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Slade's Elucidation

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Slade's Elucidation

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James & Amanda...Amanda & James.

If anyone feels the urge to donate to our cause or would like us to pick something up for them along the way you can send funds via pay-pal to jameswslade at gmail.com. Just shoot us a message of what you´d like and we´ll do our best to make it happen. Any donations are also very much appreciated and will be used for the journey. :)

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Home home!

Austin, United States

In case anyone hadn’t noticed yet or the length of our stay here in lovely Austin was unclear, we’re home home. Like back in Austin finding a house and getting jobs. We won’t be running off to another far away land now that the holidays have come to an end…though it is inevitable we will again at some point.

Currently we’re staying with Ed at his apartment, sleeping in Ben’s former room, grats to Ben on shacking up with the lady btw ;) Providing the planets are where they need to be we will be getting a large place with Heather, Richard and Ed. I’m very much looking forward to living with people whom I enjoy being around so much. After living as we did while traveling I can’t imagine going back to a home with just the two of us, it would seem so isolated.

We’ve been back in Austin for 10 days and so far our return has been everything I could of hoped for. Our friends welcomed us home with both arms flung wide open, and I was relieved to see that we seemed to pick up right where we left off. Things haven’t skipped a beat and yet didn’t pause a beat either while we were gone.

Everywhere I look I see the people I love doing wonderful things with their lives, pursuing their art and taking it to the next level, pursuing new avenues of self expression, and pushing themselves to a higher mental plane by consciously engaging their reality. I couldn’t be happier for my friends.

I’ve caught the hoping infection from the ladies, and smile upon my bruised hips as a sign of progression. This is definitely what I was needing to undo all those huge dinners at Trove.

Many people have been interested to know how we’re adjusting to the reality of life in America, and to that I simple reply…HELL NO!  What I expect out of life now has changed drastically. I refuse to drain myself physically and mentally like I have done previously trying to pursue degrees and a career. I think everyone needs the time to pursue hobbies and activities that encourage personal growth and the expansion of our consciousness, which is near impossible if you live your life in the rat race that American consumer society has become.

To help us along in this journey we’re heading to the Dhamma Siri Vipassana Meditation Center on the 28th to participate in a 10 meditation course. This is an intensive meditation course, we wont see each other the whole time and you are silent with the exception of limited dialogue between students and teachers. If this doesn’t teach me how to make all the chatter going on in my head quiet down I’m a lost cause: P

After we return it’s time to jump head first into creating the lives we want to live now.
Perhaps I’ll write up some reflections on the trip and post em up, but for now just this update on where we’re at and what we’re doing.

A special thanks to all the wonderful people we meet while traveling. Our hosts, our fellow volunteers, and the other travelers we ran into along the way. You restored my faith in the human race and that we have the strength and compassion needed to help humanity along to the next stage.

I’ll probably still update and use this blog, because after all once a traveler always a traveler. It’s just a matter of how long until the next trip!!!


P.S Soon as I can get them transfered from James's new laptop to my computer there will be pictures and blogs from all the "welcome home" events.

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on January 13, 2009 from Austin, United States
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
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The Tale of The Lost Laptop

Katy, United States

It was your average day in the crowded metropolis of Pune, India. Incessant honking reverberated off the concrete buildings as mopeds and rickshaws sped around releasing a haze of smog. Four weary travelers decided to venture forth from their hotel after recovering from the Chennai-Pune red-eye. Food was the objective.

A rickshaw was whistled up and the four climbed in and headed off for the shopping district known as MG road. MG roads by the way are like MLK roads in the states. Every towns got one. After wandering over hell and back again, the restraint of choice was located and food ordered. The four travelers then proceeded to stuff their pie holes with all sorts of tasty curries and a plethora of buttery bread type thingies that seem to make up the south-indian diet.

After their tummies’ cravings were satiated our four intrepid travelers headed back to their hotel via another rickshaw. Little did they know what evil this unassuming three wheeled conveyance had in store for them.

