Tag Archives: travel

Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

panorama of the neighbourhood from the rooftop of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

Continuing the story of my stay at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra iin Trippunithura, (near Kochi), Kerala, India. Part 1 is a personal diary of my stay seeking treatment for syndromes, there is also a collection of “Kerala Field Notes” with riffs and lousy snaps about a few other activities while there.

For background on the series, check the Healing Ramble introduction video and follow along for Auroville diary, a rapid exit and then onwards to Nepal and possibly Pacifica, maybe Adelaide. Maybe you already saw the dispatches from Phitsanulok, Thailand. 

Unsurprisingly, there are various photo essays (ephemera, Lomo “spy camera” from a cenotaph in b&w or colour for your amusement), a Remembrance Day podcast and video spiel from Gandhi beach.

Next, (for convenience and hopeful promotion of Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda Hospital – Gmap), sharing a publicly-posted review (under no-longer-secret-pseudonym), ergo:

Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra Review

I recently stayed three weeks in-patient at Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra and found the experience was exceptional due to the kindness and skill of Dr. Veena and Dr. Hamesh. 

After years of shuffling between all manner of specialist doctors with divergent opinions but no solutions besides prescription medications and experiencing little to no improvement, I decided to try a non-traditional approach with Ayurvedic medicine and set out to find a clinic which suited my needs. I wanted a place that was small and attentive and not a “tourist spa”. Further, I sought a place with amenities and cleanliness which would make my stay pleasant.  Continue reading Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

The doors open, you don’t know where you might go, so you go

An omnibus round-up for lousy photos of logistical considerations, various tasks and personal memories in Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 while staying at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra hospital. Please read the related story and consider watching the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. 

In the neighbourhood

sherbet coloured houses in the neighbourhood 

I sought permission to go out of the house to explore the neighbourhood, and after a while, she relented, warning me of the intense heat. I made a few oil pastel paintings of neighbouring houses which were all “sherbet coloured“ with lime greens, tangerine oranges and lavender which I found delightful.

i stepped out to make oil pastel painting and quickly made pals / note my awsum disposable clothes 

However, as soon as I would sit down with my art supplies, the neighbourhood boys and men would gather around to see what I was doing, ask me dozens of questions, and look on intently at everything I was doing. Continue reading Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Me and Mr. Mohammed the Ayurvedic practitioner at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin/Kochi, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques. Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 and was written during my stay and in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting and “note-style”. For the record: it’s nowJune 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No advice or sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Thrippunithura, Kerala, India , Nov. 2016

Intro: On my healing journey, I had tried most every possible medical modality to find some relief, and was determined to try everything which showed reasonable promise a benefit.

A friend from Dubai recommended Ayurveda as a natural and holistic approach, and in a fog – truly, in a really difficult point in my healing process, I investigated 20+ Ayurvedic clinics in India and Sri Lanka – very rapidly and without knowing what i was doing really…, received all manner of different replies, prices and recommendations.

my first cup of Chai in India! such splendid heaven for a dime

I settled on Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra the province/state of Kerala, India due her excellent clear communications and no nonsense approach to the clinic (some seemed dodgy, others were “resorts for yuppies” with very high rates, most told me to “call” and i am not a phone calling type). 

Settling-in

I flew from Thailand (after time doing a load of tests at a hospital in Phitsanulok) to Kochi (aka Cochin), spent two nights in an airport hotel recovering in a bath {note: will share travel tips later in the series}, venturing out only to drink coconut (below) and tea (above) and rolled by taxi to the clinic – exhausted, demoralized, confused but open to anything.

stepping out into “all of the India” to drink a coconut 

The clinic was run by a whip smart woman named Dr. Veena who was sometimes assisted by her husband, a jovial tall thin man named Dr. Hemesh who worked at a regional Ayurveda hospital requiring a long bus ride for him every day. Such chemistry between them ;)

I lived in-patient in this facility for three weeks. My room was simple with the bed, wardrobe and desk and a wet bathroom. For much of the time, I was the only patient in their small three-story facility. Other times, there was a couple from Malaysia.

