 million jews including 1,500 children were slaughtered by the nazis. The museum was a sobering experience, listening to the real-life accounts of how people had survived or had family members who didn’t survive.

It is unbelievable that one person could have caused so much anguish and suffering to a whole race of human beings. The rest of the world needs to be constantly reminded of what ” corrupted power” can do.Β  Yad Vashem would be a great field trip for all middle school students in the USA to see firsthand the atrocities that were committed during WW2. This would then ensure that the Holocaust would not be forgotten for generations to come.

We then flew from Tel Aviv to Istanbul. The next flight was a 6-hour flight to New Delhi, where we arrived at 3 am on Thursday 23rd. We then took an internal transfer to Varanasi, arriving at about 11 am.

Day 11 – Masada/Dead sea 🌊

Went to the wailing wall and pushed our prayers into cracks in the wall. 2/3 of the wall is for men and 1/3 for women. Swallows were flying around the wall and the guide said he had never seen that many before. Meditated at the wall and felt an energy coming from it.

Drove to Masada which was the last Jewish stronghold from the Romans. The survivors ended up taking their own lives rather than being slaves to the Romans. Have to watch the movie πŸŽ₯ starring Peter O’Toole to catch up with all the history surrounding the stronghold. It was a 400 m cable car ride. The view from the top was breathtaking and it was amazing πŸ˜‰ to think πŸ€” that the Jews held out for 3 years before they breached the wall.

Drove to the Dead Sea where we had the opportunity to float. There are 10 times more minerals in the Dead Sea than any other natural water πŸ’¦ on the earth 🌏. We caked ourselves in mud from the sea and relaxed 😎 for a couple of hours. I can already see an improvement in the hard skin on my right foot. Much smoother.

Drove back to Jerusalem for a teaching on the 3rd Chakra, solar plexus. Realized that the blame that I associate when things go wrong is because the 3rd Chakra is not fully activated. May be why I experience so much stomach pain.

Had dinner and packed

Day 10 – Jerusalem/Bethlehem

We drove up to the Mount of Olives and saw the Lord’s Prayer in numerous languages, and then saw the cave where Jesus taught the Apostles. We walked down to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed by Judas. We went into the church β›ͺ of agony where Jesus was tortured. Then we walked up to Lions Gate where Dawa and I gave a helpful push to a couple of locals whose moped 🏍  had stalled.

We then saw an old Templar church and had a good sing-song. We sang Jerusalem, swing low sweet chariot, and a couple of Christmas carols. The priest in the church was from Middlesbrough, England and he joined in our sing-song.

Then we followed (mostly) the path that Jesus followed when he was carrying his cross. Walked through a huge Bazaar and met the bus.

Drove to Bethlehem and had lunch πŸ₯— at a Kibbutz. When entering Bethlehem (in Palestine) the border was a huge wall with graffiti and is still under construction 🚧. No photos were allowed within 2 minutes of either side of the wall.

Toured the birthplace of Jesus, where he was born, and the manger where he was laid. Had a quick tequila and drove back to Jerusalem for dinner.

Day 9 – Travel day from Cairo

Travel day from Cairo to Amman Jordan πŸ‡―πŸ‡΄. Kathryn had an amazing πŸ˜‰ cultural experience with a group of Iraqi women in the restroom 🚽 at Amman airport. They were showing her what was under their Burkas and in an amazing πŸ˜‰ gesture 🀟 of generosity they gave Kathryn and Tina a ring each.

Left Amman for Tel Aviv on a Boeing 787-8. First time on that airplane ✈️ as a passenger. We make the nacelles for that airplane ✈️.

Arrived Tel Aviv at 6:30 pm. Drove directly to Mt Zion hotel Jerusalem. Ate dinner πŸ₯˜ at the hotel.

Day 8 – Ancient sites around Cairo

We started off in Memphis which was the ancient capital of Egypt πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬. Saw a huge sculpture of Rameses ll and numerous statues and carvings of the ancient god “Ptah”.

Then went to an amazing site near Sakura. There is a whole excavation site at Serapeum which words cannot adequately describe. Somehow 27 granite and Diorite(10 times stronger than granite) sarcophagi were built in an underground limestone cavern that is 400m long. The granite and diorite are only found 800km away from Sarapeum. The lines and geometry of the sarcophagi provide an interesting challenge to Archeologists. They know that 4 to 5 thousand years ago the ancient Egyptians had the knowledge to create these vast sarcophagi however the actual “how” they were constructed remains a mystery. At Serapeum we meditated with the lights off. I could feel the vastness of the caverns and some sort of energy down there. I also felt like a small piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle called the “universe”.

Had lunch at an amazing restaurant right across from the Spinx and the 3 pyramids of Giza. Walking into and up the big pyramid with low ceilings on the passageways and 103-degree heat was a real experience. Did an amazing πŸ˜‰ meditation πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ at the top of the pyramid with the lights out and only our group of 22 there.

Stopped at an Egyptian cotton store on the way back to the hotel. Then watched Man United lose the FA cup final (not fun). However, had a shot of tequila and tried the “Hookah” for the first time. I will not be doing it again.

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