Upon arrival at their destination, all clambered out of the rickshaw and started rummaging in various pockets and bags to pay the man. Not one of the travelers noticed the lonely backpack still resting on the back seat. Someone did though. The rickshaw driver. After hastily grabbing his pay, the driver sped off into the chaos of Pune tires squealing. Not really, rickshaws have nowhere near the HP to make tires squeal, but if they did his would have.

Not long after the bearer of the back pack exclaimed, “Where’s my bag? OH FUCK”, and then dashed off into the haze in search of the villainous rickshaw driver. Despite the valiant attempts of the two men of the party the bag, and its precious contents, were not to be recovered. The travelers were devastated, her in particular. Six months of travel photography lost, 3500 files gone, all her hopes and dreams of poster size prints of aqua marine Mediterranean waters, the topaz sea spray of Galway Bay, the golden fields of freshly mowed Tuscan wheat…gone.

All she can do now is console herself (aka smear salt in the achy hole in her heart) by looking at the photos on which her dreams rested in a CRAPY REDUCED QUALITY AND SHRUNKEN version edited solely for internet use.

RIP my lovelies.


permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on December 20, 2008 from Katy, United States
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
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Back in the ...

Houston, United States


Yep, you read that right. After a thrilling 35 straight hours of traveling from Pune India we're back in the states.

Surprise :D

We're at James's mums place in Houston and will be here through the holidays and Savannahs b-day. We'll be heading back to Austin after January 3, probably the following weekend. Who knows though we may get the bug to drive up for a day or two sometime in the next week or so just to come smother everyone in hugs.

But for now, that's all folks. It is only by some miracle or force of nature I'm incapable of comprehending that I’m actually able to formulate coherent sentences at the moment. Or at least I think I am…

A cookie to whoever figures out first how James and I just had the gobsmackingly fun experience of a 35 hour day.

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on December 16, 2008 from Houston, United States
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Deli nope... Delhi

New Delhi, India

Bouncing from Pune to New Delhi... Why on earth are we here? Well in about 5 hours we'll be off to our next mystery location...

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on December 15, 2008 from New Delhi, India
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Goodbye Auroville, hello Pune

Pune, India

We leave in a few hours for Pune, no clue if we'll have internet in our rooms there so if ya dont hear from us for a few days thats whats up.

Love yall!

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on December 8, 2008 from Pune, India
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged India and Pune

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Fun in Auroville

Pondicherry, India

After leaving Sadhana Forest we took a few days to settle into our new digs at the Aspiration community guest house.

The huts are a pretty cool design. Two 'bedrooms' connected by a hall, off of which is the bathroom. The huts are squat though inside there is plenty of room to stand and the hall is half sunken in the ground, very well suited to cyclones :P.

Its a wonderful arrangement for friends travelling together. Even the local dogs love the huts.

Tuesday we went for the introductory tour and short meditation inside the Matramindir, and all I can say is wow. Setting aside for the moment the whole premise behind the Matramindir, spiritual attunement and furthering human evolution through the development of our consciousness, I have to drool over the sheer architectural genius of this thing. I'm not so in love with the outside of the building, but the inside makes me want to spurn all the rules and screw the peace of the other meditators by taking in my obnoxiously large camera and snapping photos of every graceful spiral and pristine white marble curve in this place.

Since I can't, I'll try to make do with words.