They also had a wonderful 3-year-old daughter who spent the day with relatives and came home welcoming me with a best hug calling me “Uncle”. The staff included a house lady, and a practitioner, a short Muslim man with a moustache – though almost every man the state of Kerala had a moustache. My 3 week, intensive, in-patient program of traditional Ayurvedic treatments was designed to address chronic pain, pain and heaviness in legs, reduced/uneven sleep. The treatments consisted of various massages with medicated oils, plus inhalations, purging, dripping medicated oil/milk on forehead, eyewashes … plus specific food for body’s needs, meditation time, stretching and a variety of herbal medications.

assorted Ayurvedic medications i took “to go” at the end of my treatment cycle along with Dr Veena’s handwritten direction 

Left with 2 month program of medications (capsules, liquids, ghee, powders…) and advice to avoid cold, avoid acidic food and meat, do yoga stretching and breathing exercises. Day-to-Day

Shirodhara vessel for gently pouring liquids over the forehead 

Continue reading Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Healing: a declaration, about going & becoming ~ Phitsanulok, THA

a certain angle required to unlatch the door to everything which exists “out there”

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and technique dealing with #MECFS.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

This entry from Phitsanulok, Thailand  Oct. 2016 riffs in between 2 extended parts of the trip while flashing back on a few parts which we might get to (chronology be danged).

For reference, its now June 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  Carry on.

sure, break the glass but the door is still locked

Phitsanulok, Oct, 2016

I wrote this declaration upon waking up,

“This past summer after literally losing my mind {long story, didn’t end well, not recommended}, I decided to step into the abyss, bravely, intrepidly and without compromise.

While holed up at a mountain cabin while chaos swirled around my life, I’d listen to the messages from records stashed in a basement 25 years before like an unintentional time capsule. I hotboxed my beloved old VW bus, which is now a sauna, where so many memories – happy memories – happened. I reunited with charming characters from my past and even better, met their children who were adults, moreso than me anyway.

Then with a solid head of mushrooms and MDMA (therapeutically), a plan came to me. So on this psychedelic carpet, i clicked enough buttons on the internet to purchase an abstract variety of plane and train tickets to send me around like a manic board game in such of a new flavour of truth and reality >> Salt Lake City to Las Vegas to Pacifica to Chaing Mai and now to this rather-anonymous-work-a-day city Phitsanulok where I’m practically the only foreigner in a city mourning the death of their beloved King. I’m finding comfort and solace and healing.

In scant days, I will leave again into (for me) un-charted territory beyond what science and reason says it’s capable of this haggard body, but I refuse to accept anything but finding some sense of joy.

I can live with pain, i accept this (i suppose, begrudgingly but practically), but i cannot accept living without my brain and without my heart and soul. I am born to give, i exist to share and i am empty without these.

Without a safety net, without an emergency escape route, without language skills, without the strength to punch my way out of a wet paper bag, i built a tiny universe and painted the walls just the colour i chose.

So, who will return to the West Coast on December 6th? Will i return? What will i look like? Who will i be? I am indifferent to all of these questions as the destination is simply a byproduct of the journey.

The journey is me and I am the journey, brick by brick, stride by stumble, i will gently apply the mortar to rebuild, to renew, to replenish and regenerate from the very mitochondrial cells outward.

Whatever the results, it will be me.”

all the colours are possible, sometimes, i suppose, beyond the black… “let’s imagine” i suggest

See also: Thunderstorm in the Crash Years & Story of a bath and more to come… next stop: India, come along

Healing: Story of Pitsanuvej Hospital ~ Phitsanulok, Thailand

Rolling around Pitsanuvej Hospital, Phitsanulok, Thailand. I felt very cared for there, thanks to my “handlers”

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

This entry, from Phitsanulok, Thailand, late 2016 was written in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting. (Finally) organized and published May-June 2021 – i now live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Phitsanulok, Thailand, Oct. 2016~

[visited this hospital 4 times 2016-18, these notes are from the first 2 visits]

Intro: My various medical diagnoses (central sensitivity syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome / M.E.) are generally diagnoses of elimination meaning, (in brief): finding out what it *isn’t*, and if every other possible thing can be eliminated, these are your diagnoses (given the symptoms etc. blah blah blah).

While there is extensive research for specific bio-markers for these diseases (thanks Open Medicine Foundation et al), comprehensive universal, diagnostic methods do not currently exist (and yeah i know there are loads of folks who have alternate theories, whatever, write your own spiel).

waiting for yet another bus in the rain in Vancouver – was all too much for me. holy anxiety and stress and confusion

While in my [ed note: former] home in Vancouver, Canada, these tests are certainly available, I found the process to be an extremely laborious – ergo: after waiting for specialist referral appointment and meeting, i would be sent for a couple of tests requiring a bus ride to the lab, waiting, dealing with all the commotion and pain (yes) of testing and then following up with the doctor who wouldn’t necessarily give me the “science” behind the results – just a “its fine, nothing to see here”.  The results were *evidently* available on a website, which I found impossible to utilize, and the experience overall was very draining.

As such, I compiled a list of all tests I wanted to undertake, and sought a hospital at which I could do all and “own the data.”

own your data (in a cute folder!)

