Travel Diary of a Food Yogi – March 5 – 10, 2013

March 5 

Leaving Gold Coast today at 1pm. I am finally starting my world tour. We had to pass through Melbourne before flying to Perth. 
I arrived on time and the director of PAWS, David Reynolds was there on time to collect me. I settled into the Baywater garden house and was very comfortable. The next morning, because my body was 3 hours ahead of local time, I easily awoke to greet the morning sunrise and do yoga and meditation. 
In the afternoon, David took me to the market to meet “Birdman,” Joel Cornwell. We went through discarded fruits and collected a pallet load of produce. Birdman was a very interesting character. A real straight shooting man, but honest and fair to a T.

Birdman got his name from taking in injured birds and healing them. Astonishly, his entire house has been transformed into an avery. 
Joel grew up in wealth, but his parents taught him to appreciate the simple things of life and to respect all people. Although he went through a phase in his life of materialism, greed, and exploitation, the values he learned as a child burned within. Eventually he renounced his hedonistic ways and started caring for birds. The pleasure he experienced through these acts of kindness inspired him to extend to his fellow man. Joel, now called “Birdman” by everyone, started hustling at the fruit and vegetable markets to get discarded produce to give to charities involved in food relief. 
Joel now indirectly, through a network of charities that he supports, feeds thousands of people daily. One of these non-profits is PAWS, headed by David Reynolds, who was with me today collecting his weekly quota from Birdman.

Later that evening, I participated in a sanga and kirtan at the PAWS cafe. One of the volunteers offered a subject for discussion. I chipped in with my realisations and everyone seemed to appreciate my contributions. 
By the end of the night, I was really tired, because, again, my body was still operating on a later time zone.


March 7
I rested well again and just like yesterday, did yoga, japa and sun gazing. I am missing my morning green smoothies, but I did manage to make a reasonable one using what ingredients I could scrape up in the guest house kitchen, rainwater, almonds, banana, a backyard mango, wheatgrass powder and maca. Not the best smoothie but it worked.  
Around 12.30 David came to take me to PAWS cafe where I had lunch and chatted with people until my presentation at 3pm. 
My presentation on Food Yoga was well appreciated and we had a very lively discussion. I ended up doing some basic numerology readings for most of the people there today. My intuition and numerology skills are serving me well and I seem to be accurate with my interpretations. Whenever I mention to people that I am a numerologist it always perks their curiosity. 
I was able to sell 5 books this afternoon retail and 3 wholesale for the PAWS cafe. 
I really enjoyed my time in Perth and David made it clear that he looked forward to my return. I think I might pass through Perth on my return to Australia later in the year. 
Arrived at Airport around 7pm: David accompanied me and made it very clear how happy he was for my visit and that he really wanted me to return. He is a wonderful gentleman with a heart of gold. 
I checked in and went up to the lounge. As expected the lounge didn’t have much to offer by way of good food. However, the plane did leave on time and we arrived safely in Singapore around 3am. 
March 8

