So, as most of you know, Mowgli's passion for all things Tibetan has taken him to western China and India this summer and fall. He's now in McCloud-Ganj in India (yes, I'm having lots of fun with GoogleEarth) and will pretty much stay put until he comes home in December.
He spent ten weeks with a group from school in western China, hiking up to almost 19,000 feet, living for a week with remote mushroom farmers and traveling another week with mountain nomads. The best story we've heard so far involves Mowgli hiking in a very remote area and encountering a Tibetan holy man from a very remote village . . . who just happened to be carrying in his robes a business card of the only westerner he knew, who just happened to be Mowgli's professor.
Currently, he lives in a hotel in a room by himself with a bathroom (with a bucket shower) and a TV for $2.50/day. He says the food is wonderful and the scenery is gorgeous (valley in front, Himalayas behind) and the constant presence of other westerners as well as very friendly Tibetans and Indians has made him feel completely comfortable.
He had the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama teach last week and will be sitting in on three days worth of his lectures this week. He also is studying at the archives, taking Chinese classes and volunteering with two NGOs, one working on issues related to peace and nonviolence and the other helping Tibetans in India learn English and western culture through social interaction with westerners. In interacting with the locals, he said that he apparently resembles a particular Bollywood actor and that has been interesting; also, those who don't speak English will come up to him and shake his hand, smiling, saying only, "Obama! Obama!"
We miss him, of course, but can hear in his voice that he is truly having the time of his life. He can call pretty regularly from a phone booth at an internet cafe where he also picks up email, so we feel much more connected (We had very little contact during the time he was in China). This photo is of him the day he left, carrying only a backpack and a camping pack--only one change of clothes and a jacket and rain pants. When we talked to him last night, he said he had only bought one set of traditional clothes and otherwise just has the limited amount of things he left with.
That's pretty much what we know about Mowgli. Next post will be an update on the rest of us, since I've been gone so long.