My thinking is, “the sooner I can eliminate all other possibilities, the sooner I can get on with a proper healing regimen and be assured I was doing everything I could to feel better and heal my body etc.”

getting sensors on for an EEG to check my brain impacted from various injuries and concussions

Continue reading Healing: Story of Pitsanuvej Hospital ~ Phitsanulok, Thailand

Suez Canal Transit Panorama Views

+ Back to Sea with Suez Canal Panorama views +

I enjoy building panorama views especially when space and time is compressed, warped and otherwise manipulated and bent – whether by scissors and glue, my olden panorama film camera(s) – both 35mm and APS, or the fancy feature on the common pocket robot cameras (as in the case of this series).

Anyhow, as such, i made some panoramas views in the Suez Canal – to go along with Suez Canal Dossier and Musings – which make for pleasing immersive views. Click to embiggen

Consider this bundle for your amusement and/or remixing – some showing magnificent desolation of desert, others town on the banks, and other catching ships and the accruements on the vessel on which i transited.

PS One or two of these may be cropped rather than panorama as i used a load for header images on this web archive and can’t quite remember what and which so carry on accordingly. 

PS my classic Fuji Panorama 35mm camera, bought from close-out bin at TOPOS dept store in Tottori Japan, 1993 for ¥3000 (still have receipt) Alas the winder broke (salt-water damage in Guam) but still have the artifact.

Suez Canal Transit Dossier and Musings

Queen Mary ahead in the mist – the ships make caravans with cruisers / liners in front of containers and fuelers

+ Suez Transit Dossier and Musings +

If i was crafty and timely, woulda shared these snaps a few weeks when Ever Given was blocking up the flow of the Suez Canal (yeah you saw this…) i had/have a lot to say about it all and well, lot of more important things to do (nursery school!) so just didn’t get to it, but today is now, so: 

up early to note the transit – takes most of a day to work through / and yes the desert is chilly

Quick annotations:

  • Suez isn’t “squared off” with tidy concrete walls and locks
  • Was dug mostly by hand/buckets
  • Ships assemble caravans at either end and go very slow
  • Winds are weird (really) which makes mishaps not shocking and coordination important.
  • Don’t start with the Egyptian pilots!

Let’s begin our transit in the “staging area”… (note captions and annotations)

Ships assemble at anchor in Gulf Suez at tip of Red Sea (see also Gulf of Aqaba) and then are organized into caravans / quite enjoyed the sound the anchor chain dropping and reeling back up

Local Traffic amongst the behemoths 

Importantly, the canal is active with local ferries darting back and forth between lumbering giants. The sides are so close you can wave to folks (of course i did) and the ships in-front/behind are also so close and don’t have brakes.

Ferries time departures to slip between the ships, looking like likely collisions and almost comical variations in scale
Ferry loading up (i think East Qantara Ferryboat or the West Qantara Ferry – regardless, wave hello (they did)

Continue reading Suez Canal Transit Dossier and Musings

Ichiro: card #16 “sitting comfortably” (for ramblers) / 7.12

Ichiro: card #16 “sitting comfortably” (for ramblers) / 7.12

Ichiro Card #16
“Are you sitting comfortably?“

While doing my #daveo50 “personal archaeology” project, I found a boarding pass from when I flew from my birth town of Saskatoon to Calgary to Vancouver before continuing on my car (i assume) to Eugene, Oregon – all when I was 15 days old. (Note: dad was doing his doctorate degree at University of Oregon)

Artifact: Air Canada “infant” boarding pass for now-papa Dave, Aug. 1970 (Saskatoon to Calgary)

Little Stanley and I haven’t left the house (except for a brief walk around the garden) / can’t imagine hopping on an Air Canada jet for multiple flights and a long drive at this age.

Artifact: Air Canada “infant” *boarding pass* for then-coming Baby (issued as announcement Dec. 2019)

Then, found evidence have a 1974 flight when we moved from Lansing, Michigan to Vancouver/Surrey. I assume we drove from Lansing to Toronto and flew on from there.

Memento: L-R Davey, Bobby, Danny (in Mom/Lauralee’s arms) boarding Air Canada in 1974 (maybe from Detroit or Toronto, whilst moving from Lansing, Michigan to Vancouver (Surrey) BC

Note: brother Daniel Olson was born there as a babe in arms at this journey + brother Bob Olson was born in Eugene, me in Saskatoon all within 3.5 years.

So many miles, so many planes, so many roads, so many homes.