To enter the Matramindir you first walk past the Banyan Tree and through the Gardens of Unity to approach the Mat by passing in between two of the 'petals' (which are also separate meditation chambers each with a theme and fitting colour) to descend a stone walkway to the base of the Mat. Directly under the Mat, which is suspended on the sides by four concrete 'feet', you see the lotus pond; a series of white marble scoops or medallions that descend inward becoming smaller and smaller until they end at a crystal globe directly under the Mat. The water flowing over the marbel scoops provides a musical backdrop to your approach. To actually enter the Mat you have to ascend a staircase leading into the spheres bottom. Once entered there is a circular hall running around in the inside of the base where you sit on white marble benches on white marble floors to put on your white socks. Around the inside of the hall, is a glass floor so you can peer directly into the lotus pond beneath. Once you have your booties on you pass through a door on the interior of the hall, immediately to your left is a small sculpture and to your right is a circular stair leading up, made of guess what....white marble. Ascending the stairs, the room opens up dramatically. The walls are covered with triangular panels which emit a faint golden red glow. The walls are quartered by four golden tiled bands running the vertical length of the room. In the centre of the room are two stairways spiralling down around eachother (the stair you just walked up being one), mirrored by two floating ramps, spiralling along the outer perimeter of the chamber up into the meditation chamber which is in the highest point of the Matrimindir. The ramps are carpeted with plush white carpet and are fairly steep, making the climb to the upper chamber a slight physical exertion. At the top of the ramps is a foyer of sorts leading into the meditation chamber. Thankfully, there are pictures of the inner chamber :P Go google matramindir and look for the big crystal globe.

We've been to the Mat a few times now, and one of the petal rooms, and not being in the practice of meditating regularly its been an interesting experience for sure.

Aside from going to the Mat, we've been mainly tooling about Auroville and visiting nearby Pondicherry.

We certainly have to get our fill of the place, because we're leaving Tuesday!!!

Tuesday we will be heading to Chennai to board a short flight to Pune India in the company of Jess and Cristoph.

From Pune it's anyones guess :D

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on December 6, 2008 from Pondicherry, India
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged India, Pondicherry and Auroville

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Who needs turkey when you have Cyclones?

Pondicherry, India

To see all the Sadhana and India pictures click on the photos link and scroll to the tags at the bottom of the page.

Wow, what an interesting couple of weeks it has been since I last wrote a blog. Let me first say, No we are not in the part of the country where the attacks have been happening. We are however in the part of the country that has been buffeted by a cyclone, but more on that later.

Over the past few weeks we had been trying to settle into life at Sadhana Forest and making new friends. The volunteers at Sadhana are a special breed of people, really the best of our species. Im sure we will see some again after weve left Sadhana, and are possibly going to travel India a bit in the company some really cool people weve meet there.

A couple more school groups have come to the forest and watching the kids enthusiasm for replanting their native forests, and life at Sadhana in general, is rather exciting. It's good to know that at least this part of India's youth will have a deeper respect for their natural environment.

I've learned to drive a moped, on dirt jungle roads and the chaotic main roads of India, which only gets more interesting when its been raining balls. Im pretty confident I'll be able to drive a moped around Austin now ; )

I think I can safely say James and I will never be vegan. Its amazing how clearly your body lets you know its not getting the nutrients and vitamins its used too. Even after eating a big lunch at Sadhana we'd find ourselvs still wanting to eat. Not hungry mind you, just craving more, our bodies way of trying to get what it was missing.

Thanks to those cravings though we've found a couple really nice places to eat around Auroville and nearby Pondicherry. The terrace above the Solar Kitchen has killer cappuccinos and lattes, not to mention the chocolate banana crêpes. Out on the main road, between Auroville proper and Sadhana Forest is a hole in the wall local place that serves some really tasty stuff on banana leaves. I think one of the things they serve are dosas(?) but i really have no clue what we ate there :P I have found a replacement for garlic bread, and I must find a good Indian restaurant when we get home to fufil my naan cravings.

The first week or two of our stay was desperately dry, the monsoon being a month late. Baby trees were dying and the volunteers had to work that much harder to keep them watered and get then in the ground as quick as possible. The past week however, weve had the blessing or curse of a cyclone settling in over the area. A cyclone here is a bit like a tropical depression in the states but it lasts a lot longer. The first day or two of the cyclone we just had a lot of rain, which we happily watched filling up all the rain water catchment areas around Sadhana. We started to get a little concerned when one of the bunds in camp started spilling over into the next, the last one before the bathrooms, little did we know what the storm still had in store for us. The next morning the wind started, and by this time the ground was so saturated that the trees started toppiling like dominos. While in the kitchen making breakfeast we saw the first one starting to go and within five or ten minutes another ten or so trees around the compound had also fallen over or broken.