Now it hit me how inconvenient it was to buy this cheaper air ticket. Yes, I saved a lot of money on the price, but I now had to contend with staying in Singapore a whole day. 
I tried unsuccessfully to sleep in one of the nap areas. In the end, the massage worked better to relax me. The rest of the day I spent in Singapore strolling, eating and shopping. I picked up a new video camera. 
I returned to the airport with plenty of time to snack, including teaching the airport juice bar how to make a real smoothie without ice and including coconuts. It was a new concept for them. 
Leaving my bags at the lock bag area in the airport was a great idea. 2 bags for only $7 for the whole day. 
We boarded on time and then arrived again on time. One thing I can say about Tiger airways, despite the lack of service or facility they do manage to land the plane on time. On the flight I asked for water, but the stewardess wanted to sell a 250 ml bottle for $4. Forget about it!
Arriving at 10.30pm and Mahakarta was there to greet me in Colombo. As I entered the terminal, memories started flooding back from the first time I was here for the great Tsunami relief. Things that I had forgotten became fresh again, as my senses took in familiar sites, sounds and smells. 
Mahakarta is getting older, but he is still very much the gentlemen I remember him as. I was settled into one of the guest rooms next to the temple. Very simple, but quite and safe. The furniture looks about 40 years old and the sheet covering the thin mattress is a light brown. I am pretty sure that sheet was once white. Anyway, at least there were no mosquitoes, however, I just noticed ants. This is not good. The last time I was here they ruined my computer. If you have a laptop be careful about ants in Sri Lanka. They seem to love eating the logic board. 
March 9
Awoke around 7am. I had some good dreams last night with many devotees in them. The only thing I can remember however is one devotee telling me it was Holy Name day and would I like to participate in a play to teach about chanting. I wish I could remember more, because my sense was that the dreams were very meaningful. But alas, I can’t. 
The familiar sounds of horns and traffic are now drifting into my room here. I probably won’t find a peaceful and private place to meditate here except for the temple, but even then I think there is construction going on. Privacy and peace are two things sadly lacking in mainstream life in these countries, simply because there are just too many people. 
Breakfast this morning was a typical Sri Lankan cuisine, doshas with curried vegetables. I love doshas, but I really need to be careful with adjusting to this kind of food. I made sure to eat plenty of fruit to balance out the shock to my body. 
Soon after breakfast we visited the Bhaktivedanta shelter for cows. It was nice to see cows being protected, especially since a few hundred metres up the road is a slaughterhouse. However, the shelter lacks space and there are too many cows, so these lovely creatures are tied up for most of the day. I explained to Mahakarta that cows need land to graze on, otherwise they are just prisoners here. I could see that most of the cows were not happy, however, some of the younger ones were very affectionate to me and licked my face.

Next stop was the famous Bhaktivedanta orphanage, which is managed by Mahakarta’s wife Nandarani. The last time I was here was in 2007 and I can see there has been much new construction and more still goes on today. There are now 150 children taking shelter here. Each one is clothed, fed three times a day, provided full medical care and education up to year 12. The children are very happy. Nandarani and her staff run a very disciplined operation, which would not be easy with 150 children to care for 24/7.


Early in the evening we swam at the Cinnamon Lakeside hotel pool. Very impressive place and the pool is extraordinary. However, I got a bit overexcited while swimming and ran head first into the side of the pool, “bang” stars formed in my brain. I looked for blood, but fortunately I didn’t cut myself. However, the shock of the hit worried me. Even today as I write about this my neck feels a bit stiff and there is a slight pain around the back of the head. I may need to see a chiropractor. 
March 10

Up early again and this time I did some meditation and light exercise on the beach in front of the capital in Colombo. The place is packed with people jogging and strolling, but when the local men see a foreigner they always like to test their English and say, “good morning” and “hello.” Seems friendly enough, however, many are hustling to be a “tour guide”. I politely tell them I am trying to do mantra meditation as I hold up my japa beads. 
I sat at the beach this morning and pondered why I find myself traveling so much? Why I can’t seem to settle? The easy answer to that is, because I can. I am single, without any debts and a worldwide mission. However, there is more to this story. Yes, I travel for those reasons, however, I also travel because I am searching for “home.” What does “home” mean?
In the purest definition, “home” is the spiritual domain, or where the soul is most happy. Since I am not qualified to be in the spiritual domain at this time, I can only hope to find a sense of “home” by being in a place of soul happiness. In this context, I read a nice passage by the famous numerologist, David A. Phillips (1934-1993):

“While we continue to live on the Earth Plane in a physical body, it is natural that so much of our experience is related to the material aspects of life. (To deny this, as many so-called spiritualists do, is to deny the purpose of earthly life.)”

Later today we visited the orphanage cow sanctuary, however, I was a little disturbed by what I saw. The cows were confined to a cement stall. There was not grass to graze on, nowhere to walk, just cement stalls covered in cow manure. I explained to my host that although it was honorable to save these cows from slaughter, they were still suffering in these “prison-like” conditions. Despite their hardship, a cows natural disposition is to love and be peaceful and it wasn’t long before many of the calves came up to me to express their love for me by licking my head.

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