#LifeAsAGordonLightfootSong

Okayama Love Letter / Japan Cottage Musings

With a French press coffee, pyjamas and slightly out of focus, Dave talks about general geography of Japan and specifically shares reasons why he loves living in “just right” Okayama including: sunny weather, hot springs, geo-diversity, endless museums, access to Kyoto/Osaka/airports + Setouchi islands and San-in coast, jazz clubs, peaches & peach boy folk legend, and most importantly community with wife (and baby coming) and goat farmer Mac. 

Rolling Elsewhere: Japan trains / various incl. Kanazawa and Yokohama

Roll around Japan with ambient train window views from various locations and rolling stock including the Thunderbird Limited Express towards Kanazawa and a Shinkansen service from Yokohama towards Osaka. In situ sound with no narration or drama rather a rather meditative “space cruise” looking as rice fields, towns and stations go past, and occasionally abstract from the speed, plus the whooshing of zipping through tunnels. That’s all. Enjoy the ride. 

Noto Fish Auction / Dave + Ryoko Shinkonryoko Ramble

Noto port, feels like the end of the world, indeed, a rather remote peninsula jutting out into the Sea of Japan, often ravaged by disaster, yet intrepid fishers head out to sea…

[Note: catching up with dossiers from May 2019 when we took an extended ramble around rural areas of Japan as a sort of honeymoon – see Shinkonryoko for more from this journey]

The following is as documented at a small morning fish auction in Noto, Ishikawa-ken [map] (at the end of the Noto peninsula) where various Norwegian and Russian ships also exchange wares. 

So many kinds of sea creatures! How many can you name? a few of these (Ankou / angler fish and shellfish of which i don’t the name and more slippery little treats) were later consumed by our hosts and us.

+ Fish etc Variety Pack +

{update: the remarkable Sandra DeMonti sent along many names for many fish, added as captions – consider helping with the rest]

Tuna
Squid

Continue reading Noto Fish Auction / Dave + Ryoko Shinkonryoko Ramble

Diary: Hermiting, baby, art, archive & you you you + us us us

I hermit like Obi-wan is his “lost years” / indeed, a Gen X kid with a lot of hobbies and a chronic illness – i know the flow. Got the food delivery service, plenty of books and art supplies and several versions of loungewear/pyjamas.

Keep in mind, here in Japan, we’re a couple months into “all of this“ – schools, events, museums, public places and gatherings have been canceled for many weeks now, and things, at least where I am the outskirts other rather minor provincial capital city, are generally calm / however, a quick glance at Twitter videos plenty of vitriol about the governments response (or lack of, or too much of, or…) especially in terms of testing (not enough of it, especially compared to neighbour South Korea) – Of course much debate and sabre-rattling about wither the Olympics – what to do? (seems to me just pushing forward exactly one year would make sense but hey, no one’s been on the phone to me to ask).

I have visited a few hospitals in the last six weeks for other reasons and found them to be calm, not busy, extremely tidy and efficient. Also note that Japan’s elderly population means much experience at treating pneumonia which has some similar respiratory components and thus treatments as current conundrum.

Certainly my first priority is taking good care of my adorable pregnant wife, though she requires very little assistance in *anything* aside from reminding her to slow down. With her business as an arborist, she is her own small business/boss and is still doing bits and pieces of work, no longer climbing trees however #ThankGoodness but with all appropriate precautions and out in the gorgeous spring weather here.

We have a check in with our doctor tomorrow though the “Papa’s Class” series at the birthing clinic has been canceled indefinitely. (This was also serving as my Japanese study session as I try to learn new vocabulary related to pregnancy and childcare but… We shall carry-on – Noting that I have absolutely zero discipline in regards to language study).

Canada’s Prime Minister implored Canadians to “come home“ before impending doom etc. and while this is wise advice for many, I live here in Japan now permanently. Plan is to grow old here raising a happy kid, write poetry and letters, make paintings and friends and books and gardens – Come visit, we’ll have tea and hit up a museum.

and… Very excitingly, my “entire life archive” arrives in a container after a trans-pacific journey on Thursday. So, just in case I’m not sharing enough creative artifacts to keep you amused 😉 40+ years of journals, scrapbooks, fanzines, photos, letters, certificates – as well as books and records and funny hats – are all being offloaded into a 300-year-old grain barn for sort-ganizing and sharing.

Anyhow, thinking about each of you wonderful people out there in the world and, as I’ve mentioned before, if you need any advice about staying chill and keeping your mind busy whilst indoors (aside from being watching television problem etc. which I don’t know too much about), I remain your semi-useful uncle in custom-made pyjamas.

Your turn, tell me about everything going on in your world, where you’re at, how you’re feeling, what you’re working on, what’s inspiring you, what do you dream about and so on and so on. All of it all of it.

Note: You can write a letter if you prefer