The intense wind and rain kept up all day, blowing in all the windows around our beds. Everything by this time was damp and starting to smell. Our beds felt horrid and between the wet sheets and the hut swaying all night I got no sleep the next evening. The following morning due to the cyclone and some other issues that I wont go into on a public blog, we made the call to leave.

Cristoff, Jess, James, Myself, and Anna and her kids all left that morning and came into Auroville to stay at the Aspiration guest house. We haven't regretted our decision yet and thankfully were able to dry out our stuff quite a bit yesterday. Only a few items have been lots to the mildew now. Today is the second day since we left Sadhana and the cyclone has finally worn its self out and save for a few light showers seems to be over. There are trees down everywhere, and power is still out but the storm is over and everwhere you look locals are clearing the trees and working to restore power. This blog is being posted courtesy of the generator outside the Internet point :P

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 29, 2008 from Pondicherry, India
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged India, Auroville and SadhanaForest

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Home sweet home- for now

Pondicherry, India

We've been in India for two weeks now and Im just now getting around to writing a blog, guess Im not in any hurry since we are going to be here for so long. Then there's that limited electricity thing. Sadhana Forest uses only solar power, so our Internet and computer time can be pretty limited. If you don't hear a whole lot out of us during our stay here just know were not dying of the plague or kidnapped, though we might have been run off the road by one of these things...

Were still adjusting to life here but the past two weeks have been a blast. Weve planted a bunch of trees with the aid of several local school groups, gone to the beach, attended a yoga session, run amuk through Auroville, gone shopping in pondicherry, and risked our lives daily driving two-wheeled vehicles in India. Great Fun!

Im totally getting a moped when we get home, those things rock. And if I can drive one and not kill myself in India I should be OK in Austin.

A bit about our home away from home...

Sadhana is a totally vegan (No animal at all, no processed foods, no refined sugars) community run by a super dedicated couple who have committed their lives and life savings to saving Indias teeny tiny bit of remaining tropical dry evergreen forest. There are 25 or so volunteers here, from more countries then I care to think of at the moment, and that number will swell dramatically in the next few months as we head into the busy season.

We sleep under a mosquito net in a huge hut made of pine, bamboo, and woven palm leaves, fall asleep to jackals, and wake up to Christine strumming the guitar and cooing goodmorning-goodmorning at 5:45. If you put Giligans Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Camp Anawana, and PETA all into a centrifuge, you'd end up with something like the essence of Sadhana.

I need to go help cook dinner so this is all for now, but sometime in the near future I hope to have more written.

Love yall!

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 18, 2008 from Pondicherry, India
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tagged India, Auroville and SadhanaForest

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India - Sadhana Forest

Pondicherry, India

Just a spot holder telling everyone we're in the forest here by Auroville. Will fill in details later. We love y'all!!!

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 5, 2008 from Pondicherry, India
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged India, Auroville and Sadhana

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The Cairo experience - Yin side

Cairo, Egypt

Ok, I need to Yin Amanda's Yang of Cairo. Not that I don't totally
understand it, as we get a lot of attention and women are treated a
bit different here. The culture is far from our own and it can take a lot out
of you. That being said... I am having an awesome time here. After holing
up for a few days in the hotel after our pyramid run the energy

Getting our Visa's for India has been a test in patience over
that which you cannot control. Sunday (which is like Monday for us) I was
too tired and worn out to go try for our Visa's, decided to go on Monday
instead. So Monday we realised we hadn't gotten our passport size photo's
done so had to get them before we could go to the Indian consulate
office. So to town we go. The owner of the hotel personally drove us into
downtown Cairo and was a really nice gesture. Dropped us off in front of
a Kodak photo center and bid us farewell. The process of getting the
pictures was painless and cheap and we got 8 copies each. Little more
than we needed but hey you never know. It was probably around 10am and
the consulate closed by 11. We figured we wouldn't make it so blew doing
that off til Tuesday. *FYI the Indian consulate office is right around
the corner from the photo shop. who knew? :| Ok so Tuesday we head down
to the Indian consulate office and low and behold... Indian holiday and
they're closed. sigh... Oh well wont let that get us down, we can just
come back tomorrow. Which went quite well, found out we had to wait til
Sunday for the paperwork to go through and to come back then. Amanda is
ready to GTFO of Cairo at this point. I must point out she gets lots of
attention and together well it's almost 2 fold. Wears on us a bit, but
personally I get used to it in doses. So.. I'll skip the boring stuff.
It's now Sunday, Visa's should be done today and all will be golden.

I've been making lots of friends here, everyone is so friendly its hard
not to.

I can't understand everyone but it doesn't really matter. I find
using sounds, hand gestures and a smile works real well. The women who
work here in the hotel tend to talk or hand communicate with me a lot.
It's quite fun "talking" with them.

One in particular, Doaa, whose name I can never say right is pronounced something like Dew Eye but stress the eye with a hint of A. Yeah I can't do it either.

Anyway she speaks a fair amount of English and is always trying to learn more. We use Google's language translator a lot to get our points across. Now she's Muslim, 20,
single and I'm not. Being as I like to flirt... lol things get
interesting. She's an amazing person and Amanda wants to put her in her
pocket and bring her home with us. In the hotel she's very open and able
to be more social with me, in public however she an Amanda hang on to
each other as we walk about and well... I hang by myself. Here the guys
hang together and hold hands and the women stick to themselves and do the
same. It is what is I reckon. No matter we have a great time. Doaa thinks
very highly of Amanda and mirrors her actions. It's very cute.

She has taken us to all the places we would have never found on our own and
personally has made the last few days here perfect for me. From eating at
local restaurants up narrow stairs I wouldn't think of going up to eating
street cooked corn and riding the music party boats on the Nile.

Had some of the bestest chocolate shakes ever while enjoying a licorice shisha.

Also toured the local park that allows you to see most of Cairo and has
really nice cafe's to relax in.

Went to the Khan El Kalili Bazaar which is the largest and I think oldest in the world, showed us how a real Egyptian handles the vendors and just has a good time with herself and us.

I do wish she could be free of her religious boundaries but I respect
them and acknowledge as much as I can. She's pretty lax about them which
is good. We're really going to miss her, I feel she will be a great
addition to the circle of friends.

I must mention then entire hotel staff here at the Arabian Nights. They
go out of their way, are totally caring and very generous people. I feel
more like a friend than some tourist and that means a lot to me. My
journey to Egypt now feels accomplished and I have learned a lot from
them. BTW... These people being scary and bad is total horseshit. These
have been some of the friendliest people ever. They openly welcome us at
every turn and no where else have I ever experienced that to that magnitude. Far as
negatives.. its like any other tourist trap, in those spots it's about
money and how they're going to get it from you and that's anywhere on the
planet. Knowing that and knowing how to say no will save you a lot of
problems. I'll miss this place.
One last note. Riding around here in a taxi or any form of vehicle is
INSANE! I love it, I laugh and laugh and laugh while riding around. The
lanes on the road don't mean anything. There are no traffic cops, they
don't even drive with lights on at night. They use their horns like
they're going out of style and they're headlights are used to get ur
attention. They drive fast and sometimes against on coming traffic. Yet I
haven't seen an accident and I've been riding a lot. Tons of fun!!!

Addendum: Scored a few Shisha pipes that look awesome, Have gone wandering through a large section of the Khan bazaar and the scope of the place is mind boggling. The city has so much history it would take a very extensive amount of time to see it all. I hope I can come back someday to continue seeing it. We're off to Pondicherry India's Auroville and it will probably be a bit before we do another major blog update. Will do our best though.


permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 4, 2008 from Cairo, Egypt
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged Cairo, Egypt, AlAzhar, ArabianNights and KhanElKhalili

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